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Day trip to bellisimo Merano.

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Homemade tagliatelle w/ chanterelle

The weather forecast didn’t promise a day too exciting, so we decided to take an extra trip down south to Merano through something, that seemed like one single and endless apple plantation. I have never seen apples in such amounts ever in my life. Traffic was comparably tame and so it took us just a little over one hour to reach our destination.

Merano is an appealing little town with hidden alleyways, blemished shop fronts, beautiful old buildings and some pretty street art. Strolling through the road-web of the central old town scouting for food we stopped at one of the rather touristy spots for a sitdown lunch and people watching. While M. went for the lasagna, I had the handmade tagliatelle with chanterelle. The pasta was actually kind of a hybrid between Italian tagliatelle and western flat noodles, thick and the ideal vessel to carry as much of that glazy and buttery sauce as possible. The chanterelle were great too, even though I’d prefer the smaller ones compared to the massive mushrooms on my plate. It’s a texture thing.

Even that my dish of choice turned out to be rather nice, I just felt like I had missed my chance on some truly Italian pasta as this was more noodlelike. Makes sense? Anywho, that is me always looking at the greener grass on the other side but honestly, it was a good place. Touristy? Sure, but with great and personal service, some people watching potential and tasty food to go with it.

Get Your Grub On!

Ristorante Hasen Jos
Via Portici 204
39012 Merano BZ
Italy
p: +39 0473 232599
http://hasenjos.com

 

 

Pizza halfsies.

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Pizza Margherita

The second day in South Tyrol and we took the recreational activities down a nudge, from hiking 20k to simply driving around the area and lying at the lake’s shore enjoying the sun before the clouds started rolling into the valley. It was food o’clock and by chance, we found ourselves back at San Valentino exactly like the day before.

We left Franco’s behind this time and moved a block up north to Hotel Lamm where there still were some free seats on the sunkissed terrace. Not having done much moving our appetite wasn’t as massive to we went splitcies on a Margherita. The pizza wasn’t spectacular but pretty good, light char marks on the outer crust and fruity soggy in the centre, just a tad too cheesy which slightly overshadowed the otherwise great sugo.

We also had some apple strudel with vanilla sauce for dessert which was okay but didn’t quite knock me off my socks, but hey that’s maybe a bit much to ask for.  All in all another nice place to grab a snack in the sun with very personal and friendly service as it seems to be common around these waters. I like it.

Get Your Grub On!

Hotel Lamm
Hauptstrasse 67
39027 San Valentino Alla Muta BZ (Südtirol / South Tyrol)
Italy
p: + 39 0473 634641
http://www.hotel-lamm.it/

How bad can it be?

dsc02100-02-01.jpegSpending most of our first day here orbiting Lake Resia at an elevated level and visiting the local sights like the famous sunken church tower of the old town of Curon (Campanile di Curon Venosta Vecchia). About halfway, we passed the small village of San Valentino just as our bellies started growling for food. Everything seemed to be closed for the break between lunch and dinner service except one little unassuming café at the side of the main road. It didn’t look too appealing at first with its simple interior and the standup menus with semi-great photographs of their dishes.

But since we slowly were getting hangry and with limited options, we didn’t mess around any longer and just went for some pasta. I mean how bad could it be, we were in Italy after all, and actually, this was amazing. In just a little over 5 minutes, we were presented with a delicious portion of tagliatelle con ragù. It seemed such a simple dish, but in one of its best possible version, an honest plate of homemade pasta as if mama was standing in the back kitchen cooking it up herself. Thanks to Franco and his crew for a surprising and more than tasty lunch. Fantastico.

Get Your Grub On!

Café Franco
Vittorio Veneto 58
39027 Curon Venosta BZ (Südtirol / South Tyrol)
Italy

 

 

36hrs in Food Paradise – Hour 4, Reds

DSC01835-01I felt very happy with my belly full of ramen noodles from Naniwa‘s and since the night was still young we headed further into district 1 to Pempelfort for some dessert options and wine. We ended up at this cozily lit wine bistro and I followed my chocolate craving and ordered the tartufo accompanied by a heavy Italian Primitivo.

