Once known as La Spiga, Violino's dishes put a contemporary spin on classic Italian cuisine, blending the flavours from the old and new worlds. The interior of the restaurant is very much reminiscent of La Spiga with minor detail changes in decor, and yellow and gold tone colour scheme. Along side the à la carte dinner menu, a 5 course menu for $48 per person.
To start, we ordered a half order of Antipasto Misto for $23. The 2 tier appetizer consisted of jumbo prawns, Atlantic smoked salmon, sugar glazed bay scallops, 3 selections of cured meats, Mediterranean vegetables and mixed olives. It went really well with the complementary rustic bread, which was baked to crisp on the outside and really soft on the inside. I was happy that the scallops and prawns were cooked well. The roast peppers were sweet and refreshing. The mushrooms were a bit heavy on the olive oil so I was almost full by the time I received the entree.
My friend ordered the Chef's Signature Costina di Manzo Brasato, slow braised boneless beef short ribs served atop risotto, accompanied by steamed carrots, asparagus, and sauteed cabbage. Although the mushroom risotto was creamy and well-cooked, she commented that it was a bit salty when pairing with the savoury braised short ribs.
After we stuffed ourselves to the brim, we took a look at the dessert menu. After peaking at the grand size of the Chef sampler for two for $12, we agreed to give it a try. The sampler came with four selections of desserts; Chocolate sponge cake, tiramisu, artisan gelato, fruit filled (crepe-like) frittelle, which was flamed at table side. The portion of each dessert was larger than an average sampler size, and it was great for sharing. The gelato was our favourite out of the four, followed by the fritelle and tiramisu.
I had a good impression of the restaurant upon my first visit. The service was great, the manager and our server were both very attentive and professional. We did enjoy the food and the portions they arrived in, and the price was very reasonable. However, there were some minor details that I noticed and may need some changes. I really didn't like having paper on top of the table. It's too convenient and took a lot away from the fine dining image. At times, mexican music would be playing, alternating with classical music. It didn't really suit the ambience of the Italian fine dining restaurant. Although it didn't blow me away, the overall experience was good,. Violino still offers a great value and I would be returning to try other exquisite offerings.