Sunday, October 25, 2020

Trattoria La Vita @ North Canal Road - Homely Italian Cuisine with Japanese Flair


Located just a simple short walk away from Clarke Quay MRT Station, Trattoria La Vita at North Canal Road is a homely Japanese-run Italian restaurant. I learnt that the kitchen is also helmed by a Japanese chef, who was trained in Italy for 3 years. On the menu, you will find not just Italian flavours, but also dishes imbued with a touch of Japanese flair.

Salmon Gazpacho with Cucumber & Grapefruit 4.2/5

Tagliatelle Carbonara with Button Mushroom 3.8/5

Assortment of Desserts 3/5

If you are looking for a good value and quality executive lunch, do try its 3-course Lunch Set, nett priced at $25. A top-up of $5 will get you a glass of house red or white wine. The selections of appetisers and mains are above average I would say. Instead of the usual soups or salads, one of the choices available for starters is Salmon Gazpacho with Cucumber & Grapefruit. Citrusy and extremely piquant, it wowed me with its textural variations given by the different ingredients. For Main, I had Tagliatelle Carbonara with Button Mushroom that was quite delectable as well. The set lunch comes with a serving of Assortment of Desserts, which I was served with a portion of Tiramisu and Cannoli.

Pear Salad with Parma Ham & Homemade Ricotta 4.5/5

Parma Prosciutto with Melon (tasting portion) 4.5/5

Coming down to its ala carte menu, for starters, we had Pear Salad with Parma Ham & Homemade Ricotta ($16.90) and Parma Prosciutto with Melon ($24.90). The Pear Salad is served with a Raspberry Vinaigrette. Its flavour paired really well with the milky sweet ricotta, almost like the combination of berry and cream, and its acidity along with the sweet pears cut the richness of the Parma Ham. Even though Parma Prosciutto with Melon is a classic pairing, but over here, it also shines in terms of its presentation and the quality of ingredients used.

Spaghetti Hokkaido Scallop with Myogo Tobiko Wasabi 3/5

Tagliollini Scampi with Cherry Tomatoes 3.8/5

Under Pasta, there are 3 different categories - Japanese Taste, Italian Classic and Special Seafood. Japanese Taste Spaghetti Hokkaido Scallop with Myoga Tobiko Wasabi ($27.90) is quite unique with the addition of Myoga, Japanese Ginger flower. Because of its distinct flavours, it gave the pasta much of its characters. There were julienned Oba leaves inside as well, which boosted that herbaceous flavour. However, the scallops didn't quite elevate the dish as much as we would like them to. As for Seafood pasta, we had Tagliollini Scampi with Cherry Tomatoes ($27.90), I love how succulent the scampi were, as well as the combination of fresh basil and tart-sweet Cherry Tomato.

Pizza Bismarck 4.5/5

The dish that won our hearts is this Pizza Bismarck ($13.90). Made with Italian flour, the crust, despite it being thin and crispy, was flavorful even on its own. Loaded with chunky pork bacon, asparagus, and sweet onion slices, there was satisfaction in every bite. The egg sitting in the middle had its white set, but its yolk spread and mingled with the cheese and tomato sauce, making the pizza extra scrumptious.

Tenderloin 4/5

La Vita also prides itself on its Josper Grill steaks, which includes John Stone dry-aged beef. We went for Tenderloin (200g $59.90), served with grilled vegetables and potatoes. Ribeye is available as well if you prefer a stronger beefy flavour.

Assorted Berries Tart with Pistachio Gelato 2.5/5

Creme Brulee 3/5

Great mains but the desserts here are all just alright. If you do need one, then go for Crème Brulee ($13.90). Mine was a little eggy, but it came with a nice tuile which went well with it. As for the Assorted Berries Tart with Pistachio Gelato ($16.90), the crust was underbaked, and the custard base was thick and cloying.

Trattoria La Vita has been rolling out quite a few promotions lately, including Ladies' Night every Wednesday from 6pm to 8pm. For any main dish purchased, there will be a complimentary free-flow sparkling wine and La Vito Keto Salad!

Photos and words by Si An. A girl who is allured by travelling, loves the feel of freedom, smell of the rain and the aroma of fine coffee and food. Note: This is an invited tasting.