That ice cream was rich but not too decadent and a thorough balance between sweet and tard, with dark chocolate powder and roasted nuts sprinkled all over. The rustic wine went quite well with it all and seemed like a nice finish to a great start to my Düsseldorf stay. Or so I thought.

Just as we were about to finish our glasses the owner approached us and asked if we would mind one of his suppliers and wine makers to show us a couple of his creations. Oh no we didn’t and so we were introduced to a nice range of reds from Spain and France by Bjoern the friendly wine guy, had a nice conversation and shared our unqualified views about those tasty grape juices. Thanks so much for an unexpected turn of events and an additional hour of laughs and drinks.

Get Your Wine On!

D-Weinbar
Moltkestraße 120
40479 Düsseldorf
Germany
p: +49 211 5150 7979
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Premium inside?

IMG-20170705-WA0006-01One of my food loving co-workers recommended to check-out this place in Haslach. To be honest, I was a bit hesitant at first as using the word ‘premium’ in your shop’s name often implies quite the opposite, but a good recommendation outweighs such reservations any day so we had a plan. It was a bit tricky to find, sitting on the second floor of a car rental and dealership.

This place has a nice bright interior with a big bar functioning as the centerpiece of the inside restaurant and the breezy terrace offers the best seats for a summer dinner.

When I come to an Italian restaurant like this for my first visit and feel like pizza, most times I do get a Margherita for two main reasons; for one it’s my favorite pizza of all times and second, it’s actually quite hard to make a really exciting one and it can reveal the true skills of a pizza chef. This Margherita (EUR7.00) was truly one of the better ones I have had here in Freiburg. Even though I’d prefer mine with leopard-crust, fruity with mozzarella islands and almost soggy in the middle this one’s paper thin and crisp dough and the focus on simple flavors did the job just fine and will find many fans under the crisp-crust-lovers-community. One more thing to add here was that they served some fabulous and pungent Italian chili in oil to pimp my pizza and I almost finished that little jar of fierce goodness myself.IMG-20170705-WA0001-01 We also had their homemade salmon and ricotta ravioli and these were just delicious; an intensely flavorful salmon filling wrapped in thick and chewy pasta dough, covered with a sticky tomato gravy that accompanied but didn’t overpower the aromas of the filling. Nice one.

I liked this place. Except for the uninspiring mixed salad (EUR5.00) at the start, which I would give a miss next time the food was tasty and satisfying, service was friendly and the ambiance on the terrace great for a chill after-work dinner if don’t mind a commercial surrounding. Grazie mille.

Get Your Grub On!

Premium Restaurant Pizzeria Pinocchio
St-Georgener-Straße 10
79111 Freiburg im Breisgau
Germany
p: +49 761 445617
https://www.premium-pinocchio.de

Klein aber fein.

imageMany people had recommended this place and tonight one of my pals organized a table for a whole bunch of our friends just to cancel on us like 20 minutes before. We took it lightly and concentrated on the menu choosing a couple of starters like the cold cut platter above with some awesome Prosciutto San Daniele with Pickled Pears that worked beautifully together. We also had some Parma Ham and my favorite Black Pork Capocollo, perfectly seasoned and salty cured meat. Contrasting this a little we also ordered some fruity and creamy Cherry Tomato & Avocado Buschetta that were pleasantly spicy.

imageMoving on to something meaty we had the Iberico Pork Belly which was quick seared to crisp perfection. Unfortunately the fatty parts were rather hard ish chunky and came across a bit too greasy so I was pretty much over it after one piece.

imageSince their pasta dishes are rather primi piatti sized we ordered one each and shared. I chose the Paccheri, Iberico Pork & Truffle. I loved how the ultimately fat flat noodles were arranged in some sort of basket shape keeping the fluffy mix of cream sauce and pulled pork inside. Great taste with the truffles not being too strong but the sauce was just so rich and stuffing that I couldn’t eat too much of it.

imageMy absolute winner was the crazy good Sea Urchin Spaghetti Carbonara. Even though very rich as well somehow it was just right and the uni, undeniably the main character, was not too overwhelming and therefore extremely enjoyable to eat. Maybe just the pasta could have hopped out the boiling water half a minute earlier but that aside, this was some truly great stuff.

