Saturday was a busy morning for me and the Hubby as per usual. It was morning punctuated with prepping the apartment for tonight’s geekery of gaming with friends and much needed grocery shopping for the week. Summer being the current season here has made doing anything outdoors impossible, at least for my husband and I.
We head out for a brunch at Serendra before we go grocery shopping and headed to this Italian restaurant that we’ve been noticing every time we pass by. Once inside, we notice Balducci’s interiors. It was dark and cool in a pleasant way and was actually far welcoming in the noon time heat. The vibe is all wine and dine classy place, with a deli at the side. The staff are attentive, and fairly knowledgeable of their menu.
We were served some complimentary warm bread with butter, liver pate and a tomato salsa type spread. It was a much step up than the usual barely warm foccacia bread with balsamic oil and vinegar dip in some places.
Our first order arrived which was an antipasti. We ordered the Insalata de Mare, a seafood salad. Unfortunately we forgot to take a picture of the dish, it was only when we were half way through with it when we realized I brought my camera with me.
Something to note about the service here is that it’s very top notch. They were attentive to the needs of the customers, the glass is made sure is always full with water, and the dishes arrived in a decent amount of time. Unlike most restaurants where they dump everything you order in your table in one go, and are now suddenly forced to scarf your soup, salad or whatever appetizer of your choice like an animal in vain hopes that your steak would still be warm by the time you’re done…which is always never the case. By now it’s grown colder than your ex’s little black heart and your meal has been turned into a cheap metaphor of broken relationships and Taylor Swift songs.
I was worried for a moment, since I have forgotten to request this from the server. But all my worries were unfounded as the staff was more than educated in serving food in sequential order (Service à la russe) so each dish came out at the temperature it was meant to be served in and are therefore presented at it’s best.
I was having a hankering for a spicy pasta but I was disappointed to see there wasn’t any on the menu. The waiter suggested that they could have Arrabiata cooked by the kitchen (whee! Off-the-menu dish!) or choose to make some of the pasta spicier. The Arrabiata was the better choice for me.
Balducci’s take on the Arrabiata has got to be my favorite so far. The spicy is a slow burn that doesn’t overwhelm the refreshing flavor of the tomatoes, basil, garlic. This dish is served with a small dish of chili flakes on the side if I wanted it a little hotter. But for my standards, the pasta didn’t need more heat. I was far too worried of the spice burning the rest of the dish’s flavors.
The serving is fairly good for one person. It might be too much if you made the mistake of gorging on the complimentary bread or having far too much antipasti.
The Husband ordered the Marccheroni e Salsicce al Profumo Tatufo. A fairly hearty mushroom pasta dish, using truffle oil (and I think it has some truffle slivers) with Italian sausage. It’s got a strong umami flavor to it.
The husband really loves it, and I don’t really blame him. The balance of the flavors is pretty amazing. I was half expecting for the truffle oil to overwhelm everything.
If my Arrabiata was a bright summer’s day in the gardens, this dish is a cool walk through the woods in a lovely afternoon.
I know, I sound corny but I’m no professional gourmand and this was the best I could give as a mental image for the two pastas we’ve tried. My verdict in the ends it that I would not mind ordering this dish for myself next time I visit.
We didn’t stay for dessert though. Opting to try Chez Karine for a change but unfortunately, all blood was at the tummy so I’ve forgotten to take photos….again (I’m also lazy and not really a big fan of photography).
Insalata de Mare was at Php 380
Spaghetti Arrabiata at Php 370
Marccheroni e Salsicce al Profumo Tatufo at Php 480
Balducci is located in Serendra, The Fort
~ ❤ ~
Update on the Scones!
As I mentioned in my earlier post, we were expecting guests arriving for our weekly table-top gaming meets. I was planning to show off my newly acquired baking skills. This time though, the scones came out much better than the first time. I made sure to only use enough of the milk and egg mixture on the dough and didn’t over knead it.
The husband liked this batch better, it was lighter and more crumbly like the scones we’ve had. The other boys were also happy with the scones and made short work of my lemon curd as well (and nutella jar, the two actually went well together too), and I’m more than happy to see that I 1/4 of the mixture is all that’s left.
After all, empty plates is a best compliment a chef or a baker can have. 😀
I can probably tuck away this recipe for future use. I’m a big fan of entertaining and this is perfect for serving for an afternoon tea with guests or something you and a kid can do too.