Thanis Lim

All Rounder Chef and Food Journalist

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Brunei Restaurant Review: Empire Hotel Spaghettini Taste of Italy Promotion

Well known as the “prince of Milan's hotels” and a member of one of the world’s most prestigious 5-star hotel groups, the Dorchester Collection, Hotel Principe is sending two top chefs from its signature restaurant Acanto to present the fine dining experience.

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Spaghettini restaurant is presenting the impeccable cuisine of Acanto for fine Italian dining experience. Highlights are the hotel’s Chef de Partie, Davide Cassago, formerly in Michelin star restaurant, Vecchia Filanda, and Sous Chef Banqueting Ivan Maffi, a protégé of celebrity chef Gualtiero Marchesi, famed as the founder of modern Italian cuisine.

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It was kind enough of Empire to invite me to this prestigious event and to be able to check out their kitchen and watch the two chefs from Italy working together with out local talents is an eye opening experience for the foodie inside me.

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This is where orders are being lined up and the communication point between chefs and front line staff. You could see they have a long list of orders lined up!

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Chef Davide Cassago in action as he prepares the sauces ~~

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Chef Ivan Maffi preparing the appetizers ~~

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Chef Davide Cassago and Chef Raj smiling while the media takes pictures of them ~~

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Chef Davide Cassago finishes up the seafood pasta dish ~~

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A candid photo of Spaghettini Chef Ajoy ~ the creative chef of Spaghettini!

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Now on to the food! For startes we were given the option of butter, refreshing mint butter and reduced balsamic to go with our breads.

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Hmm ~~ I personally preferred the balsamic with my bread while others prefer the unique taste of mint butter!

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For our appetizers, we begin with thinly sliced Angus Beef Carpaccio, served with Fig Compote to add some subtle natural sweetness and in the center ~ a parmesan cheese flan for richness and flavour. A lovely start to our taste of Italy.

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Our second appetizer is this Liguria Octopus Salad, served with black olives, French beans and topped with sweet potato chips. The salad’s dressing wets our appetites for our mains!

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The next appetizer is one of Acanto’s signature dishes~~

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Acanto’s Crunchy Prawns with Toasted Almonds sitting on a Fresh Parsley sauce, served with Salsa Verde.   Oh my yummers!!

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When one talks about Italy – one simply cannot miss out pasta and pizza~ You will be able to order two pizzas and two pastas from the menu.

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This is the simple straight forward Napoletana pizza ~~

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Their Frutti Di Mare – mussels, clams and prawns pizza ~~ naturally – the hungry me preferred the seafood pizza!

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Pastas in Italy tend to be fresh tasting and making full use of the fresh produce. People who are used to strong flavours of South East Asian cuisines might find them bland but I personally love the flavours of this Clam Pasta – but others might no share my preferences.

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This is their Eggplant penne, served with mozarella and cherry tomatoes – another traditional Italian pasta dish.

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This is their Casoncelli Ravioli ~ with spinach-ricotta filling, served with pinenuts with butter and sage. Hmmmm ~~~

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I must say I am a fan of their risottos. This is their squid ink risotto with squid confit. Oh my risotto! According to Chef Ajoy, the secret is their air flown rice just for their risottos!

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This was my personal favourite of the night ~ the saffron and butter risotto with crispy Parmesan and a piece of gold leaf for that posh feel! Notice the generous portion of saffron threads as well ~~ hmmmm …. not surprised that this is my favourite dish of the night! Chef Ajoy divulges another top secret – their butter and shallots combo packs a punch in this dish!

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This is their baked cod, which looks good already freshly out of the oven before being plated~

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Oven baked cod fillet, served with asparagus, squid, capers and cherry tomatoes ~~~

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This is their other main – the rack of lamb served with a side of Aubergine ‘Parmesan’ and side veggies.

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A close up photo of those delicious lamb morsels!! ATTACK!!!

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On to the desserts ~~ this is Acanto’s unique tiramisu with strawberry, masala and dark chocolate – I loved the strawberry one the most out of the three. This is their Tiramisu Mignon – a trio of tiramisus~

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You can also choose their other dessert – which is their Trio Panna Cotta – an Italian milk based jelly like dessert – comprising of Vanilla, Mint and Raspberry flavours.

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The best moment of the night is of course – to take a picture with the two talented Italian chefs! Thank you Chef Davide Cassago and Chef Ivan Maffi and I hope the rest of Brunei will enjoy the Taste of Italy!

For reservations: Please call +673 241 8888 @ The Empire hotel and ask for Spaghettini! Book early to avoid missing out on this limited special!

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