La Locanda’s celebrated chef Giancarlo Perbellini hails from Verona and a long line of chefs, cooks and bakers dating back to his great grandparents in the 1890s. He has brought with him authenticity and heritage of time-honoured recipes and elevated them to lofty heights with his modern interpretations.
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The restaurant itself is a joyous airy space with modern wooden décor and the obligatory open kitchen on which Dining Concepts pride themselves. In the evening, you can dine alfresco on the vast terrace, taking in spectacular harbour views.
To get a more well-rounded view of the fare on offer, we decided to come for the lunch buffet, of which there are a few choices. The lightest option is the Chef’s Buffet ($138). Freshly baked breads, vibrant crunchy salads, roasted vegetables, a wide range of mouth-watering prosciuttos and salamis followed by tempting desserts – antipasti at its incomparable best.
Depending on your appetite, you can go a step further with the Pasta & Buffet or Pizza & Buffet (both $168) or the Main Course & Buffet ($228). We decided to add to our buffet with a vegetarian pizza, crisp and thin from the wood-fire oven and topped with the joys of Italy; zucchini, eggplant and roasted tomatoes.
We also found the pasta too tempting. Spaghetti cacio e pepe (spaghetti with pecorino cheese cream and black pepper) and risotto zucca e zenzero (risotto with pumpkin and ginger) caught our eye but we were intrigued by the deconstructed spinach lasagne. Thick ribbons of green pasta beautifully interacted with the rich meat ragu and parmesan cream – truly spectacular, and a good insight into Chef Giancarlo’s clear vision for Italian cooking.
A buffet of desserts is also included so you must save room for these delectable delights. Trays of zabagliones, truffles and profiteroles all put a smile on our faces and we also tried the highly recommended Cassata Moderna. Wonderfully light pistachio sponge, ricotta foam and candied fruits – another deconstructed joy.
The buffet selections brilliantly showcased chef Giancarlo’s repertoire and Dining Concepts are on to a winner with this fine eatery. Next time, we’ll come back in the evening for a glance at the harbour, a glass of Chianti and the suckling pig.
MUST TRY DISH