To close we had a variety of cheeses and dried fruits. I’m pretty new to non-melted cheese, that isn’t on a pizza or a sandwich but I’m slowly getting used to the consistency and starting to appreciate the stronger flavors. I didn’t dare to touch the blue cheese yet but all others, which name’s I have forgotten were actually pretty good.

&Sons is a nice and hip place in a bustling neighborhood surrounded by a lot of busy restaurants and bars filled by the afterwork crowds from the business district. The waiters were actually pretty funny and the food delicious so what else do you need? I for one will come back for seconds of that fantastic Uni Carbonara soon.

@Sons (Bacaro)
20 Cross Street
#01-19 China Square Central
Singapore 048422
Tel: +65 6221 3937
http://sons.com.sg/

Too much “Winterspeck”.

imageWe had a birthday dinner for a good friend and his little family and met all at Culina on Dempsey Hill, a nice bistro restaurant with a more kid friendly like setting.

We began our meal with a couple of starters like the Charcuterie Tasting Plate, which was pretty great. Especially the air dried meat and the rillete were perfect and even the weird looking cured duck breast tasted brilliant. We also had the Crab Cakes, that even though small were almost entirely made of crab meat without any starchy fillers and came with a delicious mustard tartar aside to be dipped in. Yum. Unfortunately the rest of the meal didn’t continue as convincing as the Burrata was miniature sized and the Fried Squid just had way too much oily batter on it and overall wasn’t really pleasant to eat.

imageAs main I had the $42 Rhug Estate Organic Pork, which I was looking forward to a lot. Taste wise the meat itself was actually quite good, soft and hearty but with that fancy name and for that price it was just not up there and way too tiny. Since it was advertised as loin I had hoped for a nicely lean piece of meat but on top of the smallish cut of pork was a rather huge layer of pure uneatable fat. Pretty disappointing that one was and the gooey cream sauce additionally made me feel uncomfortably stuffy.

So this was a rather unfortunate ending to a promising start. Don’t get me wrong, Culina in general is a nice place with in- and outside seating and you can also fill up your shopping cart with some goodies from their deli on your way out but if you should decide to go for a meal at their bistro, maybe it’s not such a bad idea to follow our birthday boy’s choice and go for the steak cuts. They had in fact quite a hefty price tag but therefore looked pretty awesome and apparently also tasted accordingly.

Culina Dempsey
Block 8 Dempsey Road
#01-13 Dempsey Hill
Singapore 247696
Tel: +65 6474 7338
http://www.culina.com.sg/

Even dough…

imageI had recognised that the former seafood restaurant on the corner of River Valley and Zion Road had recently transformed into a pizza joint and today when I was on my way back from Tiong Bahru I stopped by to check it out. The concept here makes a lot sense for peak times with big crowds, they prepare some huge pies with the same tomato and cheese base and when ordered simply add the wished toppings and toss it back into the oven for a minute or two and there you go.

I ordered two different slices – ‘Cheese‘ and ‘Salami‘ – and five minutes later had them at my table. Since they serve New York style pizza I wasn’t expecting a super thin Italian crust but actually quite liked how it turned out, thinner than usual with a crisp bottom and not overly stacked with unnecessary toppings. I absolutely loved their sweet tomato sugo and wished that there would’ve been more of it but nevertheless just this alone made it a proper pizza for me. I particularly liked the peppery salami they used here and also the cheese tasted pretty good however I didn’t find it gooey enough and wished they would’ve left it in the heat a lil longer.

All in all Tony’s wasn’t half bad and from all I can tell they do a decent take on a NY pizza, not too overloaded with cheese and toppings yet unfortunately underloaded with that delicious tomato sugo. I will come back here for a quick slice anytime, ignoring the non-existence of any motorbike parking close by and simply refrain from using the bathroom.

