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I was very much enticed by the 50% discount that Bistro Senso was offering on its ala carte menu during the Singapore Flyer downtime so made a purposeful trip down just to give it a shot. It definitely helped that I had a great experience at Senso Ristorante at club street quite a few years back.
The interior is comfortably cafe-ish and decked out in predominantly red and black shades with towering floor to ceilings windows that allow a view of the Marina Barrage, among other things. There is also a al fresco option but being a hot afternoon, the air conditioned indoors definitely seemed a lot more appealing.
Caprese Di Mozzarella Di Bufala - For starters, we had the mozzarella salad, which was decent but nothing to shout about. The cheese was a little too bland but thankfully, still relatively smooth. If it wasn't the salt from the salad which "spiced" things up a little, I honestly don't think we could have finished this dish.
Calamari - The calamari batter was a tad too thick for my liking but the squid had a nice springy texture and didn't come across as overly salty. It didn't seem very oily as well which is a plus point I guess.
Calzone - The calzone aka "folded pizza" surprised me with its humongous serving size. It was easily double the size of any calzone that I've ever tried (not that I've tried a lot though). (Un)fortunately, most of it was just hot air (literally!). When I made a hole in the pizza, the dough sort of deflated and the whole thing was hollow, save for a bed of cheese coupled with a few slices of ham. On the upside, the pastry was nice and chewy, almost like eating roti prata. But the whole pizza could really do with more ingredients.
Lobster and Crab Meat Ravioli - I was rather surprised to see this on the menu as lobster and crab meat are usually quite expensive and this ravioli was only going for $18 (before discount). The ravioli had crab shreds for filling and I couldn't quite make out any lobster at all. However, thrown into the pot were servings of relatively fresh squid, mussel and prawns, all held together by a lightly sourish and tomato base sauce. Not exactly what I was expecting, but for the price, I really can't complain.
The desserts proved to be anything but good. For an Italian eatery, the tiramisu was sadly pathetic. The sponge was a tad dry even at the base and the mascarpone cheese wasn't dense or moist enough. And where was the alcohol taste?
Creme Brulee -
Only for those with a very sweet tooth best describes the creme brulee. It was mind blowingly sweet even for me and definitely not made from vanilla beans. The texture was uncomfortably smooth, soft and almost creamy, very much like paste. The caramel also looked like it hadn't been torched long enough.
A very filling meal for 2 cost us to the tune of $90 ($45 after 50% discount). Though we did manage to get 2 full courses (appetiser, main, dessert) for the price, I doubt I will be back in the absense of the discount simply because the quality of food doesn't quite live up to its pricing. Service was good but how hard is it to serve just 1 table?
See all my pictures here.
Bistro Senso...makes sense~
Decided to go there precisely because they were offering a 50% off ALL ala carte items. EVERYTHING, except drinks but good enough for me :D
Since the big wheel stopped turning, business here has been really really, really.....bad. Choosing a Monday evening made the isolated place seem really sad, with a few specks of people strolling around and F&B service staff either earnestly standing outside trying to grab your attention with promotional flyers or chatting amongst themselves to kill time.
2 girls with a huge appetite to try out this less costly version of Senso made us order a starter, 2 mains, 3 desserts, and of course coffee.
Salad nicose ($12) - Chose this over calamari because we thought since we are bingeing, we might as well err on the healthier side (haha). The tossed combination of the tuna, beans, greens, and eggs were surprisingly good, especially paired with the slightly tart vinegrette dressing. Good start to the evening.
Crab ravioli ($18) - Pieces of fat and flavourful parcels tossed with fresh tomato sauce and seafood bits. The pasta tasted home-made (although I can be wrong) and the seafood very fresh.
Pizza Parma Rucola($18) - I'm always distracted my this favourite when choosing pizza, and I lost again, haha. Classic italian style with parma ham and rucola greens on top. The plain carbo base went very well with the salty ham, but the greens looked a bit limp I thought.
Creme Brulee ($8) - I don't usually order this but since well its 50% anyway. Plus the pastry counter looked really unattractive. Creamy sweet gooey stuff, but they should have burnt the top layer a bit more.
Tiramisu ($8) - came in a mini tower form on a big plate. Tasted better than it looks but still the sponge fingers were too dry; it was also too soft and not chilled enough.
Panna Cotta ($8) - Came in a cute martini glass but strangely green in colour. There was no flavour so we didnt know what the colouring was...maybe it was just a visual thing. Usual stuff.
Coffee ($3) - So many places do coffee so badly I just had to ask them to please make sure mine was pressed properly. Didn't disappoint me in the end.
Latte ($4.50) - Didn't try this but shouldn't be too bad given the quality of the coffee.
