Pizza Express: Not Bad

British pizza chain, Pizza Express, is here and yours truly went on a unsponsored-visit to Scotts Square just for it! Conclusion: not bad.  Pizza Express’s pizza pies were better than Prego at Fairmont (that was so sad I couldn’t bring myself to blog about it here) and Pepperoni Pizzeria on Frankel Avenue (tragic). However Pizza […]

Motorino Pizza: Beautifully Bland

After four aesthetically stunning pizzas, I found New York’s Motorino Pizza to be bland. I much preferred the punchy flavours offered by the West Coast pizzeria at M.B.S. However at the equally-renowned East Coast pizzeria, the thick spotted crust smelled heavenly; smoky and addictively chewy. But it was their toppings that left me unimpressed.

For example, take the Brussels Sprouts & Bacon. I was most looking forward to this. Generously topped with semi-roasted brussels sprouts leaves, it caused the whole pizza to taste green and slightly grassy. The bacon flavour was barely-discernible bacon given the overwhelming “green” flavour. 

Another pizza I was most looking forward to: Cremini Mushroom & Sausage. Again arriving generously topped with semi-cooked slices of brown mushrooms and minced pork. This was hardly palatable but memorable for why mushrooms should always be cooked down. Now I know why I never eat brown mushrooms raw off the supermarket shelves. At the same time, right then and there, I missed the Fennel & Sausage Pizza at the West Coast pizzeria in MBS. 

However all was not lost. I did enjoy the Fresh Clam pizza. Although the clam flavour could barely be tasted, I thoroughly enjoyed the thick layer of Mozarella cheese that became chewy when cooled. 

The Margherita was beautiful but forgettable…

We did begin our carb fest with some appetisers. Out of five, I enjoyed one: Roasted Chicken Wings. The juicy and meaty wings embodied a smoky barbecued scorched skin. The best I ever tasted. 

The luscious-looking Motorino’s Meatballs were forgettable although the texture was pretty remarkable. I heard suction sounds when I pierced my spoon into it.  

I don’t remember the two salads we shared although the Caesar Salad with the generous shavings of fresh Parmesan was stunning.

The Steamed Clams “Al Bianco” were forgettable.

Two desserts: Tiramisu was executed well. 

The Torta Al Cioccolato w/ Crema Inglese (flourless dark chocolate cake with vanilla cream sauce) was thick, rich and fudgy but I remembered Chocolate Origin tasting like that. 

When our order was taken, we noticed it was not written down. Thinking the short menu made it easy to memorise orders. We realised after the meal one of our appetisers, Roasted Mortadella, didn’t make it onto our table.  Forgetful as they may be, the service at Motorino was still impeccable! They allowed us to bring in our own birthday cake, provided a candle for us, and even provided fresh plates and cutleries for our cakes. (A stark contrast to my experience at Providore in Mandarin gallery; they cleared all our cutleries upon seeing our cake.) If I return to Motorino Pizza, it will only be for the service. 

An Italian Fine Dining Dinner @ Da Luca Italian Restaurant

Da Luca Italian Restaurant serves up homely Tuscany food in hearty portions. Helmed by Chef Luca, formerly Garibaldi and Gunther, this cosy restaurant located in Goldhill Plaza is a gem for us Centralers. I have visited Da Luca many times. On every visit, their big plates of pastas and grilled meat platters are my must-orders. Then guess what? My ex-secondary classmate married the Chef! A while back, she promised us something different from the restaurant’s usual offering: an Italian Fine Dining experience. One Friday evening, we finally got the pleasure to experience it. For S$135, we were presented and spoilt-rotten by a splendid six-course dinner. The filling courses show another side of Chef Lucas and his incredible ability to present a multitude of textures and flavours on a single plate. During our visit, it was also truffle season!  So that evening I ingested more truffles than my entire life before. Let me show you my dinner that evening:

We began with a glass of cold bubbly Prosecco and shared this bottle of Red.


It was a fine start.

Then a basket of homemade Foccacia Bread arrived. Warm, crusty outside and pillowy-tender within; I dare you to stop at just one slice.

For appetizers, we were served a Chilled Capellini Pasta with Truffle Emulsion served with Raw Scallops. Those who frequent Gunthers will find this dish familiar. Chef Luca spent some time there and this was pure evidence. Throwing in fresh raw scallop, I slurped up this surprsingly-refreshing carby dish in no time. My excuse for the lack of control with carbohydrates that evening: marathon the next day.

Slow-cooked Eggs with Burrata Cheese, Iberico Ham & Black Summer Truffles with Espagnole Sauce. To eat, mix this all up thoroughly.

