Italian lovers who have come to know the authentic bill of fare of Solaire Resort and Casino’s fine dining gem, Finestra, travel far and wide for the infinitely gratifying experience. Come July 10, we can look forward to a number of stellar newcomers to the menu being that the recently appointed executive chef, Alan Marchetti, has been working tirelessly for some months to update it.
Marchetti, who grew up on a farm in Castelli Romani just outside of Rome certainly appreciates those classic extended Italian family gatherings and is deeply versed in gioie della tavola, or the “joys of the table.” Applying such family-oriented traditions to his chef d’oevre. such celebrated elements of Italian culture and cookery have trickled down to the revamped Finestra pitch.
The young chef has created and introduced gueridon service-style dishes that are good to share such as the requisite Caesar Salad, Prime Tenderloin, Steak Tartar and Baked Alaska. Rendering an air of sophistication, gueridon service is not only ideal for staging and exacting the serving of temperature-sensitive dishes but turns the experience into entertainment for diners, too.
While the well-appointed and very plush Finestra continues to attract the likes of business bigwigs, casino high rollers and couples on romantic date nights, “The new menu is also geared toward big family dinners and celebrations,” says Joy Wassmer, Solaire’s Director of PR & Communications.
Browse through the exquisite dining experience below:
Carpaccio ‘Al Coltello
To start with, Marchetti brings out four outstanding appetisers. The Carpaccio ‘Al Coltello (US prime beef fillet served on arugula, pickled mushrooms and lemon vinaigrette). The smattering of parmesan shavings atop the thinly sliced Carpaccio gave the salad a nice nutty and gritty texture.
His Caesar Salad features a couple of superb ingredients that tip the scales on the typical; the large vinegary anchovies (here you get the whole nine yards rather than just the dressing’s salty essence) and the gooey yolk from the perfectly cooked soft boiled egg, rendering a nice dimension to that classic Caesar texture we all know. The dressing was neither too garlicky nor overly creamy and the generous sprinkling of deep fried bresaola (thin strips of air-dried salted beef) was a nice finishing touch.
Alaskan Crab Cakes
Traditional Italian recipes rejoice in fresh fruits de mer and Marchetti’s notwithstanding. His seafood starters have a lot of playroom when it comes to diner preferences; one (the Alaskan crab cakes) could be a meal in itself while the other (the classic prawn cocktail) is a wonderfully light dish that serves to whet the appetite in preparation for heftier carb dishes that Italian cuisine is known for. The succulent broiled flesh of the crab (which just fell apart at the touch of a knife) enveloped in a light bread crumb batter was fried to a faultless golden brown. Make sure to squeeze fresh lemon juice all over and don’t be shy with the herbed garlic butter.
Classic Prawn Cocktail
The juicy tiger prawns, meanwhile, are flown in fresh for shellfish lovers who will absolutely relish dipping them into the chef’s very own special cocktail sauce or fresh horseradish whip.
USDA Prime Tenderloin
Giving the city’s more popular steakhouses a run for their money – and onto the main courses – is Finestra’s USDA prime tenderloin, which is bound to be a family favourite. Marchetti grated fresh horseradish on the succulent medium rare slabs, “so as to not overpower the meat,” he points out. A spate of condiments and sauces are rolled out to accompany the steak; a fabulous option is certainly the homemade horseradish cream prepared fresh everyday, which, Marchetti explains “is more “feminine” on the palate.
Other sauces can be more “aggressive,” taking away from the flavours of the meat.” This is served with a colourful array of steamed vegetables such as heirloom purple cauliflower and mini plum tomatoes and truffle mashed potato.
Chilean Sea Bass Al Cartoccio
Harmonious on the plate was the beautiful “fall apart” fatty white flesh of the Chilean sea bass al cartoccio with the starchiness of the beans. Cooked in parchment paper to retain the moisture and beautiful fragrant symphony of roasted garlic, lemon, and thyme. It must be mentioned that most herbs are plucked fresh from Solaire’s herb garden just a stone toss away from Finestra.
Organic Spring Chicken Cacciatore
The aromatic rustic flavours of the olives, thyme and rosemary that go into the Organic Spring Chicken Cacciatore make this traditional Roman dish a fragrant treat. Pan-roasted skin-side, and then cooked sous vide for two hours, the young flesh is bursting with flavour and tantalisingly tender.
Agnolotti Tartufo Carbonara
The intense rich flavours of the Agnolotti Tartufo Carbonara, however, make this stunning dish worth coming back for time and time again. There is literally zero diminishing value here as every succeeding mouthful of the black truffle-riddled handmade pasta parcels stuffed with a rich and creamy carbonara sauce is as good – possibly even better – than the last.
Finestra Grand Dessert
Solaire’s executive pastry chef Roberto Molleman put on an extraordinary show and whipped up almost every sweet confection there is to be had on the menu for every kind of sweet tooth there is out there.
Molleman’s inimitable chocolate delight that hits the sweet spot is his pièce de résistance – the Finestra Grand Dessert – an exquisite chocolate dome that houses a cocoa ganache cake with caramelised banana and salted caramel popcorn for a complex and multi-layered texture.
If you want something more traditional, the ricotta-filled chocolate-brushed Cannoli served with a fresh cherry honey is a must-try. The chocolate hard shell of the cannoli finds a great foil in the candied orange and lemon zest bits on the ends. Dangerously delicious is Finestra’s non-traditional Tiramisu, piled high in an Eton Mess-esque way. “I didn’t use gelatine, which holds it together, and piled [the ingredients] for a more “rustic” look,” explains Molleman.
The Amalfi Lemon is such a pretty dessert comprising a number of sweet treats on one citrusy-inspired platter such as lemon meringue, lemon cremeux, almond sponge and a refreshing homemade limoncello sorbet.
The Baked Cheesecake, however, is the true testament to Molleman’s talent as so many don’t get this crowd pleaser right. Fluffy with just the right base to creamy filling ratio, denying a second helping of this luscious dessert with a dollop of vanilla ice cream and fresh strawberries is an absolute sin.
The Finestra experience is incomplete without Marchetti’s divine homemade Limoncello. Do not leave without sampling this special lemon liqueur.
*Finestra is only open for dinner. For more inquiries, you may visit their website: www.solaireresort.com.