The Waterfall: Southern Italian delights

Eggplant parmigiani
Eggplant parmigiani

Amidst the lush landscaping and sprawling pools, the poolside restaurant of the Shangri-La Hotel, The Waterfall, has changed its gastronomic direction

Chef Marco De Vincentis of The Waterfall at Shangri-La Hotel, Singapore
Chef Marco De Vincentis of The Waterfall at Shangri-La Hotel, Singapore

[dropcap]W[/dropcap]ith their new Chef de Cuisine Marco De Vincentis, The Waterfall now offers authentic and heirloom southern Italian cuisine.

Hailing from Naples, Chef Marco brings with him traditional recipes and inspiration from another chef from the region — his grandfather. His certificate of authenticity runs deep in his blood.

Buffet Bravo

Chef Marco has revamped the menu, which now offers authentic southern Italian buffet and à la carte dishes to guests. The buffet features a range of Italian antipasti, cold cuts, cheese, handmade pasta dishes, pizza, Italian roast and desserts.

Though the selections aren’t very large compared to other buffets in restaurants from top hotels, the selections are quite enticing, especially since the buffet includes three pasta specials of the day that are made fresh to order.

The Waterfall Buffet Spread. Small but enticing
The Waterfall Buffet Spread – small but enticing.

The lunch, served daily from noon to 3pm, is $48 per adult and $24 per child and offers better value.

Veni, Vidi, Vici the à la Carte

If you’re looking for something exceptional, I’d suggest ordering from the à la carte menu. Here, Chef Marco, creates Italian cuisine worthy of Julius Caesar.

Take for instance his Stufato di Pesce (Seafood stew, $68 for two) – super-sized prawns, scallops and mussels swimming in a sea of bright tangy tomato sauce with slices of toasted bread. This is a memorable signature dish. Even though this serves two, it was so good, I could have it all to myself.

Seafood Stew
Seafood Stew: As tasty as it is colourful.

His Doppio Raviolo alla Parmigiana (Ravioli from Parmigiana, $26), a classic Italian dish, was delightfully creamy. The fresh pasta was soft and delicate, as were the eggplant and sun-dried tomato stuffing. The additional Scarmoza cheese rounded it off with a subtle smoky flavour.

Ravioli with eggplant and sun-dried tomatoes.
Ravioli with eggplant and sun-dried tomatoes.

Lasagna Croccante Ragu Bianco e Porcini (Crunchy lasagne with white mushroom sauce, $24) is Chef Marco’s personal interpretation of the classic lasagne. As an homage to his mother’s lasagne with the dried crispy edges, which he loved so much as child, he created a visually-arresting dish by curling lasagne strips into a flower-bud shape, baking it until it turns light golden brown, and using it as the centrepiece in a dish surrounded by a moat of béchamel sauce.

Visually arresting modern take on traditional lasagne.
A visually-arresting modern take on traditional lasagne.

Another wonderful delight is the Parmigiana di Melanzane (Baked eggplant with Parmesan cheese, $20). Embedded within a rectangular cast iron pot, the layers of eggplant are draped over with wonderful molten cheese.

Eggplant parmigiani
Eggplant parmigiana

For meat lovers, the Tagliata de Manzo Rucola e Grana (Hunter Valley Australian grain-fed Tenderloin, $41) was succulent and delicate tasting. Typically, I don’t usually like heavy meaty dishes from Italian restaurants, preferring pasta and cheese instead, but his Tagliata was quite tasty.

Delizioso Desserts

Babba al Rum, a classic wedding dessert in Naples
Right: Babba al Rum, a classic wedding dessert in Naples. Left: Biancomangiare, almond pudding with a touch of orange blossom water.

For dessert, try the Torta Caprese (Tart from Capri, $16), which is a kind of Italian lava cake served in a mini cast-iron pot. The Biancomangiare (Almond pudding, $12) is also worth a try as well. The taste of almond with a touch of orange blossom water made this dessert sublime.

Finally, a favourite dessert at wedding ceremonies in Napoli: Babba al Rum (Neapolitan sponge cake, $16). Essentially a sponge cake soaked in syrup and rum presented with cream and quartered strawberries.

It begins with the fluffy texture of the sponge cake and cream, then progresses to a bold, sharp sweetness accentuated by the rum. It’s a very pleasant and light dessert to end a fine meal.

With the contribution of Chef Marco, the reinvented Waterfall menu provides an excellent place for southern Italian cuisine in Shangri-La’s lush tropical setting. After a meal, you can truly say: “I came, I saw, I conquered – the food at The Waterfall.”

 

By Frank Young

 

The Waterfall, Shangri-La Hotel Singapore, 22 Orange Grove Road, Tel: 6213 4138