Mummy’s Birthday: Pietrasanta, and Laurent’s Cafe and Chocolatier

This was not where I wanted to bring my mum initially. What I had in mind was Valentino, Osvaldos, and a few other Italian restaurants. But my mum specifically said she wanted to go to Valentino or Pietrasanta, or “the one at Portsdown road” as she calls it. As expected, Valentino is so darn popular that I couldn’t secure a booking 2 weeks before her birthday! And so Pietrasanta it was.
I must say that the Wessex Estate is a very nice place to hang around and chill at, especially at night. It added to the atmosphere and excitement, which was good I guess since that was pretty much the only exciting thing that evening.

We were first given this basket of homebaked goodness – warm focaccia bread. In fact this was probably one of the best things I’ve eaten there. That doesn’t speak well of the place eh?

Minestrone Soup

Seafood Soup

These soups are actually my favourite of the lot. The Seafood Soup was thick, hearty, and had extremely sweet cherry tomatoes popping out everywhere! Mmmm absolutely delightful! I seriously would make an awfully troublesome trip down here just for this bowl of Seafood Soup. Likewise, the Minestrone Soup was great. Really tender vegetables and flavourful broth, filled with carroty and celery-y goodness. We were all kinda shocked that it ain’t tomato based though! So I was thinking, this might be the authentic Tuscany version of the minestrone!

What’s that I hear you ask? Burrata cheese. Yerp an entire huge blob of burrata cheese. Which was seriously just too creamy for our taste. Oh and too huge. It came with a pathetic plate of arugula salad, and a few slices of proscuitto. SERIOUSLY. Like 6 slices. For such a freaking big ball of cheese. Everything pretty much went downhill from here.

Grilled Portebello Mushrooms with Minced Pork (I think)

According to the waiter in charge of our table, this was the special appetizer of the day. Well I don’t see what’s so special about it. There was ONE mushroom, the size of my palm, and it was so overgrilled I felt like I was eating baby porridge. The what-I-remember-was minced pork on it just tasted horrid, because it was so mushy. It added neither texture nor flavour to the already horrid mushrooms, so I don’t see the purpose of it. Oh wait, it’s probably there so they can peg another $10 to it.

Grilled Cod Fish served with Tomatoes, Cannellini Beans and Onion Salad

Seriously? Onion Salad? My degree-less eyes beg to differ. If those 3 teeny slices of caramelised onions count as a salad to you, I’ve seriously nothing to say. Cannellini beans were ok, tasted like bigger baked beans without the overdose of ketchup. To be fair, the cod wasn’t all that bad. The grill marks ain’t there for show, cause I could taste the charcoal-ish burnt bits. That, is commendable. However I have no idea how the skin of the cod manage to remain soft and oily. When you grill the skin of a fish, especially one with lots of oil like the cod, it will friggin crisp up! So why is it so soft and soggy? That ruined it for me cause the crisp sear was just lost. For $28.90, BEFORE taxes, this dish was definitely not worth it.

Sea Bass

This, I don’t even want to talk about. When we were ordering, I asked the dude for his recommendation. Did he think this dish was better, or another fish on the menu? And he said this after thinking for quite some time. So I was thinking, is it possible that he was trying to recall the prices of the two dishes, then make a comparison and recommend the more expensive one? Me thinks yes. Because this dish is definitely NOT something ANYONE would recommend. And it’s the more expensive out of the two dishes. It costs more than the cod. Go figure. First, the plating sucks. One of the rules of good plating is to never leave your plate this empty and white, unless for a special effect/reason. For a plate this big, you’d expect a bigger fish. But no, this sea bass was so small I could finish it in 3 bites. Literally. And it was overcooked. That reddy thing on top; what is that? It tasted like some canned San Marzano tomato paste with a dash of pepper and dried basil!!!!!

The twins’ Homemade Pasta with Tomato Sauce. Not even worthy of a meh. This is like something I could whip up at home with some pappardelle and Prego. The noodles were overcooked btw.

We also shared a Calzone (folded pizza), but the pictures suck so I’m not posting them. It wasn’t anything fantastic anyway, though not nearly as disastrous as the other dishes. What I didn’t like was that the pizza crust was slightly oily, too thick and dense, and it didn’t have that cornmeal coat that I love. Sigh…epic fail.

I was still partially excited even after the horrid dinner, cause Laurent’s was just around the corner! I’ve been hearing great stuff about them, like great souffles, awesome molten chocolate cake, so I was looking forward to a stunning and mindblowing dessert.

Hot Chocolate

I gotta say I love how they put the hot chocolate in this french press! Haha I thought it was soooo interesting!

Molten Chocolate Cake

Look at this picture and feel my wrath. Like omg someone finally got it right! There’s actually chocolate flowing out from the inside! Here comes the catch: it’s not hot. It’s NOT hot. WHY CAN’T THEY GET THIS DESSERT RIGHT?! If I *highlights bolds italicises* can make a molten chocolate cake that’s fudgy, leaky, and steaming hot, why can’t a chocolatier? ARGH. And really, just putting a raspberry there ain’t very impressive. It makes you seem kinda amateur in fact.

Chocolate Souffle with Raspberry Sorbet

Impressive-looking souffle, perfectly risen, and my first though was: why is it so shiny? Taste-wise it was pretty good. There was a strong cocoa taste which was really special cause I’ve never tasted a dark chocolate souffle. It was really chocolatey, yet not too sweet! However the texture was really weird. It was super dry, and the texture kinda reminds me of a unsweetened cocoa spammed cake. I believe they might have over baked the souffle or over-whipped/over-folded the whites. Could definitely do with some improvement.

In the end, I guess I was just really annoyed, or extremely disturbed, that the souffle didn’t sink!!! IT’S NOT NATURAL! Like even when we were about to finish the souffle, IT HADN’T START TO SINK. Omg what kind of souffle is this?!

Apple Tart

Fail. Seriously fail. Too much apple, too little of the tart. And the apples were just way too sweet.

Left to right, top to bottom: Array of desserts, Raspberry Cheesecake, Lemon Curd Tart, Homemade Jams

Even though the desserts we’ve tried that day were totally not up to par, I thought that the raspberry cheesecake and lemon tart looked really appealing. Their extensive list of souffles look really interesting too, with unique flavours like pistachio, lemon, and ohsomany that I can’t remember! So I’d probably return to Laurent’s, only so that I can try their other stuffs.

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