Chef Aun of Bar Cicheti, an intimate Pasta & Wine Bar in Chinatown, is our new Makan Kaki and this down-to-earth, self-confessed heartland guy says while he’s trained extensively in Italian cooking, especially with wood-fired pizzas and pastas, his personal tastes remain firmly in Asia. He loves Chinese food, especially dishes with a good smoky wok hei (breath of the wok). He popped by the Gold 905 studio this morning to chat about the two kitchens he’s in charge of (Cicheti in Arab Street & Bar Cicheti in Jiak Chuan Road) and also to tell us more about his favourite MEE POK!
Chef Aun keeps returning to this stall in Opal Crescent for his Bak Chor Mee fix because he says their noodle texture is different and outstanding. They know how to cook them just right. Whether it’s Mee Pok (broad flat noodles) or Mee Kia (thin noodles), MacPherson Bak Chor Mee never serves noodles that are under or overcooked. Take it from a chef who makes pasta from scratch every single day – Chef Aun knows his noodles and these are al dente perfection!
Hello Makan Kakis! Looking for a palate cleanser after all the Chinese New Year feasting? Or maybe a charming spot for a Valentines’ tete a tete? Let’s go for a rustic Italian meal then! This week, our Foodie Friend Chef Shen Tan reveals a recent discovery she’s willing to trek from the West all the way to Serangoon Gardens for. Casa Manini is a little Italian restaurant that serves up good, honest, family-style cooking and is a wonderful find if you’re craving pasta. Everything is reasonably-priced and prepared by the chef who serves up his own personal family favourites. In fact, this place has a great back story – according to Shen, the chef and his wife used to work for Bulgari before taking the leap from fine jewellery to fine Italian food!
Hailing from Lombardy in Italy, Chef Fulvio’s Lasagna and Pasta Carbonara are Shen’s absolute favourites, particularly their signature pork and beef Lasagna, which she says is so hearty, rich and down-right delicious.
There’s a new place that our Makan Kaki, Chef-Owner of Morsels, Petrina Loh has just tried along Hong Kong Street. Located conveniently for Chef Petrina, she often runs errands along that stretch, picking up her traditional chinese herbs for her own restaurant from just across the street. If there’s parking, she always takes advantage to hop out in search for something good to eat. And boy, is Amò GOOD! It’s a pizza-pasta place started by Italian restaurateur Beppe De Vito, of Il Lido fame and also, the man behind Baci, a recent 1 Michelin Star awardee. So, one would have high hopes for this casual eatery, no? And apparently, recent discovery Amò does not disappoint. Highly recommended by her other chef friends, how can you resist comfort food like Italian pizzas and pastas done exceedingly well?
For Chef Petrina, the home-made pasta with spicy young cuttlefish with squid ink on the side was outstanding. So tasty & deeply umami, the tender squid pairs perfectly with the al dente Tagliolini, which she says delightedly, is like a cross between mee pok and mee kia! What’s brilliant is that you can ask for extra spice and the staff very obligingly bring out the fiery good stuff for you to add. The kitchen is aware of how some Singaporeans like their meals spicy and have concocted an insane chilli paste, made from chilli padi, garlic, salt and olive oil, all whizzed up fresh in a blender. It’s got tremendous kick and a freshness that balances the searingly hot burn, but use sparingly – you’ve been warned!
Another lovely touch is the wooden bowls of yummy stuffed olives you get served with every meal (perfect with a refreshing Aperol Spritz – cocktail of Prosecco & Aperol). Chef Petrina can’t get enough of these briny spheres of deliciousness! Sourced from from Beppe’s family’s olive farm, these are plump little green morsels, stuffed with peppers and exploding with appetite-whetting flavour.
If you’re looking for a yummy starter, try their zucinni flowers, unusually stufffed with a fluffy, creamy, light-as-air Mortadella filling, along with pistachio & lemon honey.
As for the pizzas, Denise (who also has been) recommends two excellent ones. Made meticulously with a starter that is lovingly tended daily, this mother dough births pizza bases full of flavor and texture. They are at once crisp, wonderfully blistered and charred on the edges, as well as delightfully tender and chewy in the centre. Taking an average of only 5-10 minutes to cook in their wood-fired oven, the toppings elevate the simple pizza to a whole other stratosphere!
The Bone Marrow Pizza with fresh radish, wild garlic pesto and anchovy salsa verde, is rich and luscious from the marrow, yet fresh, zingy and astringent from the greens and pesto. This is a beautiful foil for the very decadent, very savoury Truffle Pizza, which is pretty much THE BEST in Singapore at the moment.
Loaded with layer upon layer of aromatic fungi flavour, the Truffle Mushroom Pizza boasts a creamy truffle-marscapone base, wild mushrooms, Tuscan pecorino, a scattering of microgreens and is finished with fresh truffles shaved very liberally all over the top. So delicious, so addictive, so fragrant, you may want to finish the entire pizza yourself!
Amò lives up to its name – you can really feel the love here – from the lovingly prepared, on point, super-delicious food, to the casual, lively atmosphere, to the wonderfully attentive staff (Hi Jody!) – this is one Italian restaurant that’s far from run-of-the-mill & should not be missed!
TASTE: AMÒ – CASUAL ITALIAN RESTAURANT
33 Hong Kong Street Singapore 059672
Open for Lunch: 12 – 3pm (Monday – Friday) / Dinner: 6 – 11pm (Monday – Saturday)
Tel: +65 67237733