Tony’s Pizza
397 River Valley Road
Singapore 248292
Tel: +65 65 677 PIZZA (74992)
http://tonyspizza.sg/ 

Wafu Bolo.

imageI don’t very often write about big chain restaurants as I most of the time don’t think too much of their food, not enough to write about them anyway. One exception is the ‘Spaghetti alla Bolognese‘ from ‘Pasta de Waraku’ which I throw in once in a while, like today at our pit stop at Changi Airport. The pasta as always came out a tiny bit too soft but was still very enjoyable  and plenty and the Bolognese sauce was rich and meaty and had this particular sweetish taste that I liked a lot. I regretted a bit not to have tried it with the egg yolk but there’s always next time. They also gave us a tiny salad to start with which wouldn’t have been anything special if it weren’t for that awesome wafu dressing they drizzled over it so that I actually wished it could’ve been bigger. Setting and service is rather unmentionable, it’s just simple, no fuzz, good.

Pasta de Waraku
60 Airport Boulevard
Changi Airport T2
Level 3, #036-057
Singapore 819643
Tel: +65 5439 940
http://www.waraku.sg/

Finally some heat.

imageAfter a couple of days on Trawangan we figured it’s quite tough to get real Indonesian food down here – maybe apart from the nightmarket  – and therefore didn’t feel guilty going for some Italian tonight. I found the chain of ‘Trattoria Cucina Italiana’ on the internet and as it was also ridiculously close to our hotel and we were exhausted from all that sunbathing we came here for dinner.

I generally prefer a thin crust but this ‘Diavola’ was a tad too thin for me, still good but I missed a little bit of dough to chew one since this crust just crumbled away on me. The sugo-cheese-ratio was as usual leaning towards the cheesy side but the taste wasn’t bad at all and to my great joy this thing was sweat-on-forehead spicy. Funny only I had to go to an Italian restaurant for that.

Trattoria Cucina Italiana
Beach Front
West Nusa Tenggara 83000
Gili Trawangan, Lombok
Indonesia
Tel: +62 8190 798 2995
http://www.trattoriaasia.com/

Meatball Grand Prix.

imageIt was the second night of the F1 Grand Prix and a friend and I had scouted the walkbout areas for suitable spots to catch the best views of the race when we both became pretty hungry but didn’t want to have any of the standard event foods like the overprized underaverage burgers and such. At the Esplanade we ran into ‘Sauce’, a place I heard does everything meatballs but had forgotten about again.

We had two servings of meatballs to start with – the ‘Classic Italian‘ (beef and pork) with ‘Firehouse Arrabiata‘ and the ‘Old School Beef‘ with ‘Green Market‘ pesto. Both types were actually great, the meat tasted pretty good and they had the perfect consistency, nice and fluffy. The arrabiata sauce, slightly tangy was full of sweet tomato flavor and the pesto with it’s slight bitterness wasn’t bad either. Unfortunately the portions were rather small so we added their meatball sandwich to our order. We had the ‘Classic Italian‘ version again so the meatballs obviously were the same. The bread on the other hand looked promising but was a boring slouchy something, which was quite dissapointing knowing they prepare the much more difficult meatballs rather well and then cock up on the bread sourcing. I probably would also recommend to take it easy on the cheese as it strongly overpowered the great meaty taste.

Anyways, meatballs top, sandwich flop! The service was messed up but let’s just blame that on the customer overload during the formula 1 and the outer and interior design isn’t really worth mentioning either. However I’ll probably give it another try for a quick meatball snack.

Sauce Bar
8 Raffles Avenue
Singapore 039802
Tel: +65 6837 2959
http://www.saucebar.com.sg/

Birthday Blunch at Dempsey.

imageA friend from Hong Kong came over on her birthday for a business trip this week so we gathered the troops for a birthday brunch/lunch at ‘Dempsey House’. It was a beautiful Saturday morning and I saw some tired faces in our round but nothing that a ‘Pineapple Pitstop‘ or a ‘Bloody Mary‘ couldn’t fix.

