Bonta Italian restaurant: The famous complimentary bread

UE Square is in between Mohamed Sultan road, and Robertson quay, together the area’s a conclave for food and beverage alike. Bontá Italian restaurant & Bar is one of them, located within UE square facing Mohamed Sultan. Having seen this place on both my past visits to Sage the restaurant, and Epicurious, I immediately recalled this place when my partner mentioned that they are famed for their complimentary bread.

We troted down, from Raffles place, Boat Quay, Central, Clark Quay, and the Robertson Quay area. And in turn, passing by many restaurants, but my partner seem to set her heart on the complimentary bread, so we arrived rather late at Bonta.

A quiet affair on a weekday dinner, Bonta had a very beautiful al fresco area, which was definitely welcome if you need some private moments while enjoying the air outside.

If sweating isn’t what you really imagine on your first date out, you can of course enter the cozy and elegant interior of the restaurant. Coupled with the warm lightnings, Bonta does makes a nice place for a romantic dinner. There’s also a private room available just beside the wine cellar.

Complimentary bread

The complimentary bread which Bonta’s famous for. We were full of expectations since we heard rave reviews about the bread, and when the bread came, we were not disappointed. Coming in the form of a cup, the bread at Bonta’s baked freshly everyday, and the smell of it was captivating enough.

Usually the idea of a fresh complimentary bread is dry, unappealing to the palates, and the main reason for its existance is to have a bite while waiting for the appetisers to serve. But not this one, the walnut foccacia bread was totally in a different league on its own. It’s crispy outside, soft and fluffy inside, with walnuts, sundride tomatoes, and feta cheese.

Feta cheese, made from goat’s milk, was the chief architect for the aromatic scent. Crumbly and grainy texture could be best used to describe feta cheese, but if you ain’t a cheese person, and didn’t really like the smell of feta cheese, then maybe you wouldn’t appreciate the bread very much.

Lobster tartare ($39)

Tomato salsa, olive oil, capers, sicilian olives, rocket leaves, and of course lobster made up the lobster tartare. We ain’t quite sure what exactly made us order the most expensive appetiser on the menu, but since we weren’t very hungry, and wasn’t planning to order a lot, plus my partner didn’t try lobster before, we decided to go for it.

The first form of emotion felt when the lobster tartare arrived, was a rather let-down feeling. Well to be frank, paying almost 40 bucks for such a appetiser did not make economic sense when you could order a main course with the price.

The tomato salsa which formed the top layer of the tartare, was too overpowering and jarring, which almost completely covered the taste of the lobster. So even if the lobster wasn’t fresh, you couldn’t really tell. Lobster meat wise, there wasn’t much of it to be seen and felt.

Basil infused angel hair pasta, with jumbo crab meat ($29)

The angel hair pasta was apparently green with basil providing the colour. Chives, white wine sauce, and jumbo crab meat was part of the ingredients which accompanied the pasta. Basil infused angel hair pasta, was definitely a better pairing compared to the tom yam one we had at Absolute Haven,

My partner found the pasta bit soggy, and the lack of sauce which made it too dry for her liking. The jumbo crab meat serving though, was rather generous, with big bits of crab meat. Angel hair still tasted like Chinese rice vermicelli to us. The salmon roe, was quite a good addition apart from the crab meat. Overall there wasn’t anything intriguing about the pasta, just a good and solid version.

Total Bill was $80.04 for one main course and one appetiser for the two of us. We didn’t order a lot because we weren’t feeling very hungry. The walnut foccacia bread was certainly excellent, and one of the better complimentary bread around. The same couldn’t be say for the lobster tartare, which we felt was a rather let down since we expected more from it.

There was a rather unpleasant incident at the beginning because initially I asked permission from the restaurant manager, Mr Karim Benramdane to take photographs of the restaurant, and he agreed with politeness. But after I took some pictures, the executive chef, Mr Luca Pezzera came and asked me to stop taking photographs, citing reasons that they had bad encounters with customers taking photos, and written bad reviews about Bonta, which caused negative publicity for them.

I did agree with him that different people have different taste and preference, so reviews cannot be properly judged the standards of a restaurant. But i felt that if a restaurant is really good, they shouldn’t be afraid to let the customers take photo of their place.

I’ll also like to praise one of the staff, Mr Morning, who was really polite and professional in his work. He greeted us with his friendly smile, and also explained to our enquiries diligently, for that i’ll say there isn’t many restaurant who has professionals like him, and he will go a long way in serving Bonta.

I don’t think that one appetiser and one main course can be used to judge Bonta fairly, since we didn’t have their signature dishes, it will be unfair to make an early judgement on their standards. Therefore, i’ll return for their valued set lunches which at $28, comes with appetiser, main course, dessert and tea.

Bonta Italian restaurant & bar
207 River Valley Road
#01-61 UE Square
Tel: 6333 8875