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Spaghett-ular

The list where you find me having a rare plate of pasta.
Xing Wei Chua
Xing Wei Chua

Checked out the new For The People; a new cafe which had recently opened its doors at Hamilton Road, taking over the former premises of now-defunct 11 Hamilton and serves up a pretty good variety of items from all-day brunch, to pasta, burgers and mains alongside pastries and cakes and a list of beverages including specialty coffee, tea and alcoholic options.

Just wanting to go for something on the simpler side, the Garlic Aglio Olio is pretty decent — a rather safe dish to go for here. The linguine comes al-dente, carrying a firm bite and tossed in sufficient oil for that slurpy mouthfeel; came with bits of garlic and also a drizzle of white wine in the cooking process that helps to provide much of the flavour to the pasta. Providing patrons with an add-on to go for either Mushroom, Prawns or Bacon at an additional cost, the prawns which we had opted for were pretty plump and fresh and provided a natural sweetness to the dish. That being said, we wished that they had paid more attention in the plating of the dish; noticed some specks of tomato-based sauce that ended up on the plate and also on some of the prawns that seemed to be unintentional — details that should be better taken care of considering it being a specialty cafe after all.

Chanced upon this new cafe whilst exploring Marina Bay Link Mall named Infinity Cafe — one of the recent additions to the F&B tenants here that serves up a wide variety of pasta dishes and also main dishes alongside specialty coffee.

Featuring elements such as Lemongrass Broth Mussels, White Wine, Fried Garlic, Brown Butter and Cilantro Oil, the Mussels Chardonnay also comes with an option of either spaghetti or fettuccine pasta, which we opted for the latter. A pasta with a slight fusion element, this was a refreshing change from the usual pasta that features a cream-based or tomato-based sauce — the lemongrass broth provides a light and refreshing note that was actually quite appetising, creating a rather Thai-inspired flavour that is clean to the taste buds, perfuming through the entire plate, with just a very slight hint of savouriness from the brown butter to provide a bit of richness for the flavours to linger. Otherwise the crisp garlic bits provide a contrasting note that keep things interesting, while the fettuccine comes with a soft bite that would work well for those who prefer their noodles to be cooked for a little longer. Thought the only qualm was the mussels; it’s fairly decent if one isn’t too picky about it, but it would certainly work better if they were fresher.

Must say that business seems tough at the CBD; and particularly so in this part with most still working from home. Times may have changed, but hoping that these establishments located in the CBD will survive these storms ahead.

Tagliatelle, Egg Yolk Sauce, Crushed Black Pepper, Pecorino.

From La Mensa; a new concept by the same folks behind Muchachos and The Daily Cut with a focus on pasta, located at Tanjong Pagar Centre beside The Daily Cut where the now-defunct Henri Charpentier outlet used to be at.

While Carbonara is a fairly easy-to-find item around, La Mensa does one that is bound to please those who insists that Carbonara should never ever carry any cream-based sauce. For one, the tagliatelle is done al-dente; sufficiently firm and carries a good bite. Tossed in an egg yolk sauce, the Carbonara here carries ample eggy flavour that is well-supported by the slight savouriness of the shaved Pecorino; pretty flavourful and light — nowhere as heavy as the variants that use a cream-based sauce which provides a richness that some may scream “unauthentic” or being too jelak. The guanciale adds just slight saltishness of cured meat to the pasta, while the salt and pepper helps to further elevate the flavours by giving the pasta a bit of contrast.

At S$13.50, this is pretty much a steal — a Carbonara that is done in a style so simple, yet so rustic and refined even when compared to those of higher price points served at specialty cafes. I would gladly leave the argument on how “authentic” the pasta is to the traditionalists who often tell others about how Carbonara should be done without cream, but this is one Carbonara I most absolutely would want to have again — flavourful, and easy to finish; a must-try.

For those who still prefer not to dine-in at the current stage, La Mensa is also on Deliveroo for islandwide delivery and Waitrr for self pick-ups — just so you can also enjoy that marvellous plate of pasta in the comfort of your own home.

3 Likes

It’s pretty much known that Stateland Coffeehouse had since went through a revamp, and is now opened as Brotherbird Coffeehouse — now carrying a focus on their mochi croissants whilst serving up a smaller variety of all-day breakfast items, sides and desserts alongside specialty coffee and other beverages.

