Tucked away in a little corner in Telok Blangah is what used to be a retreat bungalow owned by the Yemeni Alkaff family. Alkaff Mansion Ristorante provides a nice respite from the fast paced city areas in Singapore, perching on top of Telok Blangah Hill (used to be known as Washington Hill). This well-known location was once the centre of high society parties and other events, besides being a family home to the Alkaff family.
Since the mid 1990s, Alkaff Mansion Ristorante has been known to serve award-winning cuisine to patrons but ever since LHN Culinary Concepts took over the reigns in 2010, the restaurant finally restored its splendour and has become one of Singapore’s go-to dining spots and event venue for corporate, private events and weddings.
Here is what we enjoyed the most from Executive Chef Simone Depalmas’ intricately crafted menu, strongly influenced by his Italian roots.
To kick-start your gastronomic adventure here at Alkaff Mansion Ristorante, a popular antipasti to start with is the Fresh Octopus Carpaccio (S$24). This dish, according to Chef Depalmas, is one of the most frequently ordered starters at the restaurant.
Sliced thinly into delicate and translucent pieces, the octopus is enhanced with the added frisee salad and San Marzano cherry tomatoes on top, and dressed sparingly with balsamic reduction for a hint of tanginess to the dish. Chef imports his seafood fresh directly from his hometown of Sardinia, an island in Italy, so you are guaranteed only the freshest seafood will be served here.
If you are dining in a pair, pick the Seafood Platter (S$68) instead to try a variety of seafood dishes. Dig into plump tiger prawns, a generous serving of tuna tartare with croutons crowning it, thinly sliced sea bass carpaccio, chunky octopus salad and fresh lobster chunks dressed in a tart citrus sauce. The platter is exceptionally big so it can be shared up to four diners.
Moving on to the fresh pasta dishes, the Sardinian Fregola with Assorted Seafood (S$28) is a stunner. Fregola is essentially a ‘cous cous’-like pasta, imported all the way from Italy. The mussels that are tossed in with the pasta is exceptionally juicy as they are fresh from Sardinian waters, without being frozen when flown over. Cooked with other fresh seafood such as squid and clams, the rich flavours of the pasta shone through with the added use of herbs and dried tomatoes.
We were served this next dish wrapped up in a thin sheet of plastic. Yes, the Homemade Squid Ink Tagliatelle (S$32) is skillfully prepared in the hands of chef as he tosses this pasta dish into the oven for a couple of minutes before serving to bring out the robust flavours.
Adding an oomph to this marvellous pasta dish are the plump and juicy mussels and an assortment of other fresh Sardinian seafood.
It is hard to come by really good risotto in Singapore as many restaurants here do not use the correct grains to cook the dish, or simply fare poorly in execution. Thankfully, the Porcini Mushroom Risotto Superfino Acquerello (S$28) here at Alkaff Mansion Ristorante exceeded our expectations.
Chef uses the Superfino Acquerello grains in this risotto dish and it is a high quality grain prized for producing the best risotto dishes. The porcini mushrooms and thyme also enhanced the flavours of the dish.
Served flambéed, the Oven Baked Sea Bass in Salt (S$48/600g, S$56/700g, S$64/800g) produced the most tender and juicy flesh. As the fish was baked in salt, the inner ‘meat’ of the sea bass has absorbed a great part of it, making it good to eat even on its own.
We were served the sea bass with a tangy squeeze of lemon, some fresh vegetables and delicious dried tomatoes; they all make great companions to the fish.
If red meats are your go-to choice for a hearty (or romantic) dinner here at Alkaff Mansion Ristorante, the Oven-Baked Lamb Rack (S$45) or the Sliced Beef Tenderloin (S$45) should be your top picks.
Cooked to a perfect medium pink, the lamb rack is served with a smooth dollop of mashed potatoes, pearl onions and a rich prune sauce that has been reduced overnight to bring out the most intensive flavours to complement the meat.
For steak lovers, a guaranteed satisfying meal will be made better with the sliced tenderloin; cooked to your preferred doneness, of course. The steak is sliced up for easier consumption and served alongside roasted potatoes and fresh or grilled vegetables.
What makes a good suckling pig? A crisp skin outer layer with flavourful and tender meat inside. This is exactly what Chef Depalmas brought to the table with an Italian spin to this classic dish. And you bet we fell head over heels in love.
The Slow Cooked Sardinian Style Suckling Pig (S$46) is roasted for several hours at a specific temperature of 70 degree Celsius to produce fork-tender meat and a divine crisp to the skin. Served with a sweet berry compote to balance out the salty-rich flavours of the pork, we couldn’t help but believe that we must have done something so darn right in our past lives to be able to enjoy such a heavenly suckling pig.
Every good meal must end with an equally or even better tasting dessert. Chef puts in the same amount of love and care into his savoury dishes and sweet desserts, hence producing incredibly decadent desserts that you will polish off even if you were already ‘full’ from your mains.
Chef Depalmas’ Alkaff Mansion Tiramisu (S$14) is a simple dish but done the traditional and authentic way without any addition of cream – only light and premium mascarpone cheese. The added acidity of the fruits and berries adds dimensions to this otherwise light dessert.
The clear winner of the desserts is none other than the Fresh Mint Vanilla Panna Cotta with Mixed Berries and Raspberry Sauce (S$14). The Panna Cotta itself was as wobbly as a good Panna Cotta should be, and the fragrance of the mint was refreshing without being over-powering. This is a nice palate cleanser for your hearty meal.
It was a really splendid experience at Alkaff Mansion Ristorante, and one that we will not soon forget. It is little wonder this place is so popular among couples for wedding ceremonies and dinners, and yes, it is an ideal romantic dining location indeed.
Alkaff Mansion Ristorante
10 Telok Blangah Green
Reservations: +65 6510 3068
Events: +65 6510 1010
Mon to Fri: 11.30am – 3.00pm, 6pm – 11.00pm
Sat & Sun: 11.30am – 3.00pm, 6pm – 11.00pm
Nearest Station: Harbourfront or Telok Blangah
This post is brought to you by Alkaff Mansion Ristorante.