Thinky knows that well made Italian food in Italy is a joy, but there's one place in Singapore that is even better than Italy...
Not that many people know of this place, but enough do that you'll always find some happy diners enjoying themselves. And now I'll let you in on the secret. Bonta is the place. For the people at Bonta, eating is truly one of the great pleasures of life. It is something that they take extremely seriously. I had a chance to lunch there, and this latest incarnation of the Italian spirit at UE Square is a haven of pure eating pleasure and an absolute paradise for gastronomes.
The genius in the kitchen is none other than Chef-partner Luca Pezzera, a native of Bergamo who has infused his delicious Italian dishes with subtle hints of his adopted tropical home. After spending more than five years as the Executive Chef at Hotel InterContinental-Jakarta (where he pioneered and established Scusa), I noticed that this Luca is not your typical Italian chef
In his creations you won't find heavy sauces, chock full of heart-burning spices that predominate in most Italian dishes. Instead, subtle Asian influences permeate his dishes, bringing you a sweeter, lighter taste that is truly refreshing on the palate and of a quality unmatched anywhere else I have eaten. I don't know exactly what his secret is; perhaps this graduate of the San Pellegrino School of Hoteliers developed his style during his tours of duty in Turkey, Jordan, Switzerland, Scotland or Dubai.
I doubt you will find another so masterful at reinventing the ingredients and cuisines of Northern Italy with such a personal signature touch. Ranging from what could very well end up a world famous Lobster Tartare (with Sicilian olives, capers, wild rocket lettuce and tomato salsa, - $34) through to the muffin-shaped freshly baked bread with feta and sundried tomatoes, the aroma of which make the whole experience far tastier and delightful.
What are some of the famous dishes from Bonta? They range from some of the most complex Italian recipes, requiring time and precision to make perfectly, to some other fairly simple but extremely delicious dishes. For example the Roasted Mediterranean Sea bass Fillet ($42) was not your typically dry fish affair.
Served on top of sauteed garlic spinach, and a crispy pesto risotto bathed in a saffron emulsion, each bite simply dripped flavour and literally made my mouth water. Perhaps you've heard of the slow food movement, a philosophical belief that food should be savoured and enjoyed at a leisurely pace.
This movement originates in Luca's northern Italy, where pasta is king and you'll want to take your time to enjoy the savoury divineness of his homemade Tagliatelle ($32), completely wholesome with porcini mushrooms, spinach and a perfectly pan-fried goose liver. Delectable!
Bonta is not only great for it's main courses, but is exceptional also for their desserts and wines. I topped off the meal with a Chocolate Mousse ($12) with crunchy hazelnut and Bailey's syrup on top of caramelised bananas, not too rich, but tantalising all the same. Bonta is the latest Italian fine-dining venue in the heart of this overfed city, but their pride in presenting a repertoire of refined modern Italian cuisine, which marries the freshest quality ingredients with the soul of this northern Italian gent is sure to prove a winning combination for food lovers islandwide.