The meal started off badly. I'd made reservations mid-week for 3 persons indoors over the long weekend, but when we arrived, we were told that there was no such reservation. Only after I'd made noise (and a small scene) that they provided us a table (out on the terrace with the humidity, no less, so we were left sweating mid-way through the dinner). They may have served us spittle, and that may have contributed to the less-than-glowing review of the restaurant, but I didn't think I was wrong in insisting that they provide a table for us. Someone on their staff definitely screwed up. And I'm certainly not one to lie my way to get a table without reservations.
In general, the food was very ordinary, standard fare of almost every other Italian establishment in town. Service-wise, with the exception of our waiter not understanding the phrase "hold off the parsley", it was alright. Ambience was romantic, with candles and dim lighting for illumination, but the heat and humidity of the outdoors terrace deterred us from lingering, and ordering dessert. We just wanted to eat and run (not dine and dash). With such an illustrious history and judging from the number of dining awards garnered by the restaurant, the dining experience was a little underwhelming.
1) Beef Carpaccio ($22) - supposedly sprinkled with truffle oil, but I couldn't quite taste (or smell) any truffle essence. Otherwise, beef was fresh, moist and tender
2) Capesante e Gamberi ($26)- a pairing of pan-seared scallops topped with caviar atop a bed of onion confit and garlic tiger prawns perched on sundried tomato pesto and lemon butter - quite good. Scallops were succulent and sweet and prawns were huge and crunchy
3) Mozzarella di Bufala con Prosciutto ($24), buffalo mozzarella wrapped in Italian prosciutto - ratio of mozzarella to the silky ribbons of prosciutto was lower than I'd liked
4) Penne Sambuca e Gamberi ($26)-deshelled tiger prawns and sundried tomatoes tossed in a tomato cream sauce and then flamed with a shot of Italian sambuca - probably the best main
5) Risotto con Porco e Porcini ($28)- Italian arborio rice simmered in porcini and champignon mushrooms with white wine braised pork belly and a hint of truffle oil, didn't impress. I couldn't even smell the truffle oil and the addition of the porkbelly was simply one ingredient too many
6) Linguine Frutti di Mare ($32) flat pasta tossed in a medley of crayfish, squid, barramundi fillets, scallops, prawns and green-lipped New Zealand mussels in a zesty tomato chilli sauce - fresh seafood