Compared to the Chinese, the Italians sure love to complicate things. When ordering bak chor mee (minced meat noodles), we state whether we want mee pok or mee kia, but when an Italian guy orders pasta, he will state whether he wants linguine, spaghetti, tagliatelle, penne or fettuccine and so on. Growing up, I have encountered so many instances where I have felt lost and bewildered staring at the menu of an Italian restaurant, wondering what the words meant.
Pompous as many Singaporeans are, I strutted in confidently to Latteria Mozzarella Bar, smirking that the days of being an “unseasoned” diner was now long behind me. However, a glance at the menu knocked me off my high horse immediately. To think there are over 10 different variants of mozzarella coming in differing shapes, size and density, each with a unique name! Lucky for me, a glossary was provided on the menu to explain each one.
Latteria Mozzarella Bar is a relatively new place just over a year old if I’m not mistaken but the local food scene is evolving so fast that one can hardly distinguish the definition of new anymore.
Choice of indoor and outdoor seating is available and my party chose the rustic indoor seats given our affinity with air conditioning. Based on observation though, outdoor seats tend to be more popular, especially with the expat crowd, which forms a major clientele for Latteria.
The good thing about Latteria is that food portions are ideal for sharing.
We started off with a Fresh Burrata ($30++). Burrata means “Buttered” in Italian, and is one of my favourite appetizers for Italian meals. It’s made such that a shell of mozzarella encases a rich core of mozzarella and cream. The one here was very decent with a density that was just right, complementing the sweet peppers, cherry tomatoes and rocket leaves well.
The Nodini Pugliesi, Parma Prosciutto ($22++) is also worth trying. Nodini Pugliesi (hiding under the parma ham) are little marshmallow-sized balls of mozzarella that are more dense that Burrata and given the mild-tasting nature of mozzarella, it helps to buffer against the saltiness of parma ham well.
Despite being an Italian joint, I actually found most the meat mains a lot more stellar than the risottos and pastas, the Slow Roasted Lamb Shanks, Chickpeas & Red Wine Casserole ($30++) being such an example. Devoid of gaminess and a fork tender texture sealed the deal. Portions were super generous as we got 2 shanks.
The Linguine Vongole ($25++) was the best pasta dish of our meal. The white wine sauce is a little different here from the usual renditions as some cheese had been added to the white wine base, giving an extra dimension of creamy flavours in addition to the bittersweet flavours of clams.
I would recommend avoiding the Oregano Risotto ($25++), which I think is really yellow due to the use of pumpkin squash. It was really bland, not sweet nor cheesy and if not for the gravy from the lamb shank which I paired the risotto with, it would have been highly unpalatable.
What surprised me most was the Tagliata-style Sirloin ($35++). Done perfectly to medium rare, the quality of the sirloin far exceeded what I had expected given the price range, with visible light marbling and tasty oils oozing with each bite.
The Truffle and Smoked Mozzarella Risotto ($25++) was another let down, as it lacked cheesiness and was bland as well.
When the Porcini and burrata pasta bake ($25++) arrived, my friends jested that it looked like baked pasta from pasta mania. They weren’t that far off though, as the quality of the cheese was probably the main distinguishing factor.
Similar to the Pasta Bake, but way most aesthetically pleasing was the Mac & Cheese ($25++), which was served in a hollowed out pumpkin.
The Tiramisu ($15++) is definitely meant to be shared. In fact, I would go as far as to say that it can easily satisfy dessert cravings for 3-4 pax easily. Taste-wise, it’s rather run of the mill, but with brownie points awarded for the very smooth mascarpone.
As many hits as there were misses, Latteria failed to leave much of an impression apart from the laudable meat dishes.
Latteria Mozzarella Bar
40 Duxton Hill
Tel: +65 6866 1988