Thanis Lim

All Rounder Chef and Food Journalist

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Brunei Restaurant Review: A new beginning at Spaghettini Restaurant

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In my blog, I highlighted Spaghettini as a restaurant specializing in creative modern cuisine and I’m a big fan of their whimsical creative cuisines, which wows not only in terms in taste but also the imagination and sight. Read more about the old Spaghettini here: http://www.thanislim.com/2011/07/creative-modern-cuisine-at-spaghettini.html

 

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Dishes that are unique and interesting – to entice and surprise the diners. It has been a signature of Spaghettini for many years. Recently, the management has decided on a new direction for Spaghettini and return to the roots of Italian cuisine. A new head chef has taken over and introduced a style of cuisine that is very different and perhaps offers a fresh new beginning!

 

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The bread basket is quite the spectacle when it arrived at the table. A range of different types of breads – we picked up the focaccia with caramelized onions and raisins first  - more on the softer side – and the crispy oven baked roti at the back.

 

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They still have interesting accompaniments to the breads – such as the togarashi butter – which infuses a slight spicy kick of Japanese red pepper with the butter, apple vinegar and simple butter. I like both the butter and the vinegar to dip with the breads to get me started ~~

 

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This is the antipasto platter which is good enough to share for two – or even for three since you’re going to have other main dishes. It has grilled marinated eggplants, peppers, wild mushrooms, sweet potato, sun dried tomatoes, kalamate, green olives, basil marinated bocconcini, spice pickled vegetables, grissini – and a lovely bulb of roasted garlic.

 

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I quite like these tomatoes ~~ flavour packed smacking tomato goodness ~~ nom nom ~

 

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This is their grilled calamari appetizer, served with roasted corn, fennel salad and lemon oil balsamic. I like the arugula leaves ~~ mmmm my fav salad leaves next to rocket ~~

 

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Arugula avocado salad which is served with shaved pecorino cheese, pine nuts, olive oil and aged balsamic reduction ~~ life’s good when you have arugula in your salad ~~ yum!

 

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The Citrus marinated river prawn crudo is an interesting cold dish – pleasing on the eye like a garden ~ the prawns marinated and minced and served with chopped green apples and potato mascarpone. The brown yummy looking thing is actually teriyaki octopus ~~ most of us enjoyed this appetizer especially the ladies – an instagrammable appetizer that’s actually different and yummy ~~ #tooPrettyToEat

 

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While the girls picked the beautiful dish as their favourite – I am bias here because I like beef carpaccio and truffle oil ~~~ this beef carpaccio dish has a strong whiff of truffle oil when it arrived at the table – grain fed quality raw beef tenderloin sliced thinly and wrapped around rocket leaves,  marjoram and ricotta crème fraiche ~~ served with a pastry like breadsticks for texture contrast. A gentleman’s appetizer you might say as opposed to the previous garden like appetizer. #gentlemanfood #manlysalad

 

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Last but not least are fresh raw oysters served with apple cider, black pepper mignonette or just a simple squeeze a lemon ~~

 

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For soups – we had the truffled wild mushroom cappucino (which means 80 percent mushrooms) with black truffle oil and chervil cream.

 

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We also tried the classic minestrone which has a tomato vegetable broth,  with parmesan, basil pesto and foccacia croutons. A pretty hearty soup and I actually preferred this one but it’s my preference.

 

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These yummy sides comes with the Minestrone soup ~~~ I like dipping them onto the pesto and parmesan ~ mmmm ~~~

 

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After the soup, we checked out the other hot appetizers. This is Spaghettini’s version of Oysters Rockefeller, which is usually oysters topped with butter, herbs and breadcrumbs – baked slightly in the oven. This version users a rich herby mousse textured sauce – yum!

 

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Traditionally homemade chicken agnolotti (tiny pasta filled with chicken meat) hazelnut oil and served with grana padano cheese (popular Italian cheese)

 

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Crispy baccala (salt cod) beignet which is a trio of crispy, airy  New Orleans style doughnuts with minced salt cod fish inside the doughnut. It’s served with tomato basil, black olive sauce vierge, shaved fennel and grilled brocoli.

 

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Now on to the mains! Pan seared sea bass with wilted spinach, parsley puree, vine ripe tomato and basil vinaigrette. I have to say these vine ripened tomatoes are simply delicious ~~ a pretty fresh tasting dish!

 

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For steak lovers, they have this 180g of grilled Australian beef tenderloin with a side of wilted spinach, truffle whipped potato, roasted vegetables, seared porcini mushrooms (ooo yes!) and balsamic reduction. I always go for medium rare for my steaks ~~ pretty tender and goes very well with the roasted vegetables (I really enjoyed the vegetables!)

 

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For fans of ravioli, which is filled pasta, check out the spinach and ricotta filled ravioli, served with a plum tomato compote , duck confit and basil emulsion.

 

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The simple gnocchi shows us never to judge a dish by it’s look! This dish did not stand out amongst the other dishes but it won us over. Sauteed over sage butter, the gnocchi is served with roasted portabella, porcini mushroom, caramelized radicchio, wilted spinach and pine nuts. We really enjoyed the texture of the gnocchi and the sides complement each other very well. A dish that doesn’t look spectacular but pleases the crowd.

 

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This is Spaghettini’s signature seafood spaghetti ~~ fresh angel hair pasta with a spicy tomato arriabiatta sauce, with jumbo prawns, pan roasted sea scallops, squids and New Zealand mussels. Texture of the noodles is pretty good and the sauce is quite spicy to suit the local palette.

 

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Zuppe di pesce is a soupy seafood dish, a saffron oregano bouillabaisse broth, red pepper fennel, new potatoes, sea bass, squid, clams, mussels, scallop, served with lemon herb aioli and toasted bread.

 

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A more meatier pasta dish is the Saffron pappardelle with lamb shoulder confit, basil, beetroot, snap peas, parmesan and marjoram. A hearty dish bound to grab a man’s heart ~~~ through the stomach!

 

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After all that – it’s time for dessert – this is where you can order their good quality teas ~~ mmm. Spaghettini has four desserts to choose from. I must say they look pretty and has quite unique flavours but they’re not everyone’s cup of tea ~~ order to share with friends and try them out.

 

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Lemon mascarpone summer cake with apricot confiture and raspberry coulis on the left, Hazelnut semifreddo with apple and sultana sauce on the right.

 

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Chocolate caramel delice with a layer of roast apples and vanilla bean cream to the left, Rosemary panna cotta with cherry compote and almond biscotti for crunch on the right.

 

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Overall, I must say this is a very different style of cuisine from the previous Spaghettini menu – a more simple down to earth dining experience which focus on the quality of the ingredients. The side dishes especially the vegetables complements the mains very well. Do check out the new menu and share your thoughts!

 

Spaghettini Restaurant

The Empire Hotel

241 8888

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