It felt a bit too late for brunch so I ordered their ‘Braised Pork Shoulder Rigatoni‘ which came on a nice looking, interestingly shaped plate. The pasta was slightly past al dente but the pork was braised nicely, tender and soft. The creamy tomato sauce glazing it all was quite tasty and light with a meaty flavor but I wished they would’ve been a bit more generous with it. Aside I had their ‘Coleslaw with Green Papaya‘ which in contrast to the pasta was lovely crunchy spicy and a mix of textures and Western-Asian flavors.

‘House’ has a great setting within the greenery on the back of Dempsey Hill. Today the service somehow was irritatingly slow and seemed slightly confused, the food and drinks though were nice but as in most places up here a bit on the pricey side. Still a good choice for weekend mornings.

Dempsey House
8D Dempsey Road
Singapore 249672
Tel: +65 6475 7787
http://www.dempseyhouse.com/

It’s Chanterelle Season

imageAfter a lovely weekend with my family I drove up to Frankfurt for a meeting the next day. There was an Italian restaurant on the other side of the road so to keep my evening hassle free I just made my way over there and sat down outside in this beautiful weather. At the beginning I was one of two tables but before I finished my dinner the place was packed.

They had a special menu with a lot of seasonal dishes under which some came with chanterelles as the main ingredient. As I didn’t have those for a few years now I started off with a ‘Salat mit Pfifferlingen‘ (salad with chanterelles) which came as a big plate full of fresh greens, drizzled with a balsamic reduction and covered with nicely salty parmesan shavings. I loved the warm center of pan fried chanterelles, bacon and onions but there was too much oil on it that made me feel a little greasy towards the end.

imageTo stick to the theme I made the ‘Tagliatelle mit Pfifferlingen‘ (tagliatelle pasta with chanterelles) my main. The dish was light and tasted awesome and my fear it would be as oily as the salad didn’t come true. The handmade pasta had a distinct eggy flavor and was on the spot al dente, covered with a thin creamy layer of oil and juices. The chanterelles tasted great and wonderful mushroomy, not like the stuff I’m used to from the supermarket in Singapore. Some cracked black pepper over all of that and I left smiling into my Sunday evening.

Great food, friendly staff, lovely ristorante in a quiet part of town. Nice.

http://www.ristoranteromanella.de/

Ristorante Pizzeria Romanella
Wolfsgangstrasse 84
60322 Frankfurt am Main
Germany
Tel: +49 69 5961117

Bigger’s Not Better

imageI had been to ‘Valentino’s’ before when they still were in their small shophouse at Riffle Range Road and since a colleague and I didn’t have anything better to do tonight we decided to try out their new location at the Grandstand, former Turf City Shopping Mall.

After a lovely nutty ‘Ham Platter‘ and some creamy ‘Vitello Tonnato‘ I ordered one of their off-menu specials, the ‘Aglio e Oglio Linguini Nero di Seppia‘ with king prawn. The linguini were nicely al dente and not too oily. The prawn was humongous, quite fresh but rather bland. The kicker though were the roasted garlic gloves that melted in my mouth and had a nice charr flavor without being to overwhelming garlicy. A bit more seasoning and this would have been pretty great.

imageOut of pure curiosity we ordered a pizza ‘Margherita‘. Unfortunately this was pretty underwhelming. The dough was thin and crispy but the sugo didn’t taste like much and the amount of cheese on top was simply too much for my preference. It was not a bad pizza but from a place with such a reputation I was expecting a little more than just ok.

imageThe ‘Panna Cotta‘ I had for dessert was not that special either with very little vanilla and a bit amateurish in presentation but what I really liked was the berry sauce that came with it. Nice and sour.

