We headed to the Esplanade, where we enjoyed a couple of free performances (the Huayi Chinese Festival of Arts, if I didn't remember wrongly), browsed a little at the novelty shops (I love love LOVED the Parisian knick knack shop and the aromatherapy shops), and then had a slow leisurely dinner at Al Dente Trattoria. The floor-to-ceiling windows of the restaurant affords a very lovely view of the water and lots of foot traffic for people watching.
I started off with the Capesante e Insalata di Caldo Spinaci ($22) which I loved. The pan-seared scallops were executed perfectly, succulent and juicy, and laid on a bed of sauteed baby spinach, pinenuts and a drizzling of aged hazelnut vinaigrette. Special mention must be given to the pearl onions, caramelized and so incredibly sweet that, even me, an onion hater, gleefully lapped it up.Best dish of the meal, hands down.
Ernie, a cheese lover, got the Insalata Caprese ($18) a tomato and buffalo mozzarella salad with mesclun. The mozzarella was fresh, chewy and milky, while the tomatoes tart and juicy.
I couldn't finish the Spinaci Risotto con Gamberoni ($28), a creamy spinach risotto topped with a pan-roasted king prawn. The cream was too heavy and excessive, so much so that even the prevalence of baby spinach couldn't cut through the richness of the risotto. The prawn was good though, would have liked to have
Ernie opted for the Mushrooms Lover ($10 under the Al Dente's $10 Pizza Promotion), with a duo of king oyster and shitake mushrooms, portioned just right for just one person. This wasn't too bad, the wood-fired pizza had smoky hints but the base was a little hard and crusty, it reminded me a little of those frozen pizza bases that you'd find in the supermarkets.
We liked the bread though, 2 flavours of olive and cranberry. Warm, crunchy on the edges but soft on the inside, and so fragrant and flavoursome we didn't really need the olive oil dip.
Al Dente Trattoria
8 Raffles Avenue
#01-13 Esplanade Mall
Tel: 6341 9188
Open daily from 11.30am to 3pm for lunch and 6pm to 11pm for dinner