Having been one of the more established names in the local cafe scene, La Ristrettos is probably one of the more hidden spots that only those in the know would likely to have checked them out. Located within Novena Medical Centre on level 8, La Ristrettos had recently re-branded themselves as Otto Pizza; an indication of a shift of focus for the brand. Despite its re-branding, Otto Pizza had retained much of the look of La Ristrettos for its interior — the only changes would have been to the signboard outside the cafe, and the removal of the La Ristrettos logo that used to be above the espresso bar; otherwise, the communal table in the middle, high tables and chairs at the windows and other interior decor have been retained since their revamp of the space some time back. With Otto Pizza being a concept that focuses more on sourdough pizza, much of the items served in La Ristrettos’ menu has been removed; the menu now features sections dedicated to pizzas, pasta, risotto, sides and breakfast — the pizza menu only being available from 12 noon onwards. The menu for beverages include a section dedicated to specialty coffee, whilst also featuring some special concoctions including an Iced Shaken Lemon Earl Grey, Otto’s Oranginar (i.e. freshly squeezed orange juice with iced soda water), and an Orange Juice.

Sounding like a pretty usual breakfast dish that we would usually skip on considering how basic it sounds, the only reason why we actually had the Mushroom & Eggs was only because we had made our visit to Otto Pizza a little way too early for their pizza menu to be available for the day. The Mushroom & Eggs features fresh-baked sourdough, white button mushrooms and scrambled eggs; a fairly standard breakfast platter that some would find comfort in. The highlight of the entire dish would be the fresh-baked sourdough; using the very same sourdough that would be used for their pizza, the fresh-baked sourdough comes with little blisters from being baked in the high heat of the pizza oven. This results in a sourdough that is especially pillowy; the sourdough carrying a good tension as one pulls it apart by hand — it also was aptly dense and provided a good chew. Flavour-wise, the fresh-baked sourdough carried a distinct sour-ish tang that came from the fermentation process of the dough; nicely savoury as well at the same time with unsalted butter on the side that adds on for a smoother, creamier texture. The other elements such as the white button mushrooms and scrambled eggs were decent; both items being those that offers no surprises, the white button mushrooms have been sautéed to further bring out its earthy notes, while the scrambled eggs comes suitably runny with a hint of creaminess that was well-balanced against the egginess that is going on in there.

It does seem that La Ristrettos have been straying away from being a mainstream cafe that is part of the third-wave coffee movement these days — the folks had also recently opened another concept named Black Cherry Roastery at Bijou in Pasir Panjang which attempts to be a more serious Italian trattoria that also serves up pizza and pasta with a good variety of side dishes. Perhaps this is also behind why La Ristrettos had also decided to make the change in the new year — naming themselves as Otto Pizza and making a menu change to focus serving up sourdough pizza instead. Whilst we were unable to give their sourdough pizza items a go during our visit to Otto Pizza, we were pretty impressed by the fresh-baked sourdough that was served with the Mushroom & Eggs — itself probably being a testament to the sourdough pizza that they serve up. We were also particularly impressed with their espresso-based coffee; incredibly smooth crema and being very well-pulled despite it being a Flat White or a Caffe Macchiatto Lungo — one that comes with a medium body and fruity flavour profile that provided quite a good kick as a morning perk-me-up. We might have not given La Ristrettos a proper try during their run back then, but Otto Pizza does seem like a new beginning for the folks of La Ristrettos that we would likely see them do well or better than they have had before; all that whilst still being that hidden nook that they had been known for whilst still being La Ristrettos.