An Italian Feast at Balducci

Italian is my all-time favorite cuisine, so when Zomato invited me for another foodie meet-up -- this time at the upscale Balducci Ristorante in Serendra -- I immediately said yes. There’s a certain comfort that only Italian food can provide, especially the scrumptious, authentic kind, and true enough, Balducci’s food was of that kind ... and more.

I can’t believe I haven’t eaten in Balducci before—but then again, I don’t hang out in Serendra that much. Tucked on a corner alongside the quiet and cozy shops of Serendra, Balducci stands there with its rustic and slightly intimidating feel. Contrary to the air of exclusivity it exudes, Balducci is actually designed for cozy family-style dining and casual drinks with friends. With its wooden doors, brick façade and incandescent lighting, it reminds me so much of the interiors of Old Vine, my favorite restaurant in the Venice Piazza—before its sister resto Uncle Cheffy shooed it away, that is.

Balducci specializes in Tuscan cuisine and offers an authentic and traditional Italian way of dining—as is demonstrated by its wide selection of soups, antipasti, salads, pastas, pizzas, mains and desserts. Everything was beautifully plated, meticulously assembled, and fresh-looking. Were they delicious? I have yet to know.

We started our dinner with some of Balducci’s appetizers. We were first served baskets of Balducci’s foccacia bread, together with some butter, tomato salsa, and liver paté. Nothing special with the bread, but I liked the dips. These of course, were for free and unlimited! Love it!

Balducci has recently launched new items on their menu in order to keep up with what people like; Chef Paolo Nesi came back after spending a couple of years in Italy with loads of new culinary expertise. One of these new items is the Parmesan Cheese Basket: Parma ham, parmesan cheese, and fresh melon daintily assembled inside crispy cups (or baskets), along with some greens. I loved how my teeth would break through the crispy shell then slowly sink into the cheese! And look at the cute platter that looked like it was cut out of a jackfruit, I wanted to steal one! Haha!

Next came some bruschetta with varied toppings: sardines, ham, and tomatoes. Perfect appetizers for they are very light, creamy and yummy!

The Il Fritto del Balducci is a delicious medley of mozzarella balls, fried vegetables, and breaded anchovies. Another new product of Balducci, this starter was perfect with the tomato sauce that came with it, but I didn’t eat too much of these to prepare myself for more of the huge feast ahead! 

After consuming three types of appetizers, I couldn’t believe I was being served soup next. Not that I’m complaining—Balducci’s homemade tomato soup was awesome! The Zuppa di Pomodoro con Sformatino de Ricotta, another new creation by Chef Paolo, was a fresh and rich tomato soup with a delightful surprise: a ricotta cheesecake on the middle! I swear I was eating my soup ever so slowly—relishing each slurp, each swallow, savoring all the flavors and storing all memory of them into my gustatory nerves. I wanted to smash my bowl (plate, actually) when I saw it was already empty.

Just when I thought it couldn’t get any better, the server brought out our pasta dishes: four types of ravioli: spinach, mushroom, salmon, and duck. The spinach and mushroom ravioli were both very good, but it was the salmon variety, with its slight kick, that stole my attention.

Mushroom Ravioli (Tortelli ai Funghi) P410

Spinach Ravioli (Cannelloni Della Casa, Ricotta e Spinaci) P400
Salmon Ravioli (Agnellotti al Salmone - Mezzaluna) P450

The duck ravioli, on the other hand, is another story. The heavenly, what-the-fuck-is-this, I-swear-I-don’t-deserve-this, insanely awesome duck ravioli with truffle cream made me feel like I should be cleaning the chef’s nails and washing his feet with my tongue throughout his lifetime! Fuck! Make me your slave please! In exchange of daily supply of the duck ravioli!!!

Duck Ravioli (Tortelli d’ Anatra al Profumo di Tartufo)
Photo credit: Check out her review of Balducci here.
As I was digesting bits of duck via my esophagus, another server came and placed before us a platter consisting of grilled lamb, pork chops, sausages, and chicken. WTF, the main course had just arrived! The slabs of assorted meat loomed before me as if to say, Fuck you you’re not done yet! The vegetables on the side seemed like an afterthought.

Who am I to refuse such goodness? If this was how they ate in Italy every day, please transport me there—NOW! OMG, vegetarians are missing out three-quarters of their lives!

You think that was the end? No meal is complete without dessert, how dare you! We had this surprisingly light and delicate cake filled with chocolate gelato and topped with cherries and walnuts—I honestly didn’t know what it was called! When you dine in Balducci, just show them this picture, LOL! This gelato cake is certain to win the heart of any dessert lover.

To cap off everything (finally), we were served some red wine. After eating, I could’ve sworn I gained five pounds.

I was impressed with all the food we had. There was not a single thing I didn’t like; everything had its own unique taste. I was raving about Bellini’s when I first ate there and this comes close to being second best (I have yet to try Carpaccio though, they say it’s the best). The food was a bit on the expensive side but the price tag is commensurate to the quality, I would say. Also, they have huge servings perfect for sharing so I would suggest going in a big group—that way you can split the bill and try more dishes.

Maybe one day my siblings and mom would put an effort into traveling all the way to Taguig to eat at Balducci; if not I would take my close friends there for a long dinner and some drinks. The place also has that professional feel (perfect for meetings) and intimate ambience (dates), a brilliant idea when you want to impress!

Thanks to Zomato, I discovered the quaint beauty that is Balducci.

Balducci Ristorante
Space C, 104 C/F Retail Area, Serendra, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig City
(02) 856-0676
Instagram: @balducci_serendra
Menu: Click here

Any tips on other fabulous food to try at Balducci? Other Italian restaurants I should check out? Share your comments and suggestions below!

pepe samson

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