Day trip to bellisimo Merano.
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.
Old shop front
Passer | Passirio
Street Art Merano
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
p: +39 0473 232599
How bad can it be?
Spending 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.
Campanile di Curon Venosta Vecchia
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!
Vittorio Veneto 58
39027 Curon Venosta BZ (Südtirol / South Tyrol)
Klein aber fein.
Many 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.
Moving 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.
Since 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.
My 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.
20 Cross Street
#01-19 China Square Central
Tel: +65 6221 3937
I 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
Tel: +65 5439 940
Birthday Blunch at Dempsey.
A 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.
8D Dempsey Road
Tel: +65 6475 7787
It’s Chanterelle Season
After 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.
To 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.
Ristorante Pizzeria Romanella
60322 Frankfurt am Main
Tel: +49 69 5961117
Bigger’s Not Better
I 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.
Out 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.
The ‘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.
Ristorante da Valentino
#01-19 The Grandstand
200 Turfclub Road
Tel: +65 6462 0555
Home Cooked Italian Food in Novena
I 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!
Da Luca Restaurant
1 Goldhill Plaza
Tel: +65 6258 4846