Archive

Antipasti

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/

Advertisements

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/

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

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