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A Passion For Italian

A Passion For Italian

Italy is number one in my heart amongst the European cuisines. However, Spain and France put up a hard fight for that position sometimes.
Veronica Phua
Veronica Phua

The final course of pasta in our spontaneous “omakase” dinner was an umami celebr-ocean of fine strands of fresh squid ink tagliolini crowned with creamy uni, plump grilled Hokkaido scallops and Indonesian baby squid. Both @blueskiescottonclouds and I were groaning by then but we still managed to clean up everything on the plate.

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Burpple Tastemaker @blueskiescottonclouds and I found this pasta very much to our liking. Embellished with mascarpone and chopped pistachio, the chewy shell-shaped pasta which was made from scratch in-house, was simmered in a tasty red pesto made from sundried tomatoes and piquillo peppers. The blend of flavours and textures led to lip-smacking results.

Here is a new pasta that sparked joy on my palate.
Cooked perfectly al dente, the fresh Farfelle or bowtie pasta has the vibrance of summer written all over it thanks to the bright raspberry vinegar Caponata, a Sicilian style of sauce that’s chockfull of eggplant, celery and olives.
Nicely rounded off by some creamy ricotta and jazzed up with the crunch of toasted pinenuts, I felt every forkful was a happy dance in my mouth.

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@evachen212 (Head of Fashion at Instagram) has mentioned several times on her Instagram Stories that her favourite pizza in New York is the Vodka Pizza from @rubirosa_nyc. So can you blame me for yearning to have a taste?
When we rolled up to Rubirosa on a Saturday night after a failed attempt at reserving a table, it was (surprise, surprise) packed. The hostess broke the news of a 3-hour wait for the next available one which would unfortunately, be pass their closing time. So I decided to get a small Vodka Pizza for takeaway instead.
About forty minutes later, it was in my clutches (swipe to see). Because I was too impatient coupled with the fact that thin crust pizzas ought to be eaten while it‘s hot, I perched my butt on the window sill of Rubirosa and wolfed down three slices without coming up for air.
On the crispy yet chewy base were only the sauce - a smooth concoction of tomatoes, vodka, cream and Italian herbs, and fresh mozzarella cheese. But they were enough. The result was balanced and terrifically tasty. I dare say it’s my favourite out of the three pizzas I ate on this trip to New York.
Thanks again for sharing, Eva.

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H O S T E D
Simple but oh-so-good, the asparagus were served with creamy ricotta, ricotta salata and Bar Cicheti’s secret recipe butter. The vegetable itself was at the peak of perfection - every one was succulent and crunchy without any disruption from hard fibres.

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H O S T E D
It seems that the cannoli here was created by co-owner and head chef Aun’s own wife. Well, she is certainly a talented lady because this piece of dessert is one of the loveliest cannolis I’ve eaten in recent memory (the other was at Idlewild Bar).
For me, it has an ideal ratio of pastry shell to filling. I also love how the housemade citrus peel added to it brightens the flavour profile so beautifully.

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As for the appetisers at Bar Cicheti, the one that hogs the podium for me is the Braised Beef Tongue crostini with the tuna salsa and onion marmalade ($18++). However, the Beef Brisket Meatballs shown above ($15++) is a close second.
The handmade balls are large and unbelievably soft, and come in a tangy, lusciously thick tomato sauce. Thoughtfully served alongside to mop up every bit of that are a few pieces of housemade focaccia spread with a lemon-scented gremolata. When the flavours unite in the mouth, it’s simply incredible.

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H O S T E D
Rustled up spontaneously by co-owner and head chef Aun, this was one firecracker of a pasta that got all our approval. The al dente handmade strands were cooked with small lumps of spicy Nduja which is basically a type of salami. The glass of red co-owner and master sommelier Ronald poured for us, proved the perfect thing to wash it down with.

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H O S T E D
My second visit to this restaurant, this time courtesy of an invitation by Mango PR, cements it as one of my new favourite pasta places in Singapore. What’s more, if you can’t say no to wine pairing (and trust me, you shouldn’t), you can be sure Co-owner and Master Sommelier Ronald Kamiyama will ply you with some very excellent choices. We were grinning like the Cheshire Cat over his discerning selection, especially the exceptional and rare natural orange wine from Japan he pulled out for our final and very umami pasta.
Speaking of pastas, of the five Co-owner and Executive Chef Aun cooked for us last night, one of my top picks would be the NEW Jalapeño Pesto ($28++). Not to say the rest weren’t tasty because they all were but this is a must-try if you can handle hot food. It’s a brilliant combo of spiciness with a sourish note offset by a pounded mix of pistachios and pine nuts and ricotta salata.

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It wasn’t just that our order of the Reginette Carbonara ($29) was cooked a little too soft but because of the way @iamjaynedoe and I were made to feel like we weren’t welcomed.
So what tainted our experience?
Well, the tone and manner of one particular person whenever she spoke to us, and sadly, it wasn’t just a one-off thing. The first time was when we were standing outside the restaurant waiting to see if we could get a seat. Jayne was asked, “are you coming in or staying out?” in an impatient tone. Then after we requested politely if we could have counter seats, we were condescendingly and brusquely told nope, because those seats are very popular and had been booked. As you can imagine, being talked down to was affecting our appetite somewhat. Whilst clearing our empty plate, this person also made a little bit of a mess (some sauce got splashed on Jayne), yet she steadfastly refused to acknowledge it, let alone apologise. Payment was a rushed affair with zero eye contact.
All of this would have still been acceptable because everyone has good and bad days but what irked us very much was hearing how she spoke to the non-Asian guests who arrived after us (mind you, they were just normal walk-in customers as well).
The silver lining in this whole incident was how our desperate need for a drink to wash away the bad taste in our mouths led to Jayne finally stepping into the fantastically stylish “Jigger & Pony”. And I got to sip on a most aptly-named and stunningly delightful “Silk Martini” cocktail.

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The snap and crackle of the spicy anchovy crumbs turned the low-key quiet of the coiled squid ink fusilli into a full-blown party-in-the-mouth. Credit for the intense flavours in this must also be shared with the lumps of crab meat and the uni that seemed to have melted to become one with the sauce.
If you are sharing the pastas here, and I recommend you do, ask for this Nero Fusilli to be served last as it has a stronger taste profile and you will want to properly savour the lighter tasting ones first.

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Most people would order this for the Burratina because I mean, who wouldn’t be turned on by the silky-smooth blob that gives way to lusciously thick creaminess. But allow me to draw your attention to the sludgy brown puddle it rests on. That is housemade burnt onion jam and it is what elevates this dish to must-try status. Not only is it sweet from the caramelisation but the way that onion marmalade has been seasoned, zaps it with complex tastiness. Make sure to schmear a lot of it on the warm, crunchy sourdough along with a generous glob of the sea salt-sprinkled cheese to pack all the flavours into a single mouthful.
Then take a big bite, roll eyes in ecstasy and repeat.

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Can't cook to save my life but boy, can I eat! 😄 (I pay for all my meals unless otherwise stated)

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