I 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.
397 River Valley Road
Tel: +65 65 677 PIZZA (74992)
Finally some heat.
After 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
West Nusa Tenggara 83000
Gili Trawangan, Lombok
Tel: +62 8190 798 2995
, @Tanjong Pagar
, Guo Tie
, Jiao Zi
, Xiao Long Bao
, Zha Jiang Mian
Hey Dude, where’s my Dumpling Nazi?
I read and heard so much about ‘Jing Hua’ a.k.a. ‘The Dumpling Nazi’ and so a friend and I paid the place with the apparently so grumpy guy a visit. To my surprise the shop seemed to be freshly renovated and really didn’t have anything from an old traditional eating house anymore. My biggest disappointment though was the missing impolite uncle scolding us or something, which I was so looking forward to.
The disappointment continued with the food. I’m a huge fool for ‘Xiao Long Bao‘ (小笼汤包) but I simply couldn’t eat those, thick doughy skin with overly greasy and lardy soup inside. We actually left most of it back in the basket and rather ate the crispy ‘Guo Tie‘ (锅贴) and boiled ‘Jiao Zi‘ (饺子) which were actually quite tasty, pimped with a generous portion of scallions.
We knew we over-ordered heavily but since it was something unusual we also got what they called ‘Chinese Pizza‘ (三鲜盒子), which was pretty much a crispy curry puff-like pastry filled with your usual dumpling mix – pork meat and scallions. This tasted quite great and was really something else.
My favourite however was the ‘Zha Jiang Mian’ (ひき肉みそのせ麺 ) which besides the fact that it could’ve used another scoop of the thick soy bean sauce came pretty close to awesome. Meaty, sweetish, great textures and brilliant unusually thick noodles, that even that I was already stuffed, I wished my bowl would’ve been was bigger.
If it wasn’t for the noodles, I wouldn’t bother coming back here to this formerly traditional place that obviously got transformed into a faceless eatery with oversized pictures of their signature dishes hanging on the walls like otherwise only a big fast food franchise would put up. But I’m hooked now and just have to learn how to ignore that people here are so polite.
Jing Hua Restaurant at Qun Zhong Eating House 京华小吃
21 Neil Road
Tel: +65 6221 3060
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
New Pizza Joint in Novena
A 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’.
Extra Virgin Pizza
101 Thomson Road
#01-14 United Square Shopping Mall
Tel: +65 6247 5757
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.
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.
My 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.
56 Zion Road
Tel: +65 6732 3235
Day & Night – Coffeeshop & Pizza Hangout
I 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.
The 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