The Place I have always known Pontini restaurant at Grand Copthorne Waterfront hotel to serve good a la carte Italian food, which was why I was pleasantly surprised that it has launched its first ever Italian lunch buffet this month. Available only on Saturday and public holidays from 12 to 3pm, Pontini’s Head Chef Daniele Sarno sources most of the ingredients directly from Italy to ensure the authenticity of the buffet, which was not a surprising fact given that the Florence born chef had stints at various Michelin restaurants in the UK and Italy. The setting of the restaurant is posh, with ample daylight and is ideal for an intimate dining session. At $48++ per adult, this is surely an ideal alternative to crowded cafes and long queues elsewhere on weekends!
The Food While the buffet spread is not the widest we have ever seen, it is definitely enough for the average person. The buffet stations consist of various antipasti, breads and soup, where we spotted grilled Portobello Mushroom, Tuscany style Marinated Octopus, assorted Italian cold cuts such as salmon and ham as well as a range of cheeses. We were spoiled for choice as we debated which of the numerous cheeses and homemade breads to pile on our plates, and devoured the generous chunks of Scottish Smoked Salmon flavoured delicately with aged balsamic vinegar and accompanied by a welcome punch of refreshing green apple.
The soup of the day was homemade Wild Mushoom soup, which was thick and creamy. Mushroom soup is almost a staple for any restaurant, so we did not expect much of it…until we had our first delightful spoonful. It was so good that I had two bowls of it.
Italian food in itself is known to be hearty, warm, and suitable for sharing, and up to this point we were already in the pleasant reverie of food indulgence. But we were barely halfway through. Pontini’s Italian Buffet also includes customisable pastas, pizzas, and a selection of mains.
Some of the pizzas we tried included the Salami Pizza and the Smoked Salmon Pizza. An interesting fact we learnt from Chef Daniele was that he used Italian water to prepare the pizza, as tap water would not give the ideal intended taste and texture. Talking about precision. Wow.
For mains, it was a close fight between the Piedmont style braised beef brisket, potato fondant in herb gravy or the oven-baked Norwegian Salmon Mignon topped with Pistachio crust. We decided to try everything, and trust us – the only limits to the spread is how much you can stomach, literally.
The Piedmont style braised beef brisket with potato fondant in herb gravy was served in a fine dining fashion. Other than the full marks presentation, the beef brisket was tender and we loved it with the potato fondant sauce.
The oven-baked Norwegian Salmon Mignon topped with Pistachio crust was another of our favourites from the buffet, as the salmon was very fresh and cooked just right to give it a firm texture, not to mention the pistachio crust which added more bite to the fish. In itself, salmon has quite a dominant taste, and pistachio is also rather strong in flavour, so we were curious about how the combination would work. Let’s just say that this complementary combination was a very pleasant surprise, well judged by the empty plate just minutes after the dish was served.
The Chicken thigh “Diavola”, spicy capsicum and tomato sauce with dry oregano was tender and great for sharing.
For a healthier option to balance out the meal, we tried the Roasted Barramundi fish fillet with pumpkin and sage mash, snow peas salad and grain mustard sauce. The fish was really fresh, cooked to the right degree as its texture was just right and retained every flavour of the fish.
Throughout our meal, conversation and laughter abounded, and when the pastas arrived, we were taken aback at how much they resembled our humble mee kia and mee pok, which we could choose from Tagliolini, Penne or Tagliatelle.
Of the various favourites to choose from, the Roman style Carbonara and Wild Mushroom with Pancetta, pine nuts and parmesan cheese were our top picks, and the servings were just enough to fill up the rest of our savoury stomachs.
It was then on to our dessert stomach, because everyone knows we have separate appetites for sweets! For desserts, there is a live station that is changed weekly, and the lively pastry chef who designs all her items from scratch is there to share her passion for plating lovely items. This week, we were treated with crepes, and we ooh-ed and aah-ed as we customised our crepes with the choice of flavours such as chocolate or fruits. The drizzle of chocolate sauce topped off this sweet conconction.
At the dessert buffet table, there was the must-have Italian classic Tiramisu served creatively in a shot glass, Rum and Raisin Chocolate Cake which was generously decorated by macarons, and sweet little Strawberry Mint Tarts that were almost too cute to eat.
When we next visit, we hope to be able to sample the Ricotta Cannoli, which was at the live station the week before. All in all, even though it was a small dessert selection, the quality of these handmade sweets was definitely well worth our remaining stomach space.
Rants We are missing the famous Italian Gelato, which would complete the Italian buffet.
Will I return again? For our next craving of Italian food, Pontini Italian Buffet would definitely be one of our top picks if we were in the mood of indulging in a long and lazy weekend brunch.
Reserve your table at Pontini on Chope.co now!
We have one pair of dining voucher for giveaway to dine at Pontini Italian Brunch Buffet. Simply:
1) Like theRantingPanda facebook and Grand Copthorne Waterfront Hotel facebook pages.
2) Share theRantingPanda review of Pontini Italian Brunch Buffet on facebook.
3) Leave a comment on theRantingPanda facebook page on what makes a good Italian buffet.
We will select the most creative answer and announce the winner on our facebook page. Hurry as contest ends by 31 Oct 2014!
Taste bud: 4/5
Hole in the pocket: 3.5/5
Overall Experience: 4/5
Level two, Grand Copthorne Waterfront Hotel
Tel: +65 6233 1100