ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s not easy to find great pasta in Singapore. At least thatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s what weÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve concluded, from personal experience and discussions with pasta-holics. YouÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve probably got a go-to Italian place whenever that craving kicks in, but can you really say it serves pasta so sublime youÃ¢â‚¬â„¢d recommend it to anyone and everyone without hesitation? Yeah, thatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s what we thought.
So itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s a nice surprise that Keong Saik RoadÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s new Pasta Bar comes damn near to perfection. With 11 types painstakingly handmade fresh daily at the bar counter, the eatery sure knows and loves its carb of choice. Chef Alessandro Giustetti from Genova, Italy, calls the shots in the kitchen, bringing his laidback warmth to the stove with dishes that strive to be as authentic as possible, as a tribute to his home country.
Each pasta strand is made withÃ‚Â variations of flour, such as soft wheat, semolina, and truffle, folded in with different parts of the egg andÃ‚Â water in changing temperatures or amounts. Clearly, the idea is to treat everyÃ‚Â creation with precision, putting aside aÃ‚Â one-size-fits-all mentality. Pasta isnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t just pasta hereÃ‚Â Ã¢â‚¬â€ each dough has its own distinct identity.
But with this much attention paid to pasta alone, you can expect the prices to reflect the amount of work that goes into preparing each dish. Antipasti items start from $18 for buffalo milk ricotta, pastas range from $26 to $40, and mains are priced between $32 to $38.
That being said, the dinner-only joint is ideal for intimate dates, serving its comfort food in a cozy and welcoming spaceÃ‚Â that has 18 seats around the kitchen counter and 16 more around the high and low tables in a rustic, homely style. To start, the arrosticini ($19) offers youÃ‚Â aromaticÃ‚Â sticks of grilled lamb skewersÃ‚Â plated in a terracotta pot with rosemary-infused olive oil,Ã‚Â while the veal tongue ($24) is an absolute melt-in-the-mouth pleasure thatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s servedÃ‚Â unfussilyÃ‚Â with pickled vegetables.
Speaking of meltingly scrumptious, the restaurantÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s tortelli ($26), stuffed with pumpkin and sage,Ã‚Â may sound deceivingly simpleÃ‚Â Ã¢â‚¬â€ but its smooth andÃ‚Â velvety mouthfeel is next-level exquisite. We could luxuriate in a bathtub full of that filling, just sayinÃ¢â‚¬â„¢. And if youÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re not squeamish about dining on a particular household pet, the rabbit ragu pappardelle ($30)Ã‚Â cooks its meat tender,Ã‚Â tossed with sprinklings of pine nuts and pasta thatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s made with two types of flour.
Carbonara ($29) and gnocchi ($28) appear on the menu as well, but for something more uncommon, the lagane ($28)Ã‚Â brings together chickpeas with chilli and spicy garlic for a delightfully creamy consistency with a touch of heat that can warm even the coldest hearts. You could technically fill up on appetizers before this, but by god, youÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ll keep charging on once you get your first taste.
Hailing from Southern Italy,Ã‚Â the dish features sheets of pasta that are eggless, with a chewier texture fromÃ‚Â a mixture ofÃ‚Â flour and water. (Fun fact: lagane is believed to be the oldest-known written recipe of pasta). The more popularly-known lasagne finds its roots in lagane, and itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s offered here ($26) as well, but in extremely limited quantitiesÃ‚Â Ã¢â‚¬â€ so once itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s sold out, itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s gone.
Besides pasta, the place serves meats like black cod with couscous and mussels ($34) and pork rib terrine ($32), alongside greens such as grilled asparagus ($12) and sautÃƒÂ©ed broccolini ($10).
To end, imbibe some liquid calories with the Truffled Old Fashioned (truffle-infused scotch with shaved truffles) or The Last CaffÃƒÂ¨, made with butter vodka, espresso, and chocolate bitters. Otherwise, make space in your stomach for the Sicilian cannolo ($14) that adds red wine to its pastry dough so those tannins cut nicely through the richness of the sheepÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s milk ricotta. Or if youÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve ever wondered how Nutella could be made more glorious than it already is, try the restaurantÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s friedÃ‚Â rendition with raspberry compote ($14).
Pasta Bar is at #01-05, 55 Keong Saik Rd.
MRT: Outram Park
This article, Keong SaikÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s new Pasta Bar delivers its goods fresh and handmade with oodles of flavor, originally appeared on Coconuts, Asia’s leading alternative media company. Want more Coconuts? Sign up for our newsletters!