One of my colleagues had raved about the pastas at Bonta, so the BF and I checked it out for dinner one evening.
The food was indeed good, but we both had one big gripe about the restaurant. The service was pleasant enough (no service staff was unpleasant, in fact, they were pretty sweet and nice), but the chef seemed very biased. I'm not sure which chef it was that night, but I'm pretty sure he was a chef because he was wearing a chef's white jacket.
Why do I say that the chef's service seemed biased? We noticed that he only entertained the Caucasians. We saw that he bypassed the Asians, and only spoke to the Caucasians. He was asking about their meals, recommending vinos, informing the specials. Only to the Caucasians. Maybe it was a one-off incident or maybe the chef was more comfortable speaking to Caucasians because he's Caucasian himself, but it sure looked like the chef was very preferential in his service standards to the Caucasians. Half the tables that night were occupied by Caucasians, and the other half by Asians. Throughout the time I was there, the chef approached all the tables occupied by Caucasians, but not one single table that was occupied by Asians. I was pretty disgusted by what I saw.
Hello, this IS Asia. There are more Asians here than Caucasians, so preferential treatment towards Caucasians isn't exactly what I'd think makes a good business model for a restaurant in Asia.
Enough about the seemingly biased service standards, onto to the food.
I love scallops, so we got the Oven-Baked Australian Scallops with Sauteed Garlic Spinach and Black Olive Hollandaise Sauce ($22) to share. The staff thoughtfully served the starter in 2 separate plates, which was a nice touch. I liked this. The scallops were plump and succulent, with a lovely seared crust.
I got the Home-Made Tagliatelle with Porcini Mushrooms, Spinach and Pan-Fried Goose Liver ($29), sans the foie gras. Yes, this may come as a shock but I DON'T like foie gras. So I asked for more mushrooms in place of the foie gras. The pasta ribbons were soft and chewy, and the mushrooms were divine. I loved the addition of spinach to the pasta dish. Pity there wasn't more spinach.
The BF's wisdom teeth were giving him problems, so he got an easy-to-swallow dish, Porcini Risotto with Veal Jus and Chianti Reduction ($24). The risotto would have benefited from a few more minutes in the pot, the individual grains of rice were still very discernible. But the dish was still wonderfully delicate and light.
As with most Italian restaurants, there were Complimentary After-Dinner Chocolates. These were the bittersweet type. Good for settling a full tummy.
Overall, the food was good, but certainly not spectacular enough for me to accept such different service standards from the chef. Barring any unforeseen circumstances, I won't go back.
Bonta Italian Restaurant & Bar
207 River Valley Road, #01-61
UE Square, River Wing
Tel: 6333 8875
Open Sundays to Fridays from 12pm to 2.30pm for lunch;
daily from 6.30pm to 11pm for dinner