Trattoria La Vita
35 North Canal Road
Singapore 059291
Tel: +65 62261182
Nearest MRT: Clarke Quay (NE Line), Raffles Place (EW Line, NS Line)

Opening Hours:
Mon-Sat: 12pm - 230pm, 6pm - 1030pm
(Closed on Sun)

1) Alight at Clarke Quay MRT station. Take Exit A. Walk towards the junction of North Canal Road and South Bridge Road. Cross the junction and continue on North Canal Road. Walk along the shophouses along North Canal Road. Look out for an alley and turn left into it. Look for the entrance to the building and take lift to level 2. Journey time about 8 minutes. [Map]

2) Alight at Raffles Place MRT station. Take Exit G. Walk towards North Canal Road. Continue on North Canal Road. Walk along the shophouses along North Canal Road. Look out for an alley and turn right into it. Look for the entrance to the building and take lift to level 2. Journey time about 12 minutes. [Map]

Saturday, October 24, 2020

Solo Ristorante @ Amoy Street - Compact In Size But Big On Flavours


Somewhat under the radar is Italian restaurant, Solo Ristorante at Amoy Street. Chef/Partner Simone Fraternali recently took over the reins in March 2020. With him on the helm, he has refreshed the menu, introducing his dishes inspired by the northern region of Italy.

Branzino 3.5/5

We started our dinner with some antipasti. First up is Branzino ($20), thinly sliced seabass with light lemon emulsion, chopped shallots, pimento and chives. I applauded that the chef brought something I don't usually get in an Italian restaurant in Singapore to the table. However, I felt that a little more zest to the flavour will perk up the whole enjoyment.

Wagyu Carpaccio 4.5/5

Beef carpaccio is quite commonly served in my many restaurants, but you need to try the Wagyu Carpaccio ($30) at Solo. The addition of Parmigiano Reggiano shaving and pickled artichoke with a few dashes of Aceto Balsamico di Modena IGT, brightens up the flavour profile. It really excites my taste buds, sending them into a dance of joy.

Melanzana alla Parmigiana 4.2/5

A very hearty and comforting dish on the menu is the Melanzana alla Parmigiana ($18). The baked eggplant is served in a parcel of layered deep-fried eggplant with mozzarella and parmigiana nestled in light-as-air tomato sauce.

Pappardelle 4/5

Equally hearty is the Pappardelle ($30) with slow-braised pork ragout, herbs and Marsala wine. It is a white ragu made without tomatoes and fortified wine for a rounded finish. The simplicity also allows the appreciation of the homemade pasta even more.

Gnocchi 4.2/5

The Gnocchi ($30) comes with Angus Beef Ragout "alla Bolognese" with rosemary and red wine. I always thought gnocchi needs to have a bit to it, but I was surprised that the version here is pillowy soft. The chef shared that the trick to good and soft gnocchi is to use as little flour as possible to achieve the melt in the mouth texture.

Tagliolini 3/5

A luxe pasta dish in the menu is the Tagliolini ($45), lightly tossed with smoky uni sauce, tarragon and lemon zest, crowned with sea urchin brought in fro Japan. While I enjoyed the texture of the fresh handmade pasta, the uni sauce was lacklustre. I have tasted much better one elsewhere.

Polipo 3/5

The Polipo ($38) is an elegant plate of octopus that is braised in its own natural liquid and then grilled to a nice char on the exterior. Personally, I prefer the octopus to have a firmer texture. Accompanying the dish is tomatoes and creamy orange zest-tinged mash.

Faraona 4/5

For meat, we have the Faraona ($36). The guinea fowl is cooked in two ways. We have the sous vide breast and extra virgin olive oil confit leg to bring out the best of each cut. The beautiful poultry is rounded off by its natural jus, paired with caramelised banana shallots.

Torta Al Limone 4/5

I do recommend saving some space for desserts, they are as good as their savoury too. The Torta Al Limone ($14), Amalfi lemon and white chocolate curd tart topped with strawberries, and basil sorbet. It is a dessert with contrasting flavour profiles but yet well balanced and satisfying.

Tortino Al Cioccolato 4/5

Last but at least the Tortino Al Cioccolato ($15), a coconut and dark chocolate 70% lava and toffee with a scoop of yuzu and orange sorbet. I enjoyed the molten interior with a crusty exterior which is very addictive. I could not resist going back for me.

Set lunch is available at $26 for two courses, $32 for three courses, while Solo's Classics Set Dinner is $88 for four courses, and Solo's Gourmet Set Dinner is $128 for five courses. There is even a Saturday Brunch at $78 whereby customers can top up $38 for free flow of Prosecco, house wine and soft drinks or $78 for free flow of Champagne, house wine and soft drinks.

Note: This is an invited tasting.

Solo Ristorante
45 Amoy Street
Singapore 069871
Tel: +65 62600762
Nearest MRT: Tanjong Pagar (EW Line), Telok Ayer (DT Line)

Opening Hours:
Tue-Sat: 12pm - 230pm, 630pm - 10pm
Sun: 630pm - 10pm
(Closed on Mon & Sun lunch)

1) Alight at Telok Ayer MRT station. Take Exit A. Walk to Amoy Street. Turn left onto Amoy Street. Walk to destination. Journey time about 5 minutes. [Map]

2) Alight at Tanjong Pagar MRT station. Take Exit G. Walk down Telok Ayer Street. Turn left onto Amoy Street. Walk to destination. Journey time about 8 minutes. [Map]