Unfortunately, the restaurant downstairs is not exactly a place that serves $10 pastas / pizzas.
Bakini is quite the opposite, a fancy Italian restaurant with an open kitchen. It is the kind of restaurant that you feel obliged to dress a little. With the dim lighting in the dining area and the spot lights towards the end where the kitchen is, the kitchen is where the show is. Unfortunately or fortunately, there is no Gordon Ramsay in the house and the small team operates quietly and efficiently.
The menu is not overly huge, a few pasta items, no pizzas sighted and a couple of meat dishes. After having a couple of beers with a old uni friend across at the Belgian Beer Garden, we skipped straight into the mains, a gnocchi with ragu, half a duck and a veal dish.
I was quite surprised that they served us an oyster as an amuse bouche. Quite generous of them.
After a failed attempt to make gnocchi a long time ago, I decided that I would order gnocchi in an Italian restaurant whenever I get the chance. This did not disappoint. Soft and fluffy, it matched well with the rich ragu, well simmered and reduced.
The Wife not detered by the fact that the dish said half a duck, ordered with confidence. It was technically half a duck, a duck breast and a duck leg. This is what happens when you don't have a copy of the menu with you, you can't remember what the dish was all about. Poor memory strikes me as I only had a bite and was happily drinking red wine that night too. I do remember it was really tasty but slightly over seasoned.
Our friend was checking out the pastry chef and decided to be cheeky by asking the waiter to get the pastry chef to whip up or decide a dessert for him. I decided to give the good old tiramisu a go. Maybe I should have been like him because he got a really good dessert, I remember praline, chocolate ganache, fruit pop rocks, etc. I got a really disproportionate portion of cream vs. soaked lady finger. The consolation was they served us another kind in a shot glass for us to compare and let them know which we preferred. The alternative was much better, a balanced proportion of cream, lady fingers, coffee and liquor.
Overall, despite being tipsy, we loved our meals. The service was good and attentive. I liked how I got to witness the cooking as well.
The place isn't overly crowded, having just opened for dinner. The only problem is I can't afford $50-$60 Italian meals on a frequent basis, if not, I will certainly be coming much more often.
Address and contact details:
Verdict: 4 stars out of 5 stars. It can't get more convenient than this. The next time friends want to catch up with us, we are certainly going to suggest this place, after all, it is just a lift ride down to the lobby.