Like Checkers Brasserie, the buffet items are decidedly limited, but with 40-odd options for ala carte orders of pastas, risottos, meats and seafood, for sure you won't walk away hungry. I don't even think you'll be able to sample every single item on the ala carte order menu. Thing is, you'll have to be careful in picking the right mains. A safe bet is to stick to the tomato-based pastas, stay away from the cream-based ones, and tread gingerly around the meats and seafood.
Also, for Sunday brunches, Prego has a resident band of Filipinos doing Top 40s covers, which gave the restaurant a breezy holiday vibe but they were distractingly loud. Even though we weren't seated directly in front of them, we still found ourselves having to talk over them for the better part of the hour. Ask to be seated far away from them if you'd like to hear your brunch companion(s).
EVERYTHING at the deli was ah-mazing. Afterall, what's not to love about salty fatty cured meats? Proscuitto de Parma, beautiful pink ribbons of meat freshly shaved from the whole pork leg on the side and Mortadella Ham
Various salamis and hams set out on parchment paper like how they would at the farmer's markets in the Italy.
A selection of greens; arugula, mesclun, red cabbage, romaine and olives, with EVOO and organic balsamic vinegar on the side.
The ready-made salads were pretty decent, albeit forgettable. They were mostly loaded with meats and seafood so meat-lovers will appreciate how they hardly tasted like salads. Chicken Salad
Tuna Salad, cooked tuna flakes tossed with coloured peppers and cherry tomatoes
Potato Salad, not as rich or creamy as you'd think. The red onions and gherkins lent sharpness.
Mixed Seafood Salad, very fresh, and cooked perfectly
Grilled Mixed Vegetable Salad, soft and mushy and drizzled with balsamic vinegar for tartness
Carpaccio di Manzo, beef carpaccio with arugula and Parmesan. I added extra cheeses and Parma ham on the side to up the ante
An assortment of Italian Breads, the crusty ones were better but these were really space-wasters.
Honeycomb drippings to flavour the breads
Pizza Margherita, New York-style with its thick fluffy bread base and not my preferred thin-crust
Regional Italian Cheese, with gruyere, manchego, parmesan, brie and gorgonzola
Accompaniments of pinenuts, almonds, walnuts, apricots, raisins, and compotes
Marinated olives, mushrooms, chilli, peppers, anchovies
What Prego lacked in variety, they made for in freshness of the seafood. Chilled Prawns
Ala Carte Orders, Appetizers
The Calamari was disappointingly rubbery, and the spiced tomato salsa had a funky taste.
The following sample-sized pastas are listed in order of our collective preferences. The top hit was the Lasagna Beef Bolognese, robust, cheesy, meaty, hearty and warranted a repeat order.
The Spaghetti Aglio Olio Seafood was light, clear and comprised perfectly cooked fresh squid and prawns and clams.
The Linguine Crabmeat in a creamy seafood bisque-like sauce was kept from cloying by strips of baby spinach and cherry tomatoes.
The Penne Arrabbiata was simple but good, with just enough heat and kick to keep it from boring.
We had high hopes for the Ravioli Ricotta Spinach topped with caramelized onions in a sage brown butter sauce, but it turned out quite forgettably ordinary.
Even the truffle accent in the Mushroom Fettucine couldn't save this from being too cloyingly creamy.
The Wild Mushroom Risotto was pretty damn good, this was cheesy without being creamy, and the truffle element elevated this to an aromatic high. This also got a repeat order.
The Crabmeat Risotto with English peas and asparagus, on the other hand, we didn't like. It was the combination of flavours, especially the green peas, and suffice to say, we didn't finish this.
The dense but thin slice of Pork Scallopini with potato, mushroom ragout and fried sage was surprisingly moist. We liked this very much.
The Oven-Roasted Barramundi Filet, was fresh and moist enough but the skin was woefully soft and mushy. It would have been better paper crisp. This was sided by cherry tomatoes, capers and black olives.
The Flambeed Prawns would have been a hit if not for the sickeningly rich creamy garlic sauce. We resorted to scraping the cream sauce off the springy prawns.
The Roasted Pork Belly with oven roasted vegetables and cooking jus was lackluster. The skin wasn't crunchy, nor the meat sufficiently moist.
The Slow Cooked Beef Stew with mushrooms and root vegetables should have been cooked faster and longer. The still tough beef chunks needed an hour more in the oven.
The desserts comprised more hits than misses. Their gelato are not to be missed. The Torta Della Nonna, a rich and dense and moist chocolate cake was surprisingly balanced.
Raspberry Mousse Cake, tangy and nuanced.
Pistachio Cheesecake, a nutty twist on the usual cheesecake.
Citrus Panna Cotta, the sour tinge lent brightness to the sweet custard.
Amaretto Panna Cotta, an alcoholic caffeined version of the citrus one above. I prefer the citrus one.
Pineapple Upside Down Cake
Crostata di Frutta, beautifully ripened fruits in a buttery tart.
Mini Baba au Rum
Vanilla Wine Cake, even with the layers of vanilla cream, was too dry
Tiramisu, disappointingly dry
Creme Caramel, with chocolate pellets and fresh orange slices
Nutella Profiteroles, pretty decent, with just enough nutella piped in, not too overwhelmingly sweet and not too dry.
Level 1, Fairmont Singapore
80 Bras Basah Road
Tel: 6431 5156
Open daily for breakfast from 6am to 11am, lunch from 11.30am to 2.30pm and dinner from 6.30pm to 10.30pm