The quality and taste of the food was pretty good but because I thought to remember it a bit different and also because ‘Valentino’s’ is not necessarily a cheap restaurant I was just expecting a little more.  On the upside the service was outstanding and the staff super friendly but it was a bit sad to see they had lost a bit of their family run restaurant charm which only small places have and small is not was ‘Valentino’s’ is anymore.

http://valentino.sg/

Ristorante da Valentino
#01-19 The Grandstand
200 Turfclub Road
Singapore 289774
Tel: +65 6462 0555

Home Cooked Italian Food in Novena

imageI very spontaneously met up with my friend yesterday in Novena for a quick dinner and since I had not been to ‘Da Luca’ across the road we agreed on going there.

I ordered a pasta dish that I had here before and which I haven’t seen anywhere else – ‘Stracci Con Brasato Di Coniglio E Olive Nere‘. The pasta was super flat and homemade stracci that even being extremely thin still was perfectly al dente and nicely glued together where there was no sauce. The stracci were sitting in a ragout-like gravy which had a light taste of long cooked tomatos, red wine, fresh herbs and the deliciousy braised rabbit meat. There was heaps of the meat on the plate and I wouldn’t have needed any teeth to eat it as it was so softly cooked that it easily fell apart in my mouth. Once in a while I did hit some chunky vegetables or find some hidden cheese under the pasta which added new layers of flavor and texture to this lovely dish.

I loved this home style cooked rabbit pasta, delicious and simple which fits greatly to the unpretentious and down to earth ambience of ‘Da Luca’ with it’s friendly staff and fast service. Grazie mille!

http://daluca.com.sg/

Da Luca Restaurant
1 Goldhill Plaza
#01-19/21
Singapore 308899
Tel: +65 6258 4846

Tuscany Fantastico in Bianco et Nero

imageA colleague friend came into town on a transit to the Philippines and so we rallied the troops and all went together to ‘Pietrasanta’ in one of the black & white houses down at Portsdown Road. We were warmly welcomed by the friendly staff and the manager and seated on a big table inside.

As my main I chose the fish special ‘Grilled Sole‘ which I saw floating by to another table earlier. The fish was huge and looked super tasty with it’s nice chars from the grill. Following the managers recommendation I drizzled some of their fancy olive oil on top and together with the lemon and the pepper it tasted absolutely great. The kicker on this was that after it came from the grill they put the sole on a wooden board coming from an olive tree so when turning the fish over, the second half offered a completely new flavor, smokey and with an oaky taste to it. Very happy that I sighted this.

imageBefore this lovely fish we shared a variation of antipasti like the ‘Scamorza con Prosciutto‘. The cheese was lovely smokey and melted but still firm and wrapped in a salty cover of crispy pan fried parma ham.

imageWe couldn’t get enough of the ‘Tagliere Di Salumi e Formaggi‘ which was a cold cut platter of delicious parma ham, juicy and light mortadella, two types of salty and nutty salami and a centerpiece of parmesan that tasted lovely milky.

imageAnother starter we ordered was the ‘Acciughe Fresche Fritte‘ which were freshly imported anchovies fried in a light batter. Other than usual the tiny fishes were properly cleaned and only fried for a very short time so they were still moist and tasted like eating them in Italy.

imageLast but not least we had the famous ‘Burrata‘ a huge deformed mozzarella cheese ball filled with a mixture of the same as well as heavy cream. I loved the outer shell of this as it had a weird yet nice texture and tasted like strong milky white blob. The others preferred the inner core which I found too creamy to eat too much of it. The burrata was accompanied by an extra plate of juicy tomatos, arugula and parma ham which in combination with the nice olive oil made this a brilliant appetizer.

imageDuring the entire dinner we were exceptionally well taken care of by our head waiter and all the other staff and after we had finished everything we received a digestive including a freeflow of freshly baked biscotti and chocolate covered roasted almonds.

I had been here before but didn’t remember it being this nice. The food was fantastic and proper down to earth home cooked Tuscan cuisine and the service was memorable friendly and attentive. A great piece of Italy in traditional Singaporean heritage.

http://www.ristorante-pietrasanta.com/

Ristorante Pietrasanta Pte. Ltd.
5B Portsdown Road
#01-03
Singapore 139311
Tel: +65 6479 9521

New Pizza Joint in Novena

imageA friend and I were in a hurry as we wanted to go watch a movie and therefore needed something quick and dirty for dinner. We decided to try out a recently opened pizza place at United Square in Novena, ‘Extra Virgin Pizza’ just next to the future location of ‘Wee Nam Kee’. The increasingly popular concept of restaurants making you place your order before sitting down is not really mine but since we needed to rush anyway I didn’t mind this once.