Slow-cooked Spanish Octupus with Tomato Confit in Bagna Cauda. This dish surprised me big time! I associate octupus with spanish cuisine but to find in the italian cuisine was pretty uncommon to me. This combination of textures and flavours blew my dining companion away! Two pieces of perfectly-cooked octopus atop a savoury butter garlic anchovy sauce then to throw your senses around, subtly sweet tomatoes. Perfect.

Ravioli Di Carne Con Funghi E Pana: Chef’s Ravioli Stuffing with Sausages and Mushroom Cream Sauce topped with unabashedful amount of thinly-shaven black truffles. This flavour bomb pasta was extraordinary. Rich luscious mushroom sauce with savoury sausage ravioli swimming in it, I still dream about this… Unfortunately we only enjoyed a tasting portion that evening. But good news, this dish is a mainstay on the restaurant menu. If you are not on the fine dining set, be prepared for a huge plate of this rich luxurious goodness. Wait, what? Sure, I will join you too!

After the preceding heavy carb dish, the healthiest dish of the evening arrived: Pan crusted Chilean Codfish with Wilted Baby Spinach & Sweet Tomato Confit. This was ace!

This Smoked A4 Miyazaki with Balsamic Reduction & Grilled Hokkaido Corn brought out our carnivorous selves.

For dessert: Fondente Al Cioccolato Con Gelatio Al Torroncino (Molten Lava Chocolate Cake with Torroncino Ice Cream). Fine, this might not be the most exciting or creative dessert around. But this clasic dessert was a heartbreaker. Fudgy and filled with underdone molten cake, my selfishness came through when I realised my dining companion had little (sorry, Sam!) The two types of Gelato that accompanied the cake may not have been made in-house but why bother when Alfero Artisan Gelato is your good friend?! So for the first time, I tried one of Singapore’s best Gelaterias. The two flavours we had, Pistachio and Hazelnut, were rich and addictive. I cleaned plate. Can you blame me?


If you are interested in an Italian fine dining experience too, do call up the restaurant in advance to reserve your experience. Buon Viaggio! May you have a delicious time too.

Latteria Mozarella Bar: Would Return Just For The Desserts

Southern Italian restaurant, Latteria Mozarella Bar, on Duxton Hill may boost their cheese specialty but it will be their desserts that will bring me back. Last night, between my two friends and I, we had THREE desserts: two Tipsy Tiramisu Cups and the Raspberry & Pistachio Meringue Cake. Considering the size of the Tiramisu “Cup”, we went to town with our sugar intake. We were definitely not proud of our glutton behaviour  last night. Since we are unable to control each other, we resorted to promising not to have dinner together until six months later. 

The Tipsy Tiramisu Cup was first-bite magic. One cup between three of us just seemed inadequate hence the second order. The creaminess paired with the seriously-boozy sponge fingers topped with the most generous Coco Powder ever, made for a highly addictive sweet ending to our meal. We also liked that the dessert was devoid of any sickening-sweetness. Every bite tasted so fresh and home-made. Every spoonful a perfect contrast of luscious mascarpone cream and soaked fingers.

Equally spectacular was the Raspberry & Pistachio Meringue Cake. If not for the waiter swearing by this dessert, we would not have considered it. A thick crunchy meringue disk topped with generous and whipped-like-air cream, fresh raspberries, whole toasted pistachios, and a tangy raspberry compote. We were enamored by the perfect contrast of tangy berry components and only-slightly-sweet meringue. Heavenly. 

The savouries were not poor but just not outstanding. Out of the four we shared, only one savoury was spectacular and warranted a return visit. The handsome Grilled Whole Seabass Amalfitina was marinated in a salty green pesto. A triumphant highly unusual marinade! Although the kitchen was a little heavy-handed with the seasoning. The fish was cooked to perfection. The flesh so juicy and sweet, it literally melted away from the bones. A couple more dollars more expensive than the other dishes in the same category, I reckon given the portion, the most value-for-money.

There was no doubt our single plate of pasta for the evening: Linguine with Crab & Mascarpone was delicious. Generous crab shreds with al dente pasta combined with a tomato mascarpone sauce was spot-on! But it lacked oomph.

However our two appetizers could have been better. The Deepfried Calamari with Mayo & Arrabbiata may have been fried to perfection with a still-juicy and crunchy squid. But it was the weak batter that fell away from the squid so easily and quickly that was my biggest gripe. This made me miss the Calamari Fritti from Mozza in Epicurean Market last September.

Our second appetizer, a mammoth Burrata with Sweet Peppers Peperonata did not live up to its description on the front glossary page. My third time having Burrata, it lacked a juicy creamy center I had twice earlier. However praises for the sweet peppers peperonata! If sweet peppers tasted like this naturally, I would have it daily. 

