‘Il Ponte’ has firmly cemented itself as one of the finest Italian restaurants in the country and has maintained an unwavering reputation for serving food prepared with the finest ingredients. One of the key strengths of the restaurant is that they have maintained a pretty consistent menu that has continually wowed diners. Switching things up a bit, ‘Il Ponte’ recently hosted the media where Executive Chef Robert Mujagic and Marketing Communications Manager Gigi De Silva introduced the tasting menu.
Comprising perfectly grilled squid in herbed soft polenta and crispy parmesan with lemon oregano dressing, the starter was a summery explosion of well balanced flavours and freshness. Special mention must be made of the flawless preparation of the squid which was perfectly tender as well as springy without being chewy. The subtle tartness of the polenta and the lemon oregano dressing superbly complemented the squid and resulted in a well executed starter.
Thin sliced beef tenderloin topped with rocket salad, aged parmesan and drops of olive oil, the delicate beef carpaccio was prepared so that it could even be enjoyed by those who are averse to raw meat. The nutty flavour of the parmesan and slight pungency of the olive oil enhanced the carpaccio while the rocket salad added texture, making it a flavourful yet light start to the meal.
Cêpes Mushroom Soup
A hearty entrant in comparison to the previous appetisers I sampled, the wild crêpes mushroom soup with roasted cauliflower, watercress and white truffle essence stuffed me up quite fast. The rich flavours of the soup made it something I would definitely go back for.
Squid Ink Tagliatelle
Black ink tagliatelle pasta with tiger prawns cooked in spicy tomato sauce. Squid ink has proved to leave in its wake a divisive group of diners with many believing it’s just a trendy addition to dishes to make them look different. In reality, squid ink has been used in Italian cooking for some time now and actually adds a distinct brininess to a dish. Essentially, squid ink makes a dish taste like the ocean, but in a satisfying, subdued way. Similarly, the Squid Ink Tagliatelle managed to find an equilibrium, with the acidity from the mildly spicy tomato sauce punching through, resulting in a piquant main.
I’ve found most chicken based dishes in most restaurants to be quite… characterless and uninspired. Thankfully, the Chicken Scallopini ended up being one of my favourites that evening. Comprising a thin slice of pan fried chicken with crêpes mushroom, potato gnocchi and parsley butter, the well flavoured chicken stood out and held its own against one of the best made gnocchi I have had the pleasure of trying in the country. Super soft, delicate and fluffy, the humble gnocchi managed to steal the spotlight. The dish itself shone in its apparent simplicity and expertly executed ingredients.
Baked Sea Bass Filet
The final main that I sampled was baked sea bass with black olives, red onions, chunky Roma tomatoes and roasted potatoes. The delicate sea bass was buttery yet meaty, flavoured ever so lightly as to not take away from its distinct taste. The roasted potatoes were a fantastic accompaniment, and the roma tomatoes added a perfect dose of acidity.
Beloved Italian dessert, the Tiramisu was served in a glass containing ladyfinger soaked in espresso coffee with layers of mascarpone cheese. The ladyfingers made for a light and sweet base. Rich and decadent, the layers of the Tiramisu came together resulting in an elegant dessert that tasted as good as it looked!
Flourless chocolate cake with almonds and Italian vanilla gelato, the cake was not on par with the rest of the food served that night, falling short because of the somewhat clumpy texture of the cake. Tastewise however, the cake was quite good.
My favourite dessert of them all was the Cannoli, a crispy tube filled with ricotta cheese, chocolate chips and icing sugar. Delivering a punch in both the texture and taste department, the cannoli was pretty faultless. Will happily recommend!
Parking: Ample parking available
What I recommend: Crêpes Mushroom Soup, Sauteed Calamari, Chicken Scallopini, Cannoli
Notes: Reservations may be required for large groups
Pics: Nisal Baduge