I usually try the ‘Margherita‘ when I first visit an Italian place as it gives you an opportunity to judge their skills with the most basic ingredients yet very difficult pizza but since I had to be quick on my feet I went with the ‘Prosciutto & Arugula‘. Literally five minutes later it was already sitting on my table; steaming hot. It was a quite night for them but I found this still pretty impressive.

On top of the speed I was also positively surprised with the taste.The parma ham was of good quality but did lack a bit of the the strong nutty flavor parma usually has. The arugula was mildly sharp and not too bitter and they didn’t go too strong on the parmesan cheese which nicely covered everything under a salty cheesy blanket. I ate the toppings off one piece to get an idea of what a ‘Margherita‘ would taste like and also that one was a winner. The sugo was fruity and close to sweet and actually tasted like real tomatos and the dough was thin, crispy charred and crunchy on the outside crust which was slightly to fat for me but nevertheless was seasoned well and tasted great.

I am happy to have another respectable pizza place close by as I can’t stand most of the deliveries here which overload their pizzas with meats and cheeses. If I would need to pick something negative about this place it would probably be the price as a 26 dollar pizza – even that not unusual for Singapore – simply is too expensive, especially for a ‘fast lane diner’.

http://www.extravirginpizza.com/

Extra Virgin Pizza                                
101 Thomson Road                    
#01-14 United Square Shopping Mall
Singapore 307591            
Tel: +65 6247 5757

Bella Italia in Shinagawa

imageAfter a long day at our Tokyo office one of my colleagues and I went to ‘Vento’s’ pretty much only because it was the most convenient and only two minutes from both our hotels. We sat down outside and I felt a bit bad being in Japan and having Western food already on the second day.

My regret only lasted until my beautiful ‘Margarita’ showed up. This was without lie one of the best pizzas I have ever had in my life; pure brilliant simplicity. I haven’t had tasted such a fantastic and sweet tomato sugo in a very long time. The pizza was not overloaded with cheese so I was able to really taste all of the few ingredients as well as the thin dough. It was so thin that the area in the middle became juicy tomato-y goodness whilst the outer crust stayed chewy and tasted like very well seasoned pizza bread.

Service was very friendly and fast and the outside seating was just the right thing to do after a day locked inside an air-conditioned meeting room. Most importantly the food was outstanding so I give this place a double thumbs up. Bueno!

http://www.bar-grill-vento.com/english.html

Vento Italian Bar & Grill ヴェント高輪
1F Keikyuu Shopping Plaza Wing Takanawa West                  
4-10-18 Takanawa Minato-ku    
Tokyo 108-00                          
Japan                                                      
Tel: +81 3 3441 7952

Humongous Pizzas!

FxCam_1367668025133 I spend the whole day on roller coasters with friends at Universal Studios and as the day got older we got tried and really hungry. So solve the second problem we went to ‘Peperoni’ on Zion Road, which is in one of the shophouses just opposite of Great World City. I have never been here before but really liked the seating outside, a bistro feeling.

Since I never had but always wanted to we ordered one of their massive 21″ mega pizzas half half. One half with ‘Capricciosa‘ (shitake, ham, artichokes and black olives), the other with ‘Prosciutto Grudo di Parma‘ (parma ham and rocket). This thing was tremendous, just like the pizzas from the opening scenes of Roseanne. I loved it, the dough was pretty thin, very crisp on the outside rim and more and more juicy towards the inside of the pie. The sugo tasted great and nicely tomato-y and was covered with the right amount of cheese; maybe not exactly but close. The parma ham was from good quality and had a delicious nutty taste nicely accompanied by the bitterness of the rocket salad and covered with a lot of salty parmigiano reggiano. The ham on the ‘Capricciosa‘ half tasted quite good but could have been cut a bit thinner and even though I always would prefer button mushrooms or chanterelle the shitake were thin and tasty. The black olives were good and heaps and so the only neglected ingredient were the  very few carciofo or artichokes.