The Carbonara is part of the all-day breakfast menu here, and features elements such as Spaghetti, Poached Egg, Garlic Chips and Bacon. A fairly simple but satisfying rendition of the Carbonara, it is aptly creamy but not particularly jelak; pretty easy to have with the pasta being al-dente and laced with the cream sauce; the poached egg enhancing those textures further while the crisp provides a saltish note typical of cured meat. A pretty decent crowd-pleaser that also works well for a dinner item here too, considering how Brotherbird Coffeehouse is open all the way through dinner hours — great for the sweet-tooths craving for their mochi donuts paired with ice-cream which is still currently being offered here.

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From Linguine, situated at the Happy Hawkers food court at Blk 132 Jurong East Street 13 — a new hawker stalk that serves up a variety of pasta dishes using linguine as the only choice of noodles here.

Opted for one of their signature items on their menu; the Cheese Burger Pasta is essentially like a cheese burger in pasta form, coming with elements such as cheese, minced beef patty and mushroom. The pasta was done al-dente, carrying a good bite whilst laced with a sauce that carries a medley of meaty and cheesy notes; pretty savoury whilst also rather complimenting while one chews on the bits of minced meat. Otherwise, the mushrooms helped add a bouncy bite to the pasta, whilst adding an earthy note. An interesting twist to pasta, though probably also something that would be more suited for adventurous folks who would like to try something new and not too conventional.

2 Likes

From Ryan’s Kitchen; essentially the bistro concept of Ryan’s Grocer located at Great World City, serving up brunch, pasta, mains and burgers — they also do serve up meats where patrons can pick the various meats off the grocer, and they would be able to serve it up in the style of the patron’s preference.

The Carbonara here is pretty much no-frills; al-dente noodles tossed in a cream-based sauce that seems to be very much reduced for a creamy, savoury note that carries a slight hint of garlic. Served with pancetta and shavings of cheese, the pancetta provides the pasta with a hint of meatiness without being overly salty as opposed to the use of bacon at some places, while the cheese helps to further enhance the cream-based sauce with its savoury note. Pretty decent, though a little pricey at its price tag of $24 before taxes.

3 Likes

Visited Lino Pasta Bar at Shaw Centre over the past weekend, an offshoot of Lino by the Les Amis Group situated in the same area within the mall where their other restaurants such as Indigo Blue Kitchen and Tenjin are located. Here, only set menus are served for both lunch and dinner service, with patrons being able to opt between a two-course menu and a three-course menu, picking the variety of appetisers, mains/pasta and/or desserts listed on the menu.

If there is any place I would like to credit for making me fall in love so badly with this combination of ingredients for pasta, it would be South Union Park's Butternut Agnolotti — a dish that was long removed from their menu since. Piquing my interest when I skimmed through the menu here, this brings back those memories and familiar flavours — the filled pasta encases pumpkin and cheese (ricotta?); a medley of sweet-savoury flavours that goes together oh-so-well all wrapped within a pasta sheet that is sufficiently thick to hold the fillings within, yet without being too doughy, providing a good bite. Beneath the pasta lies the brown butter; provides a nutty and buttery note to the pasta that also helps to provide moisture to the pasta, while the pine nuts helped to add a roasty, nutty flavour that further enhances everything else on the plate. The sage gives the dish a crispness, whilst carrying a herby note that rounds everything off perfectly. Really enjoyed how this one was executed; very well-balanced, and everything that we love about this exact same list of ingredients thrown together — something which we would most certainly revisit Lino Pasta Bar when the cravings hit!

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Glad to see pasta making a comeback on Brawn & Brains' menu at East Coast Road! Introduced fairly recently and available all-day, the Cheese Crusted Beef Burger Spaghetti is an item that stays true to being the simple, unpretentious yet tasty fare that they are already known for. Coming with a Beef Burger Patty, this is not the same beef patty that the Double Cheeseburger has as much as it seems; the beef burger comes with a cheese crust laced on its exterior; almost akin to the melted cheese for the tortilla skin dish that the Guillemard branch already offers — savoury, crusty and chewy, while the beef patty is lovingly made by hand being flavourful, yet not particularly gamey and gives a good bite without crumbling into a mess. Inside the patty lies a surprise centre; oozy, melted cheese is hidden within as well as blanketing the patty that gives it extra texture and flavour — goes well with the al-dente pasta that is tossed with a tomato-based sauce. Really liked how the pasta comes with a hint of spiciness; partially from the pepper, but somehow also coming from the tomato-based sauce itself(?), providing a spicy kick that is immensely shiok and tickles the tastebuds even for those who are tolerable to moderate levels of spiciness, yet complimenting the refreshing, zingy flavours of the sauce very well. A dish that I really enjoyed; something which stays true to the character and style of Brawn & Brains — again, yet another item which I would see myself ordering if I am in for a main course to pair with the regular cuppa on the side.

