Baladucci Ristorante at Serendra in Bonifacio Global City looks pretty intimidating at first glance. The red brick façade, rustic wood-and-glass doors, and posh signage makes you have second thoughts of going in and sitting down for lunch or dinner. But when I paid Balducci a visit last year, courtesy of Zomato, I was surprised at how affordable everything actually was.
When passing by Serendra one afternoon, I stopped by to try Balducci’s Executive Lunch (Php 550) with Jericho, that came with your choice of soup or salad as well as your choice of entrée. The images were pretty enticing, so in we went to check out both starters and all three of the main dishes.
The façade looks quite poetic and a bit out of place with its old school charm, like a rustic Italian hole-in-the-wall transported right in the middle of the tropics. The staff were all courteous and attentive, although they were times when they’d disappear in the back room for way too long.
Lunch started with a basket of flatbread as well as as few spreads: butter, liver pâté, and diced tomatoes for bruschetta. The spreads were simple, and I always enjoy the liver pâté with a touch of butter in the mix, to make for a creamier, richer consistency.
Jericho opted to go with the Minestrone di Verdure with his lunch. The minestrone was very, very watery, and looked more like tomato water with a few pieces of steamed veg in the mix. This was fairly disappointing with the 80% water: 20% vegetable ratio.
My Caesar’s Salad fared a little bit better, as the portions looked a bigger than the soup, but this was also a let down with the store bought salad dressing and very dry parmesan cheese.
For the main entrée, Jericho went with the Polletto al Mattone con Penne al funghi, basically grilled chicken with mushroom pasta. The chicken was pretty alright and of a good portion size – seasoned with Italian herbs and pan-fried ’til a dark, burnished brown. The mushroom pasta was bland and boring, all it tasted of was cream, black pepper, and button mushrooms. I could’ve made something better at home.
I had the Trancia di pesce con Spaghetti al pomodoro, and was quite looking forward to it until I was served what looked like a small, dried out fillet of fried snapper, topped with dried tomatoes, olives, capers, and other chopped up vegetables to hide the minuscule portion of fish. The spaghetti was alright (albeit too wet), but could’ve done with a bit more basil and fresh Parmesan. Like Jericho, I was disappointed to say the least.
With the both of us unhappy with our choice of lunch, we split an order of the last main dish on the menu, the Involtini Manzo con Capellini Aglio Olio, which turned out to be the only thing worth ordering for the Executive Lunch set. Asparagus spears wrapped in thin slices of beef, covered with a mushroom gravy, and served with angel hair pasta drizzled with olive oil and garlic chips.
Ironically, the highlight of our lunch didn’t come from the Executive Lunch menu, but from the dessert menu of Balducci. The Tartufo al Cioccolato (P215) was absolutely heavenly! The rich Italian dark chocolate gelato embraced in a thin chocolate crust has hints of sweet orange with each bite, and lovely red cherry center surprise.
When you find yourself mucking around Serendra during lunch hours, approach Balducci’s Executive Lunch promo with caution. Personally, I prefer ordering off their regular menu, but if you’re looking for a quick bite to eat before heading back to the office, this is an okay option. Just don’t set your expectations too high.
Balducci Ristorante is located at Space C 104 C/F Retail Area, Serendra, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig and is open from 10am – 10pm daily. For inquiries or to reserve a table, please call +63 2 856 0676; +63 2 856 0865.