Oso Ristorante – More Style Than Substance

29 07 2010

I’m not a fan of fine dining. For the nouveau riche, fine dining typically translates into extravagant meals marked by impeccable service with acquaintances of similar social standing. Coming from a humble background, fine dining presents itself to me as a stressful meal where I have to cautiously scrutinize my every move lest I fumble and commit any faux pas. It’s a pity most of the best restaurants portray themselves as fine dining eateries, leaving me with little choice but to suck up any social arkwardness for a potentially rewarding meal.

While many restaurants fall under the “fine dining” category in Singapore, some are just more fine dining than others. Oso has a blend which suits me well. The place while not overly posh, is uncompromising on service standards and the food remains decent despite the leash on cost(at least for the Set Lunch).

Oso’s 3-Course Set Lunch is priced affordably at $32++, though not inclusive of coffee/tea which costs $4.80++ a cup. Quite tricky there and I was one to fall for it, since most other fine dining establishments include beverages and charge a slight premium to the comparatively cheaper $32++ priced here. What I like about the set lunch is that the menu varies weekly, hence you are never bored by the same old generic set lunch you had here a month ago.

I wasn’t impressed by the complimentary Bread Platter which came served at room temperature.

Complementary Bread

A common feature of fine dining, which I feel is utterly redundant, is the lengthy names of the dishes. Obvious attempts to add flattering sophistication to the food no doubt.

The Pan Fried Crispy Parma Ham Tartar “Piadina” Style with Salad & Balsamico was actually somewhat like a thin Murtabak. The Parma Ham wasn’t the lengthy thin crisp pieces found commonly on pizza but was more of a pork mince encrusted within the…for want of a better word, I shall say prata. Piadina is actually an Italian Flat bread, but it sounds pretty similar to prata, no?

Pan Fried Crispy Parma Ham Tartar "Piadina"Style with Salad & Balsamico

Still down with a persistent cough, I chose a hearty Soup as my starter. The soup wasn’t particularly memorable though I was glad the pepper wasn’t overbearing. I do like clams though!

Green Asparagus & Spinach Soup with Clams & Black Pepper "Impepata"

I had a try of all 3 mains available for the Set Lunch. We should have gotten a hint when the restaurant decided to add the word “Vegetarian” for this pasta dish. It’s often and particularly in this case, synonymous with “bland” and “unappetizing”. Even the creamy nutmeg sauce provided little respite from the lacking flavour.

Vegetarian "Rotoli" Pasta filled with Eggplant Ragout & Nutmeg Sauce

The plethora of colours just makes this look ever the more palatable. I normally associate capers with tartar sauce and tricking friends into eating them whole, that’s about it. Today I learnt that it actually goes well with Stingray! I loved the Stingray, somehow Oso managed to cook it to a nice tender texture with a hint of fattiness not commonly associated with Stingray. And don’t let the picture decieve you, the portion is actually huge and what I’d expect to get for $12 at an ECP BBQ foodstall.

Stewed Stingray "Razza" Fish with Capers, Tomato & Vegetable Ratatouille

I’m quite the leg person and I prefer thighs to breasts, and that’s not only limited to food if you get what I mean haha. The Chicken Breast here was fairly done, nothing bad enough to complain about but nothing good enough to rave about either. The Mash didn’t dazzle me either, it wasn’t smooth enough for my liking and the hint of  truffles was barely noticable to make a significant impact.

Poached Chicken "Pollo" Breast with Almond, Mash Potato with Black Truffle Puree

My favourite among the 3 desserts available for this week’s set lunch, who can say no to a warm White Chocolate Cake? It looks deceptively simple yet it agrees with my palate. Actually I think I might choose this over a conventional Chocolate Lava Cake.

White Chocolate & Mascarpone Cake with Sweet Wine Sauce

It’s just a slightly cooked Pineapple with what I thought to be Vanilla Ice Cream, enough said.

Pineapple Confit with Star "Stellato" Anise served with Saffron Ice Cream

An above average Creme Brulee with nice plating but where’s the Nougat?

Almond & Nougat "Torrone" Creme Brulee & Almond Milk Sauce

The one thing I really like about Oso is the fact that they bother to plate their dishes nicely. The one thing I didn’t like was that the nicely plated food didn’t have much of a wow factor. It’s definitely decent but comes up short if I were to say that it’s at the forefront of Italian Cuisine in Singapore. However, I’m sure the not so extravagent Set Lunch does inhibit Oso’s range of ingredients used and I’m sure (hopefully) that an ala carte session here in the future will do Oso more justice.

Bon Appetit!



TEL: +65 6327 8378

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