Sunday, December 27, 2015

PerBacco @ Craig Road


When I got to know that PerBacco is situated along Craig Road, I wondered how would it differentiate itself from its neighbouring Italian restaurants. Northern regional specialities, I was told, where pasta often has to make way for risotto and polenta, and olive oil takes a back seat to butter.

The bar that fronts the entrance, together with the rustic brick wall and red sofa, sets a casual vibe that is a lot more engaging compared to some which can be a little too serious and static. If you want something more intimate, you will find it right behind a beautiful ceiling to wall divider. It is made of stacked wine crates, custom-designed with the restaurant’s name embossed on the side. Inviting and unpretentious, as per what its owners have envisaged for Perbacco.

We started off with some 'cicchetti' or small snacks from their bar. Tapas, starters, or appetitsers as you name it always excites me. I feel this is the category that really allows the chefs to showcase both their creativity and personality. I look forward to what Chef Marco Fregnan has got to offer.

spicy crab meat croquette
Spicy Crab Meat Croquettes (Crocchette di Granchio) 3.8/5

Full of fresh crab meat made creamy with ricotta and potato, these crusty nuggets, Spicy Crab Meat Croquettes ($12) sets  the standard of regular bar bites. The spicy creamy tuna sauce atop gives my taste buds the right kick. I couldn't help but reach out for my glass of wine, Pomino Bianco ($12).

Scamorza with Soft Fritters (Frittelle alle Verdure) 3.8/5

The next plate. Scamorza with Soft Fritters ($14) was equally delightful. Like an egg with a hardy shell, under the crust was a light batter made with flour, butter, peas, carrots and zucchini. It does make alot of sense to eat both together - the soft baked scamorza cheese, which is heavier in taste, with the fritters which are relatively light tasting but crusty.

Sweet and Sour Prawns (Gamberi in Saor) 4/5

What we had next is a variation to the classic Venetian dish Sarde in Saor, or sweet and sour sardines. What remains is the sweet and sour onions, but the sardines is being replaced with prawns. The Sweet and Sour Prawns ($24) is wrapped in parma ham, with the prawns taking on the characteristic of its partner while retaining its subtle sweetness and bouncy texture. Though I have yet tried the original, I believe this surpasses the latter.

green peas risotto
Green Pea Risotto (Risi e Bisi) 4.2/5

I guess Chef Marco is a very homely guy. Not only he adopts the original recipe for the classic Venetian Green Pea Risotto ($20), it is his grandma's recipe! Though green peas was not exactly a well-liked green among us, the rice was so yummy that we still polished it off effortlessly from its plate. Infused with minty oil, this risotto carries an refreshing note, which is not commonly found in others.

Gnocchi with Gorgonzola and Walnuts (Gnocchi e Fonduta al Gorgonzola) 3/5

The North relies more on cheese for sauces, hence creamy sauces are more commonly seen on the table than tomato sauce. Gnocchi with Gorgonzola and Walnuts ($26) is made in-house daily. The potato gnocchi were soft and not starchy, and the crunchy walnuts proved to be a great accompaniment. I would have enjoyed the dish more if the gorgonzola cheese sauce is on the savory side instead of sweet.

Stewed Veal Cheek (Guanciale di Vitello Brasato) 3.5/5 

We moved on to something heavier. Their Stewed Veal Cheek ($34) which has been slow-cooked for three hours was as tender as expected.

Milk-Stewed Codfish (Baccala’ alla Vicentina) 4.2/5

What surprises me was their Milk-Stewed Codfish ($32), served with grilled polenta. The usual treatment to codfish is mostly sear or bake, but Chef Marco does it differently. Slow-cooked in milk, onions and anchovies for one and a half hours, the savoury flavour suits the buttery codfish well. Anything sweet may be too cloying.

Hazelnut Panna Cotta (Pannacotta Nocciola) 3/5

We had 2 desserts Hazelnut Panna Cotta ($12) and Ricotta Cheesecake ($15). I very much prefer something with texture and bite, hence I enjoyed the latter more, especially with the buttery base. It is lighter and fluffier than American cheesecake, made sophisticated with the peach compote atop.

Ricotta Cheesecake (Cheesecake alla Ricotta) 3.8/5

Great food, paired with very affordable wines, I guess PerBacco has pretty much achieved its aim - meaning 'of Bacchus” in Italian, the mythical God of wine and merrymaking. Your ticket here is even better on Tuesday. From 6pm-8pm, you get to enjoy a tasty cichetti (worth $12) for any order of a glass of wine. Alternatively, choose between a glass of intensely fruity and floral Marchesi Gavi DOCG (white wine) or full-bodied Marchesa Vincenza Stanga Barbers D’Asti (red wine) for just $6 nett.

Photograph and written 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.

Craig Place
20 Craig Road
Singapore 089692
Tel: +65 66357130
Nearest MRT: Tanjong Pagar (EW Line)

Opening Hours:
Mon-Sat: 12pm - 230pm, 6pm - 1130pm
(Closed on Sun)

1) Alight at Tanjong Pagar MRT station. Take Exit A. Walk to Orchid Hotel. Walk to Tanjong Pagar Road. Cross the road and walk to Craig Road. Continue on Craig Road. Walk to destination. Journey time about 12 minutes. [Map]

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