I felt honored and excited to be in for this very special treat, when I accepted an invitation from Zomato for a “Foodies Meetup” last week. We were supposedly dining at L’Opera Ristorante in The Fort Strip but later the venue has been moved to Balducci Ristorante in Serendra which is also owned and managed by the same group: The L’Opera Group.
Balducci reflects the passionate, humble and sociable attitude of Italians towards food. Food are cooked and delivered in traditional style through fresh, locally sourced ingredients and bold and simple flavors in a relaxed setting. Thus if you’re craving for authentic Italian (in particular, Tuscan) food right now, Balducci Ristorante makes an excellent bet. It has to be; to survive through the competition of restaurants piling in Bonifacio Global City is no easy task!
Review of Balducci Ristorante and Deli (Serendra, BGC)
True to the owners’ description, Balducci Ristorante & Deli is a more laid-back version of L’Opera Ristorante. While interior design in both restaurants have exquisite touches, Balducci is far more catered to casual dining. The first floor is occupied by a small deli counter fitted with a wide refrigerated display of cold cuts, salamis, parma hams and cheeses; a wine section; and the seats which I thought were really good and appropriate for family and friends reunion.
The second floor area has ample spaces for customers to be seated, and the ambiance here is more apt for privacy.
The place was packed on a Friday night but not in an overwhelming, can’t-hear-myself-think kind of way. The scene was in controlled chaos, thanks to the staff members who appeared to handle the stress of a full restaurant very well. I could imagine that getting a table on a weekend evening would be hard. So to anyone who’s planning to visit, I suggest calling ahead for a reservation and then booking your next one on your way out. 😛
Composed of staff who are eager to please, Balducci’s service team is first rate. In our experience, service level was excellent as they were very attentive to our needs. They managed to refill glasses of water fast and serve dishes without intruding our personal spaces.
Balducci treated us to a series of earthy Tuscan food seasoned with fresh vegetables and perfumed with herbs and spices. Overall, tastes were elaborate and distinct, and plating was clean and creative.
Right off the bat, the appetizer won bonus points from the olive oil mix, richness of the tomatoes and lettuce that went so well with the crisp, home made bread.
It was quickly followed by the Zuppa di Pomodoro con Sformatino de Ricotta, a classic Italian light tomato soup with ricotta cheesecake. The texture was rich and full. I liked it especially when eaten together with the real sliced tomatoes on the sides of the soup bowl.
For the main courses, we had three types of raviolis. And I dare say ravioli lovers will be in heaven with these freshly made ravioli options on the menu. I was worried that they would all taste the same, but my fears were unfounded. There’s a reason they had different fillings and all were so good. Each served on an understated plate and a piece good for one person, these pastas left us off the charts pleasantly full:
The Agnellotti al Salmone – Mezzaluna consisted of half moon raviolis in light cream sauce filled with salmon. I almost did not recognize that it was salmon because it was not fishy at all. These raviolis could not have been better.
The Cannelloni Della Casa, Ricotta e Spinaci consisted of cannelloni with ricotta cheese in bechamel sauce. Each pocket of spinach and cheese was nothing short of spectacular, nothing like an “average Italian food.”
The Tortelli d’ Anatra al Profumo di Tartufo consisted of duck-filled raviolis which were light and soft. Balducci did a good job of balancing the creamy base of the truffle sauce that complemented the filling rather than overpower. Same dish can be found in L’Opera Ristorante.
The main star arrived next, featuring a fit-for-a-king platter with French-cut rack of lamb, roasted pork chop, chicken, sausage and vegetables. Everything looked scrumptious, but I opted only to taste a tiny bit of the sausage and the vegetables. This ensemble of meat cannot be found on the menu as it is; each constitutes to one dish on the list and I’m not sure which one is which because I’m not familiar with Italian name dishes. Tip: It’s best to ask the knowledgeable staff when ordering.
For dessert, we split the Panettone con gelato, which was gelato on sweet bread loaf topped with walnuts and honey. It was sweet, delicate and gone all too soon! This sort of dessert doesn’t weigh you down. Perfect for the coming holiday season. 😀
Price for Value: ★★★★☆
It was a great night with a price tag to match. Balducci is an upscale restaurant so expect to pay high prices for quality food. Since most of the entrees are good for sharing, it’s best to come with a large group so you can get to try several dishes in one seating and share the bill fairly. Also, you won’t feel so bad and so alone in paying up entirely for the cost.
I recommend Balducci Ristorante & Deli, especially to people who are entertaining guests who have not been to BGC. To make room for budget, you can skip the movies and give this place your money. For sure, you won’t be disappointed. 😀
Operating hours: 11:30am – 11pm daily