Italian restaurant Monti had one great thing going for it – a stunning view of Marina Bay. When the lights are shining bright, it is magical.
But now, with an update to its menu, the food will be another draw.
General manager Massimo Aquaro is a larger-than-life Roman with a passion for his culture and, working with head chef Felix Chong (formerly of Otto, Senso and Forlino), came up with a few promotions, including the exciting Fiorentina Experience, featuring world-class T-bone steaks.
The highlight is meat from a cow that is fed grains and chocolates.
Those who appreciate good beef will want the Mayura Full-Blood Wagyu T-Bone ($320), which won the highest level of Australia’s Delicious Produce Awards in 2018 with a marbling score of 9+.
The meat is full-bodied but with a buttery flavour, and the more you chew, the more intense the experience gets. It is not cheap, but for the occasional treat, it is worth the money.
Monti also serves the Sanchoku F1 Wagyu T-Bone ($220) and Rangers Valley Black Onyx T-Bone ($180). Both are good but, for me, they cannot compare to the Mayura.
Although Monti should seal its reputation as one of the top beef-centric restaurants with the introduction of the Fiorentina Experience, its seafood offering of Red Snapper Guazzetto ($26, from the lunch menu) is an enjoyable plate too.
I admire a restaurant committed to using sustainable produce, and in this dish, it is the local snapper.
The white wine broth is elegant and the plating is beautiful.
My favourite non-beef dish was the house-made fregola ($35).
This is an unconventional barley-shaped pasta that has made its way to our tables over the last few years. It feels like you’re eating an engorged kernel of rice and has a solid chew.
For a fregola dish to work, the sauce has to be robust and Monti’s version – with Roma tomato – is. Even a plate full of seafood feels like a sidekick to the pasta.
During dinner, Monti gave us a preview of its upcoming ravioli promotion, to be launched next month. Based on the two offerings I tasted, it should be a promotion to try.
The Black Cod Tortelli, with the squid ink dough and a filling of pureed white cod, is mild in flavour and luxurious in texture.
There is a hint of Asia too.
The broccoli paste has chilli padi, so if you need heat, you’ll get it here, but it is subtle.
On the other hand, the Wagyu Agnolotti is a more traditional taste.
The buttery cream of bone marrow and the braised wagyu filling came together, with a splash of lemon to lighten the taste.
The pricing for the ravioli dishes is not out yet but from the taste, they’ll be a draw.
MONTI AT 1-PAVILION
82 Collyer Quay
Opening hours: Noon to 3pm on weekdays, 9.30am to 5.30pm on weekends and public holidays, and 6pm to 10.30pm daily
This article was originally published in The Straits Times.
Photo: ST/SPH, Monti