Quality of the food surprised me, given the fact that they have probably not had a customer for a very very long time. Throughout my dinner, there was at max 3 tables including us (we were the first to walk in and last to step out).
Service was friendly and attentive, and they kept coming over to ask how's the food. Ambience was actually quite nice; you can see the sea through the glass panels at the side, and if you choose alfresco, it's actually right under the wheel. Quite a romantic vibe if you go with the correct person.
If not for the walking distance, I would really love to come back a few more times. To take advantage of the 50% while it lasts. Not sure when, but it will be as long as the big wheel doesn't start I believe. So go soon!!
The bill came up to $79, but with the 50% off food items, we paid only about $50 for 2 persons. Very worth it I feel :D
The Singapore Flyer is touted as the world’s largest observation wheel, even higher than London Eye. Our nation’s pride. Minor breakdowns before were already ominous signals that a catastrophe will happen one day. Alas, the dreadful thing finally struck. How the mighty has fallen. The management should have already looked into and made backup plans, but it failed anyway. Now, time for us to do some self-reflections and damage-recovery.
While the flyer remains closed for investigations, the ones to suffer the backslash are the restaurants and other tenents. Senso Bistro, is coming up with a 50% promotion off all their a la carte menu from now until the flyer starts operating (date unknown yet).
The natural vibe of the restaurant, with its simple layout and decorations, provided a good place for either a causal lunch, or nice dinner without burning a hole in the pocket.
Not to mention there’s also al fresco dining, which would be ideal for dinner, with the sea breeze and eating under the stars making it a romantic affair.
The waiter kindly asked us whether we’ll like some garlic bread ($4) while waiting, but he failed to mention it’s not free. Naturally when he offered us bread i thought it was complimentary. There’s no free lunch in this world. All right, it’s not so much about the money, we are talking about principle, like shouldn’t they at least inform us the bread wasn’t complimentary? Next time, don’t be shy, ask!
With ten selections to choose from the Pizze menu, we were spoilt for choices. To be on the safe side, we went for the popular Hawaiian ($18 before 50% discount). The paper-thin pizza was huge, with eight slices easily filling up the four of us. The ingredients of pineapple, cooked ham were very generous. The only gripe? I lamented the fact that the pizza did not have enough mozzarella cheese. Still, with the promotion, it’s definitely a steal at just under ten bucks. It made the one I’ve at Galbiati looked pathetic.
Grilled tuna loin coated in fresh herbs. The Tonno ($24 before 50% discount) was a disappointment really. The fish was over-cooked, making the meat too dry and hard. I liked the side vegetables that came with it, lightly stir-fried, the greens were crunchy and fresh.
When asked to choose between the T-bone steak and veal loin, the manager recommended the latter for the delicate taste and tender texture. Veal loin is the meat of calves, and at Bistro Senso, the pan-fried veal loin scaloppine ($24 before discount) can be done in three different methods. Ours were ‘alla Pizzaiola’ with tomato and mozzarella cheese. The whole taste was like having a steak-pizza. A refreshing combination, but the meat was not tender enough, and came across as too tough. And since we had pizza already, now i’m wishing i chose the other method of breaded and golden crispy instead.
And how can we not have any pasta from an Italian bistro? The Ravioli ($18 before 50% discount) was essentially lobster and crab pasta served with assorted seafood ragout in tomato and basil sauce. This was actually my first time having a ravioli pasta. The tomato and basil sauce was flavourful and strong in taste. The prawns and squids were fresh, but to be frank, I didn’t quite enjoy ravioli. I still preferred my pasta to be spaghetti or linguine. Personal taste.
I was eagerly anticipating the desserts, well most people would find tiramisu ($8 before 50% discount) boring and chose some other interesting options. But there was no way I’m going to miss out trying the popular Italian dessert from an Italiano joint. The mascarpone cream was too light, and the espresso taste was not strong.
Another famous Italian dessert, Pannacotta ($8 before 50% discount). The bouncy texture was evident, but i couldn’t figure out what’s in the double cream flan. The raspberry coulis did provided a contrast with the pannacotta.
The last one, Creme brulee ($8 before 50% discount). The oven-baked egg custard of the Italian dessert did taste rather like our Chinese egg tarts. The caramelised sugar on top of the dessert wasn’t burned enough, and lacked the torched burnt taste.
Total bill was $65.91 for 4 person after a 50% discount. Although i wasn’t very impressed with the food, but with the promotional prices, the food is really cheap! The pizzas and pastas are like 9 bucks each, and the main course 12 bucks. The soothing ambience with the inexpensive price means that you should visit Senso Bistro before the Singapore Flyer reopens. Talk about patriotism, and national pride.
You are always welcome to visit ladyironchef for a full-up on this trip. Whatever written herein are my genuine feelings expressed in words. Food, my dear, is what they call an adventure!
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