Shann was the first friend I made at the firm, and although she's left the firm some time ago, I make it a point to keep in touch. It was her birthday recently and both Beeps and I thought we'd bring her out for a celebratory treat somewhere nice. We decided on Senso for its yummy food and even yummmier ambience.
Despite numerous fine-dining restaurants popping up for business every other week in the CBD area, Senso has managed to remain relevant by consistently serving up authentically good Italian food with exquisite plating and generous portions.
Senso's Executive Set Lunch ($38++) is one of the most affordable and value-for-money set lunches around, especially in light of the fact that the much-lauded fine-dining restaurant caters to a well-heeled clientele (read: their prices are usually quite "cha-ching" so dining here at below $50 per pax is really very worthwhile). You get 3 whole courses and finish off with a coffee or tea, very important to keep awake after the substantially filling meal.
The Tartara Di 'Hokkaido' Capesante Servito con Riduzione di Aceto Bianco Balsamico Di Modena e Rafano, one of 4 starter choices, is a tower of sweet Hokkaido scallop tartare dressed in a piquant white balsamic reduction and enlivened by the bite of horseradish, while crisp mesclun leaves provided a refreshing texture. An overall light and clear-tasting dish, great as an appetizer.
The Spiedino di Pesce Verdure Di Stagione Servito Su 'Cous Cous' Accompagnato da Salsa d'Aragosta is one of 3 mains choices, comprising a mixed seafood skewer, with succulent prawns and scallops, alternated by green and yellow peppers, and tart red onions, on a bed of cous cous and a pool of rich lobster bisque sauce.
The Lonza di Maiale con Patate Arrosto, Rapette Allo Zafferano e Salsa Bruna all'Arancia, is a tender and moist pork loin, pan-seared to seal in its juices, and served alongside roasted potatoes, saffron turnip, and an orange brown sauce for a fruity twist.
You get 2 choices for dessert, and the Torta Al Formaggio Fatta in Casa, Con Riduzione di Lamponi gets my vote between the 2. This is possibly the lightest and airiest cheesecake ever, and so delicate in flavour you almost don't feel guity indulging. A drizzling of tangy raspberry coulis balanced out the creaminess of the cheesecake and finely-ground Oreo cookie crust.
The Pera Cotta nel Vino Bianco E Porto 'Tawny' e Sorbetto Alle Fragole di Bosco, is better suited for people who prefer something fruity. A pear is poached till soft in white wine and tawny port for a Christmasy fruit cake accent, while a scoop of strawberry sorbet rounds off the refreshing dessert.
From the Ala Carte Menu, the Capesante Spadellate su spinaci saltati e pomodori canditi ($28) is an absolute must-try. A duo of plump scallops is pan-seared and served atop sauteed spinach and candied Italian tomatoes and a dollop of Hollandaise sauce. Mega love.
I also loved the Ravioli fatti in casa ripieni di stinco di vitello serviti con salsa ai funghi porcini ($32) a very filling and perfectly al dente homemade ravioli dumpling stuffed with hearty braised veal shank in a lusciously earthy porcini mushroom sauce.
Senso's Bread Basket is huge, and is a veritable treasure box of freshly baked breads with fragrant foccacia, aromatic walnut, crunchy breadsticks and crusty raisin bread. If the rest of the dishes don't fill you up, this will surely do the trick. A huge plus point: this is complimentary!
Senso Ristorante & Bar21 Club Street
Tel: 6224 3534
Open weekdays from 12noon to 3pm;
Daily from 6pm to 10.30pm;
Sunday brunches from 11am to 3pm