Saveur Restaurant is fairly recognised in Singapore for serving inexpensive French food, with the flair and plating you would expect from a fine dining restaurant. People love Saveur because it offers cheap and decent food; and so came Concetto, the Saveur Group's second establishment with the same dining philosophy.
There's usually a trade-off with that philosophy though, either in quality or quantity. We've seen that in Saveur, where portions are so small the meal ends up pretty unsatisfying. Concetto seemed to fare better with larger servings; yet lesser is to be said of the quality.
Grilled Octopus Caesar Salad ($11.90++) - grilled octopus served with baby romaine, crispy bacon, shaved parmesan; tossed in anchovy dressing
"Grilled Octopus" reminded me of Spain whose Tapas bars usually dish up wonderfully spiced grilled octopus. Unfortunately this was nowhere as good as I imagined. The lettuce weren't fresh (photo editing made the yellow veggies look green), bacon would be more accurately described as fried lard, and the star of the dish was neither seasoned nor grilled well. The rubbery texture got overwhelmingly disgutsing after awhile, and we left the dish unfinished.
Buffalo Mozzarella ($8.90++) - marinated tomato concasse, parmesan shavings & buffalo mozzarella; served atop rye toasted bread
Bread was earthy and crisp, tomato concasse was flavourful, and the pickled onions added a nice tart touch to the dish. While the flavours and textures were commendable, the most important ingredient was yet another disappointment. The mozzarella was too dry and lacked any of that creaminess characteristic of the cheese. I'm not expecting the world for $8.90, but allowing the quality of the food to suffer for the sake of an expensive-sounding ingredient just doesn't rock my boat. Simple ricotta might have worked better.
Beef Oyster Blade ($15.90++) - beed shoulder blade; cooked for 36 hours; served with burnt onion, seasonal vegetables and fork mashed potatoes
For a beef dish with such superb presentation, the price is really friendly. Yet while tender, the beef was cold, not well seasoned, and didn't really taste like beef to me at all. Perhaps it is the colour and temperature, but it felt more like canned food. The burnt onion didn't help: I couldn't tell if it was a relish to add flavour, cause it tasted more like a tapenade which didn't do anything to up the dish at all. I loved the shaved shrooms which gave the dish a slightly different texture and flavour, and looked pretty damn cool. On the overall it was a decent main, but nothing worth mentioning.
Red Snapper ($13.90) - pan-seared red snapper fillet; served with pan-roasted cherry tomatoes, mashed cod & lemon-infused paprika jus
For me, this was the only dish that exemplified everything that the Saveur Group stands for: quality food at affordable price. The fish was wonderfully executed, perfectly cooked with a beautifully crisp skin. Even though the "lemon-infused paprika" was absent, the sauce was utterly delicious and a wonderful complement to the fish. Absolutely loved it.
The concept of affordable 'fine-dining' with all the big names and plating holds a lot of potential, especially in Singapore where food is so well appreciated. What Concetto has definitely nailed, is the presentation and plating. However, where flavours, tastes and expectations don't meet, Concetto fails to live up to its promise. Big words don't necessarily mean good food. And I believe Concetto should learn to use smaller words, simple but good ingredients, to create delicious food that actually sounds like what you've read on the menu.
Concetto by Saveur
2 Handy Road
Opens daily: 12.00pm - 9.30pm daily
(Last orders are at 9.15pm)