Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Ristorante Da Valentino

Ristorante Da Valentino - a small Italian restaurant famed for its excellent homely Italian food and stellar service to boot. Dining at this reclusive semi fine dining restaurant presents quite a challenge as reservations are hard to come by (minimum 2 weeks in advance) and made even harder with the restrictions placed. Reservations of more than 8 pax are usually not entertained and Valentino also enforces a two seating policy, with the first running from 6pm - 830pm and the second from 830pm till closing. This effectively means that a leisurely dinner is probably out of the question, especially in large groups.

Interior & Menu

Located at the end of a short row of shophouses at Jalan Bingka, just off Rifle Range Road, Valentino can be rather inaccessible if you don't know your way around the area (shortcuts) or have your own means of transport. The interior struck me as very cosy and homely with its low ceilings, smallish dining area, decorative memorabila on the shelves and red walls decked with photo frames.

All the food that I didn't get to try

Complimentary Bread & Minestrone Soup

The complimentary bread was simple and nice. Warm and a tad chewy without all the frills. I won't be shy to admit that I requested for another serving of the bread.

At $5.90 a plate, I was rather doubtful about the quality of the minestrone but it was surprisingly good. With just about the right viscosity and flavour, it came across as light on the palate and was a hit amongst my dining companions.

Salmon Salad & Tomino Wrapped in Bacon

I didn't think too much of the salmon salad, in which the salmon slices were smoked and served atop fresh greens simply because the smoked taste was conspicuously faint. Honestly, if I wanted to eat non smoked semi raw salmon, I would have gone to a Japanese restaurant instead.

The Tomino, which is a typical Italian cheese that comes from Piemonte and made with cow's or goat's milk (in this case it was definitely goat), created a little stir with its nice smooth texture which was complemented by the crisp bacon. Only gripe I had was that the whole dish was extremely salty. And if you can't take the rather pungent taste of goat's milk, please refrain from ordering this dish.

Fettucine Al Granchio

The dish which I was eagerly anticipating, the squid ink fettucine with crab meat. The home made pasta was al dente and featured a rich cream based sauce with a touch of tomato that was most excellent, a fact that was accentuated further by the decent clumps of crab meat. Personally I like this better than that of Da Paolo's.

Porcini, Rucola and Prosciutto De Parma

The pizza spotted a thin crust that heaved downwards under the weight of its ingredients. Please do not be mistaken that the ingredients were plentiful. On the contrary, it was adequate at best. Personally I thought the pizza was good but not exactly the type that would wow me. I mean, how bad can mushrooms, parma ham and rocket leaves taste when eaten together?

Risotto Ai Frutti Di Mare

The risotto deserved the worst dish of the evening award with its sourish overtone that reminded me of food gone stale aka chao sng. I wasn't the only one who thought so apparently. Neither the fresh seafood nor the texture of the risotto could save this dish.

Dessert Trolley

Thought I would give this a special mention as this is really very old school. I honestly haven't seen such an outfit since I last ate at Top of the M two years back.


I had requested for four of Valentino's best desserts and left it up to our waitress to decide which desserts would fit the bill. The chantilly started us off on the right note, coming across as light on the palate without the cream being overbearingly sweet.

Panna Cotta

The panna cotta's texture was reminiscent more of tofu than pudding - quivery yet firm, which isn't so bad really until you get to the taste part, which was bland and uninspiring in my humble opinion. Would have liked it much stronger.


Served up in a queer shaped plastic container, the tiramisu disappointed right from the start. Even though the presence of liquer was evident, the mascarpone cheese was a tad too thick and coagulated while the sponge was dry. I had expected better.

Valentino Cake

This was one decadent cake with dark chocolate making up most part of it. There were bits of raisins and traces of rum as well, making it a sweet but dry (the sponge was dry) ending to our dinner. Could it be that the cake was left in the open for a period of time such that the sponge dried up?


On my part I paid about $56 for a share of all the dishes I reviewed above, which really isn't too expensive for the variety of food I got to sample. Food quality was a case of hits and misses and I reckon only the mains are worth the trouble. Prices for the appetisers do seem a tad over the roof while the mains are priced a notch higher than other similar restaurants. Service was great and I must say I enjoyed some aspects of the dinner.

ps: Please pardon my photographs as the lighting from where I sat was really quite bad.

Likes: Great ambience and service, some dishes are good
Dislikes: A little pricey, some dishes are forgettable

Final Verdict:

Food:7/10 (8.5/10 for the Fettucine Al Granchio)
Value for money:6.5/10


Address: 11 Jalan Bingka

Contact: 64620555

Opening Hours: Tues-Sun 12pm - 2.30pm, 6pm - 10.30pm



Anonymous said...

u had one soup, one salad, the salmon, Fettucine Al Granchio, the pizza, and 4 desserts for $56? one person eat so much? haha

fatpig said...

Share between 3 people.

Anonymous said...

great review. the photos still looked great!


Unknown said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Unknown said...

That risotto doesn't look appetizing. That bad? Gone stale?

fatpig said...

Thanks for the encouragement Rata!

foodies queen: I don't know if it was stale but it tasted like it.

Christina Kim said...

LOVELY photos....they really speak more than a thousand words!~

fatpig said...

Christy: Thanks for the compliment! :)

Anonymous said...

you are lacking this:

fatpig said...

food map: Thanks for providing a map =)

Anonymous said...

Valentino is one of my fav Italian place in Sg. the food is not pretentious at all. just decent and home-made comfort food. At V, you should always ask for the specials as most of their supplies comes from Italy and it is very dependent on what they can get. Some of the best dishes I've tried there are never on the menu. eg. Italian tomatoes, porcini linguine with truffle oil, beef steak platter. and oh, the awesome coffee to end the meal!