April 30, 2015
In ITALY Bar Ristorante @ Craig Road ~ An Italian Restaurant For The Most Delicious Vongole!
Truth to be told, In ITALY Bar Ristorante was not my first choice when it came to deciding on a dining place for my friend's birthday dinner. It happened on a Sunday this year, a day when quite a few restaurants that I'm eyeing are closed, including the one which I really really want to bring him to. Well, I shall keep quiet about the identity of that place until his next birthday..... ssssshhh..... :p
In ITALY is not the latest ultra-hip new kid on the block, nor those super-pricey or award-winning fine-dining establishments where you can earn post-meal bragging rights. However, it is not without good reason that it's recommended by my trusted foodie friends.
And the good reason is simply: The food is good.
Located on Craig Road which is pretty close to the Duxton Hill and Tanjong Pagar precinct, the facade of the conserved shophouse where In ITALY is nestled within already scored a first win for its charming appeal. It would not be too far off to say vibes are rustic, comfortable and homey all at once. I love restaurants like this which doesn't have the overly commercial feel.
It is in this lovely place that In ITALY serves up its repertoire of Italian gastronomic delights, helmed by Chef Mario Caramella from Milan who has an impressive 30-year culinary career spanning various countries.
Though a glance at the menu did not induced much surprises, it still pleases much with the likes of quintessential favorites such as Burrata Cheese - Creamy Buffalo Milk Burrata Cheese with Parma Ham & Heirloom Tomatoes ($28/$45), Prosciutto e Melone - Parma Ham with Cantaloupe Melon ($28), Risoni al Nero - Squid Ink Pasta ($28) and Tagliatelle with Authentic Bolognese Ragu Sauce ($22).
What's puzzling was: I didn't see any pizza among the selection. Why huh?
We indulged in Ficato Di Sette Cannola ($28), a beautifully seared piece of luscious foie gras paired with pumpkin cream for starters, but not without giving in to the allure of the bread basket first. If you're wondering what that piece of puffed-up "zig zag edges" thing is, it's actually Beer Bread. Ahh, bread infused with beer and deep-fried to a golden hue. Nice! But felt a tad greasy after a while.
The Risotto with Smoked Eel ($32) came in a vibrant shade of red, all natural from the beetroot and red berries, but its overall flavor doesn't quite resonate with our tastebuds.
For the main course, Deboned Roasted Quail Breasts ($38) was quite an unexpected choice for us, as we don't usually fancy breast meat but was attracted to the black truffle sauce which made the dish sounded so promising. The breast meat turned out to be a wondrous piece of tender goodness wrapped in saltish crisp pancetta and rolled with creamy foie gras in the centre. The interplay of savory flavors and contrasting textures was gorgeous!
We would gladly return for this, as well as the Trenette alle Vongole ($25) which I would boldly declare to be one of the very best rendition I've ever tasted. The freshness of the plump clams were indisputable, imparting a natural sweetness to the glistening linguine (birthday must eat noodles for longevity :p) that was perfectly al-dente. I suspect the monté au beurre method is applied here, with butter added as a finishing touch to emulsify that extra richness taste and mouthfeel into the dish. This is an epitome of an ordinary pasta dish executed to extra-ordinariness!
If we had known earlier that food portions are generally quite hearty, we wouldn't have ordered the sides of Patate Schiacciate - Crushed Potatoes with extra virgin olive oil & Maldon Salt ($6) and Porcini Mushrooms ($10). Again, servings were generous. We over-ordered for two persons!
Thanks to In ITALY's kind gesture of a complimentary Chocolate & Hazelnut Fondant ($16) upon knowing that I'm reserving the table for a birthday dinner. Service was superbly attentive and considerate that I didn't even have to signal when to bring out cake lol!
In ITALY Bar Ristorante
Address: 38 Craig Road, Singapore 089676
Contact: +65 6423 0918
Opening Hours: Lunch Sun-Fri 12pm-2.30pm (Closed for Sat lunch) / Dinner Sun-Thu 6pm-10.30pm, Fri & Sat 6pm-12am