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Buko Nero or Hole in Wall

I actually wrote up this post a while ago but I only managed to get the pictures today so here goes.

J and I went to Buko Nero for our 11th month anniversary. This is a hole-in-wall (that's what Buko Nero means literally, as I have found out) Italian-Asian fusion restaurant, discretely tucked away from public's attention. I still remember us walking pass the restaurant on our first occasion while trying to find it. I had chosen Buko Nero for our special day because I like non-pretentious restaurants and this was the ultimate. It is nothing like the fancy sort with fine and exquisite presentations or a long and varied wine list but it serves reliably good food prepared by a passionate Italian chef, Oscar, and served with pleasure by his Singaporean wife, Tracy. That sort of soft factors sell for me and really the main reason for me to re-visit any restaurant.

This time, I was tempted to order ala carte after reading a few reviews online about a few specialties, but ultimately, the value-for-money set dinner won me over. For just S$32, we had a 5-course dinner.

We started with a warm bucket of foccacia bread with tomato slices. The bread was soft and quite delicious, though the olive oil was not as flavourful as I would like. Then we had the amuse, which was a savoury cookie. I didn't eat that because I associate cookies with sweet and sweet for me, comes after a meal. Moving on, I'll just list down the components to our set dinner and brief comments.

1) parma ham with spinach and lemon dressing - ordinary, but in a good way.

2) classic white bean soup with stirfried crab meat - my favourite dish of the night (perhaps that's why I forgot to take a snapshot of it; I was busy slurping it down!) Served piping hot, just the way I like it, the thick white bean puree added another dimension to the texture and the seafood flavour was outstanding. Chunks of real crab meat were generously incorporated and specks of chopped spring onion added the Asian twist to the dish.

3) tropical fruit sherbet - this was a miss. Not only did the orangey sherbet lack any distinct flavour, it left a slight bitter aftertaste as well.

4) ragatoni with speck and spinach ragu - the thick tubes of pasta were the perfect vehicle, coated with the very flavourful (boosted with a generous dose of cheese) tomato-based sauce with sauteed onions, wilted spinach and speck (a type of ham, as Tracy explained).

5) white chocolate and hazelnut cake - this was average. Texture was rather light, like a genoise (with many air pockets, and sort of reminded me of an afternoon teacake instead of a really rich dessert). While it tasted good (can't really go wrong with sugar), there was a lack of white chocolate flavour.

Despite the misses, I still had a good time, especially knowing that I am supporting indepedent and passionate chefs instead of celebrity chefs who spend more time on publicity than actually in the kitchen. I'll be back in the hole soon.


Tym said…
Where exactly is this restaurant? You've definitely piqued my interest to try it.
galinusa said…
Hi Tym

Certainly. The address is:
Buko Nero
126 Tanjong Pagar Road

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