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Restaurant Review: Zafferano’s Risotto Glitters With A 24 Karat Gold Leaf And Other Polished Italian Delicacies

The only way is up for the rooftop Italian restaurant

Photo: Zafferano/Weekender

While known for its enviable sky-high location, rooftop restaurant Zafferano’s stunning views do little to distract you from the real deal – its exquisite Italian fare.

Of course, we do not disregard the routined reaction of awe and wonderment from visiting diners, who are observed usually peering through the Italian restaurant’s floor-to-ceiling windows for a closer look of the blinking skyline of Singapore.

But like a teenage crush, the infatuation is fleeting and the admiration for panoramic sights dwindles with every passing hunger pang that strikes an empty belly.

Thankfully, Zafferano sends gentle reminders in the form of culinary treasures that it will always remain as a stalwart Italian restaurant first. The pretty views just come complimentary.

Under the chaperone of new Head Chef Emanuele Faggi, Zafferano’s menu is now distinctly ingredient-driven, where the culinary mastermind has tapped into the flavours of his hometown Tuscany, before given a creative whirl that he claims tributes his late mentor Chef Gualtiero Marchesi. Another factor that Chef Faggi has brought along to Zafferano is his deliberate move of reducing food wastage in the kitchen. Discarded food scraps such as onions, tomatoes, and carrots, he saves and grinds into powder for plating and flavouring.

A trio of Mazara Red Prawns ($32)

It didn’t take long for the powder element to make its appearance, first shown in the antipasto of caviar-topped, Saffron sauce-drizzled raw Hokkaido scallops ($32) that are then dusted with capers powder. From a little town of Mazara, a trio of bloodshot raw prawns, lined in between wads of housemade tomato mayonnaise and slapped with a stream cheesy ricotta, also makes for a delicious kick-off.

And what is Italian food without homemade pasta?

Squid-stuffed gnudi ($26)

Well, the traditional Tuscany dish of gnudi may dupe you into chowing down what-you-assume is pasta. Rolled up like a gnocchi-like dumpling, the deceptive gnudi ($26) harness the binding effect of dried-up ricotta cheese, before formed with parmesan, spinach and egg white into balls. Squid is popped into these cheese jewels before they are popped into boiling water and then sauteed to finish. Each gnodo was expectedly cheesier, with a slightly mushy texture that may disappoint al dente-only pasta lovers.

Risotto ($32)

Still reeling from the gnudi mind-bender, we were rendered stumped at the following plate of risotto ($32) that is adorned with a single 24 karat gold leaf. A plate of sunshine, we like to call it, seeing how risotto is in a complete shade of yellow due to the presence of saffron. Creamy, piquant and radiating with lip-smacking flavours, the risotto tributes the late Chef Gualtiero Marchesi, whom Chef Faggi learnt this rice dish from.

Alaska black cod ($58)

If you still can weasel more into your bursting belly, look to the Alaska black cod ($58), oven-baked so perfectly that its flesh breaks apart ever so delicately. Laid on a hill of creamy mash potatoes, the dish surprises with whiffs of fragrant vanilla – not from the fish, but from the blanched asparagus sticks that are dripping with vanilla pod-infused butter, resulting in yet another delightful mind-bender of mishmash flavours.

So remember, pretty views can’t fill empty bellies, but Zafferano definitely can.

Address: Ocean Financial Centre, Level 43, 10 Collyer Quay, Singapore 049315
Operating Hours: Lunch: 11.30am to 3pm (Monday to Fridays); Dinner: 530pm to 1145pm (Monday to Wednesday); 530pm to 1am (Thursday to Friday), 630pm to 1am (Saturday)
Website: www.zafferano.sg