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
The season for gatherings, parties, friends, families and food is nearly upon us and this Sunday, why not celebrate the holiday season with an easy, breezy, big, brunchy affair at UNA? Makan Kaki Shermay Lee highly recommends the Spanish/ French/ Italian/ Mediterranean Brunch there – it’s absolutely delightful and yummy!
Located in the leafy, Colonial enclave of Rochester Park, UNA is a charming restaurant helmed by Jean-Philippe Patruno, who used to be head chef of wildly popular tapas bar Barrafina in London’s Soho. And now, the same delectable food that set London in a tizzy with snaking queues is available here in Singapore and in a beautiful environment.
Be prepared to eat. Go hungry. It’s gonna be really delicious, thanks to Chef Jean-Philippe’s impeccable technical skills and his ability to cook with real depth and honesty. Tapas and brunch foods may seem deceptively simple to make, but trust Shermay, to achieve this sort of flavour, a lot of experience and know-how is required!
A must-try is the Jamon croquetas (ham croquettes) – light, crispy, panko-coated with an oozy, creamy, piping-hot ham and bechamel interior. They are perfection and always a hit with adults and kids alike. Order lots! You’re gonna have to!
For a decadent treat, how ’bout the slow-cooked egg with smoked mash and summer truffles? Rich, over-the-top indulgence from the yolk, smokey potato and earthy truffle. If you like bread, you’ll love the roasted peppers on toast with spicy, fatty chorizo sausage and delicate quail eggs. Or go for one of their toasted sandwiches! If you want something even more substantial, the Spanish fry-up is hearty, filling and really hits the spot.
Leave room for dessert, especially their Churros! These deep-fried Spanish crullers are hard to find and even harder to do right, but UNA does! Light and crisp, not oily at all, but with enough firmness to bite, the Churros are tossed in cinnamon-sugar and come with a dark chocolate Valrhona dipping sauce.
There you have it, for a beautiful Brunch on Sunday, you really can’t go wrong with UNA @ One Rochester, where Chef Jean-Philippe Patruno serves up his home-styled cuisines from Spain, Italy and France, with a full selection of tapas, starters, mains and desserts, backed with a full bar, signature cocktails, with $48++ for free-flow cava and house wine.