An Italian Birthday Meal
Several weeks ago I enjoyed a wonderful tasting dinner with two food writer friends at a new Italian restaurant called Ristorante Da Valentino. It was a bit of a drive (to say the least), given that I was coming from the East Coast, but when we finally got to the neighbourhood trattoria in Jalan Bingka (off Rifle Range Road), it was almost like we had stepped into some quaint Italian town.
The restaurant is run by Chef Valentino Valtulina (formerly of Cantina) and his immediately family. Yes, that means mama, papa, brother-in-law and sister, plus a couple of delightfully knowledgeable waiters. Everything we had ate that night was simply fantastic and so on my birthday last week, when my partner C asked where I would like to be taken to dinner, I naturally chose Valentino's.
I was dying to taste the beautiful squid ink pasta with crab meat and cream sauce (it is chock-full of fresh crab meat and a lovely light sauce), and I really wanted C to try the pizza with parma ham and rocket (it was the best I had ever tasted). Chef V also managed to convince C to order a veal tenderloin and cream sauce dish which, as expected, was exquisitely delicious.
We eventually had to pack three-quarters of our pizza to go and though I didn't have much room for dessert, I ended up ordering these fantastic chocolate salamis to take home. The salamis come in either the disc shape shown in the picture, or sausage-like shapes as their names suggest. Indeed, they don't look like very much, but bite into their biscuity interior and you'll be gasping for more.
When I got home, I rifled through my cookbooks desperate to find a recipe for the chocolate salamis (even if it's not the same, some tweaking can be done later). I finally found one in A Cook's Tour Of Italy called Salame Di Cioccolata Con Salsa Allo Zabaglione, or Apollinare's Chocolate Roll with Zabaglione Sauce. I'm hoping to try it out next week when I get some time.