We had a lovely house White wine to go with our dinner. I say, order the mains but remember to save tummy space for the desserts. You won’t regret it. 

A sumptuous lunch @ Enoteca L’Operetta

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This afternoon, I was taken to Entoca L’Operetta where my companions and I indulged in a three-course fine-dining French delight. All the dishes were rightly seasoned with harmonious contrasting textures and flavours aplenty. What a treat! The restaurant, along Boat Quay, is narrow but long with some unusual art pieces adorning the walls. The seats were luxurious and comfortable! We were led to a table at the very end of the restaurant but right underneath an air-conditioning unit. I was quickly freezing to my bones. I tried to take my mind off the cold by concentraing on the middle-eastern-looking table runner but it was not very successful. In my mind, I was begging to be let out into the unbearably warm weather outside.

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When a basket of fresh toasted homemade foccacia bread finally arrived on our table, I nearly yelled out with joy but this is a fine-dining restaurant y’all so I took a slice and channeled my spurt of energy on to the bread in front of me.

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This place serves some very fine complimentary bread. This photo was taken at a bad angle because on the other side was cheese baked on top of the bread. This bread was divine and not because it warmed me up very quickly. The salty cheesy crust on top and the bottom were so crunchy but the middle was all herby, soft, tender, and fluffy. Beautiful contrasting textures! I made full use of the spongey middle by moping up all the olive oil and vinegar on my little side plate. You would have thought I haven eaten in a month! It was very hard to resist a second slice but I had three more courses to go so I resorted to staring longingly at the last slice in the basket.  

Next up was a small complimentary plate of salad to further whet our appetite.

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Some simple arugula and salad leaves lightly dressed with olive oil and shaven cheese. Cute plate but really, just bring on my lunch…

Which was quickly served… For starters, a Salmon Tartare with Sour Cream

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The neatly cubed salmon was marinated lightly in olive oil and was all smoky and salty. Contrasting the tartare was the thick and rich disk of sour cream filled with herbs. Accompanying the two stars of the dish were finely-sliced radish and citrus fruits which provided some sweet tanginess. All in all, a very exciting starter that left me very impressed.

Then the main course arrived and I was blown away by the plate presented before me: Australian Wagyu Beef Tagliata with Potato, Rucola and Rocket Salad.

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Don’t the beef slices look absolutely stunning to you?!?! It was an arresting sigh to behold! How could I have ever thought about becoming a vegetarian or go vegan just for a week? Criminal thoughts. Presented on the plate were two types of salt, pepper, a wedge of lemon, and lightly drizzled with sweet balsamic vinegar. With these extra DIY seasonings, the main course was no doubt going to be tasty. But all that prettiness, I did not even want to start eating for fear of destroying it but I did and I was glad. The beef was all tender and smoky, and no surprises for the perfectly char grilled beef which resulted in a crusty side. It was a delicious memorable plate. I reckon this course alone was worth the $38++ price tag.

For dessert, a simple Italian Tiramisu.

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The portion was tiny and the ratio of mascaporne cream to soaked biscuit was 3:1 but my friends, this dessert was a heartbreaker! The mascaporne cream part was thick, smooth and luscious; it danced in my mouth. The well-soaked savoiardi ladyfinger biscuits had gone all velvety – a deep contrast with the smooth cream; every mouthful picked at my senses. Oh what a delightful dessert! The perfect sweet ending to lunch. 

And at the end of lunch, look what I spotted?!

20140722-141202-51122595.jpgThe tablecloth being ironed straight by a wireless iron. Now, that’s impressive!

SONS Bacaro – Fun Times with Italian Tapas!

After weeks of lusting after pictures on Instagram, hearing rave reviews from multiple reliable foodie friends, and they included friends I recommended despite never been there before, I finally made it to SONS Bacaro! Located in China Square Central, it was the “small plates” style and Italian cuisine that drew me to this large 200-seater eatery. I was extremely lucky to visit SONS with many of my colleagues on my first visit. Going with nine friends meant we could almost sample the whole menu. We could have sampled the entire menu but two dishes, that sounded heavenly, were not available: Spaghetti, Sea Urchin Carbonara,  and the Baccala Cakes, Sea Urchin Sabayon. That is alright because it meant another trip to SONS will be in order. After last night’s dinner, I am sure I will have many friends who will be more than happy to make a return visit with me. Last night, I managed to try most dishes but some I simply could not stomach any more, and I was left with relying on people vocalising the deliciousness.

We ordered a lot last night. I was deeply worried in the beginning because the small plates shocked my colleagues, especially the men, who criticized the portions. But after a few bites, I heard no more criticisms the rest of the night but only praises of “it’s good!” or “that’s good!” All night.  So here is what we had:

 Burrata, Asparagus Cream, Hazelnuts
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My cheese-loving-friend was thrilled with this dish. I love my cheese but only when it is all hot and melty. The cold Burrata was refreshing and light but not enough for me to order this again. The shaved cucumber garnishing may have prettied up the dish but I would have preferred it in my Gin & Tonic.