2 Likes

Taking over the former premises of MexOut along Pekin Street, Tapasta Bar is a new concept that serves up customisable pasta and grain bowls in the day on weekdays, whilst serving up Tapas, pasta, grain bowls and burgers for dinner on weekdays, and all-day during weekends.

Opted for this item off the "Main" section of the menu, which comprises of elements such as homemade chicken meatballs (the same being available as a dish from their Tapas menu), spaghetti, and spicy tomato cream sauce. Thought the pasta was done a little bit past al-dente; not that it was bothersome but could have carried a little more bite. Laced in a spicy tomato cream, the tomato cream hits the spot for those who prefer a bit of richness over the usual tangy and light tomato-based sauces but also carrying a punchy spiciness that tingles the taste buds of those who can manage moderate levels of spiciness. The homemade chicken meatballs carried a good meaty bite, though could have been better if the exterior came more crisp for more texture. Despite minor improvements that could be made, a pretty enjoyable dish that was considerably delicious.

3 Likes

From MASH at Pek Kio, which is by the folks behind now-defunct GRIT at Pek Kio previously located at Pek Kio Market and Food Centre; MASH at Pek Kio had not moved far, with its new location situated just right opposite where GRIT at Pek Kio was at Blk 44 Owen Road.

Had been enjoying different variants of Carbonara lately, and this was yet another version that shone. Featuring elements such as Iberian Pork Jowl, Bacon, Pecorino and Truffle Oil, the Carbonara here is well-executed without being jelak. Despite the use of truffle oil, the truffle oil is not the dominant factor of the Carbonara here, which focuses on the creaminess and slight cheesiness with the al-dente linguine that carries a good bite. Really liked how they had included the Iberian Pork Jowl and Bacon here; the former helping to add a bit of chew with its chunkiness that was juicy and tender, while the latter being crisp — both adding a savoury note to the Carbonara to create that classic flavour. Overall, a pretty satisfying version that we would certainly go for again!

6 Likes

Came across a post about the pasta from this stall situated at Blk 204 Serangoon Central just a stone's throw away from Serangoon MRT Station and thought it would be good to make it my dinner plan over the weekend.

Probably one of the better Carbonara that I have ever came across from a Western food stall in a coffee shop. Wasn't expecting much initially, but the Carbonara was pretty well-executed considering how it came without an onslaught of cream (aka the way that it should have been done), yet coming with a hint of garlic and pepper; a rarity when it comes to Carbonara served from similar set-ups and at the price of S$7. Noodles were done al-dente, whilst the mushrooms helped to provide a chewy texture and an earthy note to cut through the richness of the dish, coming along with bacon bits for a savoury flavour profile with a tinge of smokiness. Really liked how the yolk came all jiggly, adding richness to the entire affair when mixed in. On a side note, the lady behind the counter was pretty enthusiastic, and they were running a promotion where patrons can like their Facebook page in order to roll dices which would entitle them different tiers of discounts for their orders; pretty creative, and a refreshing take on running a business in the F&B scene!

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Situated along Serangoon Road right beside Kombi Rocks Diner is Eleven Strands, a new French-inspired concept opened by the folks behind South Union Park at Jalan Kembangan which places an emphasis on their stellar handmade pasta, though also serving starters, mains, sides and desserts — some of which being classics at South Union Park.

New and exclusively available at Eleven Strands, the Bacon Spinach Cream is loosely inspired by the classic Carbonara, though with their own input which makes it vary from the Italian classic, hence the difference in name. We opted for the tagliatelle; the handmade pasta being al-dente without being too chewy nor brittle. Featuring bacon, baby spinach and cream, the cream sauce was not jelak nor too thick; instead, being pretty light on creaminess. The bacon is of high quality; thinly sliced, not too fatty and consistent in its cut — crisp with a bite without being too overly salty while being easy to bite. Liked how the spinach was soft, and balances the overall flavours with garlic chips helping to add slight contrast of flavours that was complementing to the whole dish. Overall, a crowd-pleaser done well, with all of the elements carrying flavours of similar intensity to balance things out; a surprisingly light cream-based pasta which just kept us going without bring heavy and overwhelming. Congratulations to the folks behind South Union Park/Eleven Strands for the opening of their new establishment, and wishing them all the best in the days to come!

6 Likes

Up, down and everywhere around for food.

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