March 1, 2012

Happy birthday Aunty Sarda & happy anniversary to us!

Today was our 9th wedding anniversary but we postponed our ‘romantic’ dinner for two to celebrate Aunty Sarda’s 73rd birthday instead. She’s moving out this weekend and we won’t get to see her as often so we had a family dinner ‘bawah blok’ as Swana calls it.

The kids had no school today because they opted out of an excursion to the Jacob Ballas garden and in honour of my anniversary, I wore a new Dorothy Perkins dress that I couldn't resist last month.

A restaurant called Parco Caffe opened in Raeburn Park in January, literally a stone’s throw from our house as we are the closest block to it. We had contemplated holding Nat’s birthday party there, but decided against it as the package wasn’t attractive enough.

But we’ve been meaning to check it out and today was the perfect opportunity, before it gets too popular. They were featured in the papers recently about their garden interior so I think people will take notice soon. They are managed by the LHN Group who also have Spruce and Alkaff Mansion under their belt.

Sham and Aunty Malar joined us and our party of 10 adults and 3 kids spent about $326 including tax and service charge, which I found to be quite reasonable considering the lovely setting, decent food and attentive service.

We shared a margherita pizza and calamari for starters, at $13 the calamari was a good portion and the 12” pizza was thin and crispy. At $14, I can tapau anytime I have a pizza craving in future.

Their menu is a mix of Italian and Asian, and there is some variation between the lunch and dinner menu in terms of dishes, prices and portions. But for dinner, pastas were below $20 and seafood/meat main courses ranged between $24-36. The Asian options were all below $20. For lunch, the mains and Asian dishes are between $9-18. I guess being located in an industrial building, they have a duty to provide inexpensive food to the tenants.

I had the grilled seabass, the portions are not very huge but I think just nice if you decide to have 3 courses. Pops had salmon, Aunty Sarda the cod, Mummy the lamb, Swana a vongole, Lita had braised pork belly, Wendy a carbonara, Nick the bolognaise, the Baskarans had a pizza each.

I think the pizzas are good with generous toppings, the bolognaise was not too bad but a tad salty, pastas can afford to be more al dente, the cod was good, my fish was a little fishy where the skin rested but presentation was pretty and everyone enjoyed themselves. I hear their chicken rice is nice, so I can’t wait to try that, but it’s served for lunch only.

The captain (at least I think he was a captain) Balan was very friendly and obliging, I mentioned we were celebrating a birthday when I made the reservation, and he promised a complimentary tiramisu for the birthday girl.

Also, he and Nick bantered over the bolognaise standards, Nick wanted to know if it was meaty and Balan said it was the ‘power’ kind! Oh, and when Gigi left behind her water bottle, he called me back to report it. It was nice to have been served by locals when every other restaurant you go to these days seems to be inundated with foreign workers.

Just as we paid the bill, Balan brought out the promised tiramisu with a birthday greeting and candle. Nat and Gigi dominated the cake blowing and when we got home, we had another round of candle-blowing and cake cutting for the kids. Birthday celebrations these days are just for their benefit!

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