Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Bonta, UE Square

I was at Bonta with a friend a few weeks ago. This Italian restaurant had been on my radar for sometime now, so I was delighted when the friend pointed out that they were having a special 1-for-1 promotion for set lunches. Never one to waste a good dining deal, we hotfooted it down to the Robertson Quay area which has become a veritable enclave for great dining places, mostly Japanese (Menya Shinchan, Shunjuu, Satsuma Shochu, Miharu).

The restaurant is rather small, and perhaps because of this, tables are packed very close together (one could eavesdrop shamelessly and terribly easily on the conversation at the adjacent tables). Decorated in a clean and modern but not overly ostentatious style, with lots of warm browns and oranges, the ambience was cosy and inviting. Unfortunately not the service. First, they only gave us the ala carte menu and we had to call another waiter to also show us the set lunch menu. Then, they pretended that the 1-for-1 $38 offer was only applicable to those who had expressly reserved it for this purpose which is just so terribly insincere and casts a bad impression. Eventually the waitress agreed that we could order the 1-for-1 set lunch, by which time we had already decided that we would just go for the usual $28 lunch since the courses looked much better than the promotional menu (which was really a cheapened down $19 per person option).

Anyway. Selections settled, the bread came quickly and we both swooned - it was piping hot, studded generously with feta cheese, sundried tomatoes and nuts, and so savoury that I wouldn't mind eating it as a main course. There was a lovely mashed olive in olive oil dipping paste which frankly, was not strictly needed but really nice to have anyway.

Grilled Calamari salad for my starter - not bad at all. The calamari was slightly charred which really brought out the fresh seafood taste, and the peppers being pre-grilled, were very sweet. This was then followed by my chosen main course, ricotta-filled ravioli, with shaved parmesan cheese. Yes, very sinful and "cheesy" indeed. Pasta was cooked to the precise shade of al dente-ness, and the cheese used was of good quality. That I did not feel extremely stuffed after consuming this "full of cheese" dish is a good sign in my books.

Finally, dessert of expresso panna cotta, which was nicely quivery and not too sweet. And they offered us the choice of decaf coffee too.
Overall, a nice lunch place, good for comfort and familar options. However, if you're looking for a place with an edge, that is different from the rest, that excites with a new twist, creative approaches - well I didn't find it at Bonta at lunch. Maybe the extra prices charged for ala carte dining would give that extra fillip too.

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