Parco Caffè is one of those unique off-the-beaten-track dining destinations that marketers should check out for private or corporate event options. Located in the much forgotten Raeburn Park (site of old Gan Eng Seng School) just behind the former Tanjong Pagar Railway Station, this charming restaurant is almost impossible to get to without a car. But its inaccessibility also gave the restaurant a level of exclusivity and makes it a wonderful retreat from the hustle and bustle of city life.
Parco which means Park in Italian is clearly the central theme of the restaurant. Its space featured lush green foliage and 3 indoor al-fresco areas, inviting diners to luxuriate in an “outdoor” experience with indoor comfort.
It's not hard to imagine yourself dining in a garden on a beautiful sunny day within the restaurant's glass-roofed central courtyard. The courtyard can be reserved for private or corporate functions.
Under the helm of award winning Italian Chef Antonio and Chef Jet's extensive experience in traditional and modern Asian cuisine, this west meets east restaurant offers an extensive menu that serves both authentic Italian cuisine and Asian delights such as Claypot Bak Kut Teh and Seafood Laksa. Sounds so yummy!
Given that we were on a short weekday lunch, we decided to go for its 'economical' 2 course set lunch ($24.80). Once our orders were taken, fried crispy dough sticks were served in place of the usual bread. They were absolutely irresistible. In fact, we indulged in a 2nd helping ...
We started our 2 course lunch set with Carpaccio di Salmone (S$16). Raw Norwegian Salmon Carpaccio was presented in a refreshing burst of colours with fennel, orange and grapefruit and sprinkled with champagne dressing. The vibrant display of fresh salmon accompanied by its zesty ingredients made this an unforgettable dish. However, I did stumble upon a reasonable sized fish bone which was rather disturbing.
I preferred my colleague's Parco Parmigiana (S$16) over my salmon appetizer. The generous helping of eggplant complemented by mozzarella cheese and tomatoes with Basil Pesto Genovese was a winning combination.
My Cannelloni al Forno (S$25) was the first main to arrive. The bright cheerful colours of tomato-bechamel sauce splashed all over the baked pork filled cannelloni. Cheese lovers will definitely adore this dish.
Although Cosciotti de Pollo (S$25) literally paled in comparison with my flamboyant Cannelloni al Forno, this modest looking roasted chicken leg was nothing to sniff at. Stuffed with parma ham and fontina cheese, the tender-moist chicken was surprisingly flavoursome. The de-boned chicken leg was served with mashed potatoes.
I am so glad that I did not order Pescato del Giorno (S$25). Not that the sole fish tasted horrible but my stomach will not be satisfied with such an itsy bitsy serving.
We ordered 2 desserts to wash down our mains. Parco Caffe Tiramisu (S$10) failed to impress. The taste and texture was fairly ordinary and base was overly soggy.
Parco Caffe Chocolate Lava served with Vanilla Gelato (s$10) was really average for the price we paid. Yawn....
Parco Caffe's main selling point is very much its dining concept. It has its fair share of hits and misses when it comes to the mains and desserts.
For customers to make repeat visits, it takes more than just a dining concept to attract them. The food should also be value-for-money, delicious and served within a reasonable duration. If this restaurant could take a leaf from the Cheaper, Better, Faster strategy, I think more customers would find it worth their time to make the trip here, not just for a unique ambience but the satisfying experience of getting their money’s worth of fusion fare.
The restaurant management should also look into why the food did not live up to expectations, as the menu was developed by award winning chefs. If this issue stems from kitchen staff not being motivated enough to do their best and not experienced enough to prepare food to an expected quality and taste, then the management should find ways to make their staff’s jobs more purposeful and train the staff to improve their skills. Valuing the staff would improve the product and service offering, and this would make the entire dining experience more attractive to customers.
Here's the full detail of the restaurant:
Address: 10 Raeburn Park, Block A #01-28 (off Spottiswoode Park)
Operating Hours: 11.30am – 11.00pm Daily, 9.00am - 11.00pm (Public Holidays)
Tel: 6223 6338
Fan Page: www.facebook.com/ParcoCaffe
Wi-fi is available. Complimentary parking is available with minimum spend of $25.
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