Roasted Foie Gras, Pumpkin Cream and Roasted Onions (top right):

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A must order! I could go on forever about how wonderful this dish was and I would return to SONS just for these goose liver. The little pieces of liver were rich and creamy, and grilled to perfection with it’s slightly crispy exterior. The pumpkin cream and roasted onions provided subtle sweetness making this dish exciting. To contrast the three texture-less components were some crunchy roasted hazelnuts. Every bite was dancing in my mouth.

 Mushrooms, Gorgonzola & Polenta
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I had no idea the cubes of mushiness were polenta until I read the menu this morning. It tasted of potatoes causing me to worry about my carbohydrates intake last night. And I am even more surprised the melty creamy whitish cheese was gorgonzola; where was the strong pungent blue cheese taste?! Still, the creaminess was sinfully good. This may have lacked in taste or identity but made it up for in sinfulness.

Paccheri, Iberico Pork & Truffle

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PLEASE ORDER THIS! It is rarely seen (in Singapore, at least), unusual, the truffle smell and taste were strong and present throughout every bite, the shredded iberico pork were lean and in all honestly worth ordering just for the way it looks. Doesn’t it look so damn cute to you?! 

Prosciutto di Parma & Melon

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We ordered this because a picture on Instagram showed a generous portion for just $12. The melon balls were so sweet and juicy but the prosciutto not of the highest quality. Probably worth saving calories and giving this a miss.

Tagliatelle with Truffle Pesto
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This simple dish was so.damn.good. What it lack for in ingredients, it made up for in the strong truffle taste, just the right amount of cream sauce was served, and the pasta was perfectly cooked – al dente. This dish drove home the point that less is more!

Kurobuta Pork Neck, Porcini Sauce

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I was rooting for this dish the most but it turned out to be a big disappointment. The pork texture was akin to the Chinese roasted pork, Char Siew. A poorly executed char siew sold by people who lack dedication and a purpose in life to put in more effort to ensure tender meat. This pork neck was tough. Sadness ensued after every bite.

Hokkaido Scallop Bake (half eaten by the time this photo was taken), Tagliolini, Crab & Nduja, and Calamari, Nduja.

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I did not get to try these. Sorrryyyyy.

Veal Ossobuco, Orzotto

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Also did not get to try these but damn did it look impressive and I watched my friends easily pull apart the meat demonstrating its tenderness. The barley below with the thick tomato-based sauce was most unusual.

Pumpkin Tortelli, Capers & Avocado

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I did not get to try this but everyone who did, shouted out how good it was.

Mixed Board of 5 Cheeses (CosmoNapolitan cocktail)

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This was such a delight! Although the only cheese I could decipher was the blue cheese, the fruit compote/ jam with the roasted hazelnuts in the middle were such a delight I found myself picking on it the entire evening.

The CosmoNapolitan was too sweet!!! And the Mini Baba on the toothpick stuck into the drink was a little strange. The cocktail would be best for an aftermeal ending.

And now on to the desserts. I ordered everything on the menu which caused my friends to shout out: “is this your mother’s restaurant?” But there were so many of us and the plates were going to be so small so four desserts and three scoops of gelato did not seem like much in the grand scheme of things. Disappointingly, the Cantucci & Vinsanto never arrived but others did, and SONS’s small dessert menu proved to be varied and flexible to cater to subjective preferences.

Salted Caramel Strawberry Jubilee, Gelato: Pistachio, Tiramisu, and Bacio (Chocolate Hazelnut)

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These were heavenly! The Jubilee contained a vanilla gelato topped with creme fraiche, balsamic strawberries, and salted caramel. Extremely pleasing and caused us all to reach across the table for the small bowl for seconds.

The Gelato were such a crowd pleaser. The Pistachio flavour was richly nut flavoured, the Tiramisu had many bits of sponge fingers within, and the Chocolate Hazelnut was chocolatey and aromatic with the hazelnuts. We all had a personal favourite but I didn’t. I loved the Pistachio because it tasted of real pistachios and legit, the Tiramisu because it was so rare to find such a flavour, and the Chocolate Hazelnut because it was so damn good!

From left: Raspberry Zabaione, and Mini Baba Limoncello

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The Raspberry Z was strange (I still have no idea what I was eating) and the Mini Baba was too sweet. It tasted like it had been soaked in a sugar syrup for a while.

-Phew- That’s it! That was my dinner last night. A memorable meal further heightened by my adventurous dining pals. Till next time, SONS!