FxCam_1367669352558 As our first dessert we had the ‘Tiramusi‘ which was quite nice and not too heavy. I found the ladyfingers a tad too big which made it taste a bit watery and they also could have gone a bit heavier on the kahlua and the coffee. Not bad but also not outstanding.

FxCam_1367669528588My personal choice was the ‘Panna Cotta‘ which was actually pretty darn good. I’m not big with desserts other than ice cream, but if I come across this one I usually get it. It was spotted with vanilla grains and super light so I totally forgot that it’s pretty much pure cream. The sour fruity berry sauce was a great combination to the sweetness and made this a nice closer for the dinner and a long day.

I really have to mention our outstanding waitress, who was super friendly, fast, attentive and overly helpful with all our requests. It’s kinda sad that great service really stands out that much but that’s how it is and this one was awesome.

The ‘Peperoni’ branch on Zion is a really nice and casual place to come with friends and to enjoy some of the better pizzas (and service) in town. I’ll come back, grazie mille.

http://peperoni.com.sg/

Peperoni Pizzeria          
56 Zion Road  
Singapore 247781              
Tel: +65 6732 3235

Day & Night – Coffeeshop & Pizza Hangout

imageI went for a run tonight with some friends around Tiong Bahru. Feeling overwhelmingly confident about our tremendous calorie burn we decided to celebrate this the right way, with pizza. As it happened they live just around the corner of ‘Twoface Pizza & Taproom’, this place which is a coffeeshop over the day and turns into a hip pizza hangout in the afternoon. We ordered the pizzas on our way in, took a shower and they were so kind to give us a call when the first one came out of the oven and also reserved us a breezy table. When we arrived all pizzas came out and we dug in.

We had four pizzas altogether – please excuse, I don’t have all the correct menu names – the ‘Smoked Duck & Truffle Mayo‘, the ‘Buffalo Mozzarella‘, the ‘Meatlovers‘ and the ‘Bacon Mushroom Egg‘ pizza (this one definitely has a different name). All of the pizzas had a nicely thin dough with a crunch on the edges, the tomato sauce was herby and well seasoned and the cheese gave it all a lovely saltiness. I prefer the tomato-cheese-ratio to be more tomato-y but it tasted delicious anyways. Surprisingly the pizza with the duck was the most blend of the four. The duck was nicely rose and also moist but didn’t taste too special to me.

wpid-1363785638062.jpgThe mozzarella one was like a Margherita  but with extra slices of cold buffalo mozza and cherry tomatoes on them. Nice and simple. The change from warm to cold was good as you could really taste the mozzarella and the longer it sat there the cheese started melting. The pie with the bacon and mushrooms had the best looks of them all and the most extravagant taste. Bacon and mushrooms I could wrap my head around but the thought of the egg put me off at first but when I tried it the whole thing worked surprisingly well. The base of the pizza and then the runny yolk on top tasted great together. And at last the meaty version. I would have not ordered it as meatlover pizzas in Singapore are normally way to overloaded with stuff but this one had just a few slices of salami and juicy ham and a brilliant sausage that tasted delicious. Aside the pizzas one thing to mention is their signature ‘Twoface Drink’ a green and super refreshing blend of pineapple, sour plum and cai xin, a local vegetable. Sweet & sour but not too much of either.

The concept and vibe of the place, the good food, the nice selection of drinks, the ‘Pork Belly on Fries‘ that I didn’t try yet and not at last the super friendly owners and service make this a great hangout place and I’ll be coming hanging again soon.

I try to keep this page lean but will post the other pizza pictures on twitter.

Two Face Pizza & Taproom                                                                                                                                 56 Eng Hoon Street                                                                                                                                          #01-46                                                                                                                                                       Singapore 160056