Latteria Mozzarella Bar – For Cheese Lovers

19 12 2012

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

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The Big Sheila – “Inspired food. Life made easier.”

8 12 2012

It’s been a 3 week hiatus from blogging, as I became a social recluse to prep for my SMU finals. Finally emerging from my cave, my first stop was at The Big Sheila, a new restaurant just slightly over a month old located in the vicinity of Siglap.

I was first introduced to The Big Sheila by Janice, a food PR consultant, and one thing I have learnt over the years is to trust their judgments when it comes to food. After all, who else would be more in the know about local F&B happenings? A week after Janice’s recommendation, Tan Hsueh Yun published an article about The Big Sheila on The Sunday Times. “Drat, it was going to be more difficult to secure a seat now”, I thought to myself.

The Big Sheila is the brainchild of Fleur Glover, an Aussie who courageously set aside her career in IT to pursue what she was truly passionate about – food no less. Her establishment houses 3 tables outdoors and 2 indoors (not including the large indoor communal table), with a capacity of about 30 people based on my estimates. Hence, reservations are recommended should you want to dine in. Of course, there’s the option of ordering online and getting the food delivered conveniently to your doorstep as well.

There are 2 seatings for dinner and even as my party arrived at 830pm for the 2nd seating, the place was still packing a full house (on a weekday night). Impressive.

I liked the vibes here. It felt less of a restaurant and more like a friend’s place, very much like the feel I got from Bistro Soori and it does help that the staff are passionate about what they do, hyping up each dish with a detailed explanation of where the ingredients are sourced from and how each dish is prepared.

The food menu takes the form of a conspicuously displayed blackboard, allowing for flexibility and evolving nature of Fleur’s craft.

To complement our meal, we got a bottle of Sauvignon Blanc from Tinpot Hut, New Zealand ($39 + $15 corkage), which came as a recommendation by the staff. It’s a light bodied white wine with quite a long finish (aka aftertaste) and a crisp texture, going pretty well with the light, natural tasting dishes here.

The Chicken Caciatore ($20++) consists of chicken pieces slow cooked with olives, orange, lemon, bay leaf, white wine & button mushrooms. Some might find the flavour a little on the bland side but personally, I believe that this was tastefully done, adhering to their concept of home-cooked western fare, where the emphasis lies in natural flavours and healthy living.

The Beef Bourguignon ($20++) is a typical French dish made by slow braising beef, bacon, shallots, mushrooms, carrots & celery in a red wine sauce. The staff asserted that the accompanying baguettes were brought in from France, though I wonder how that was done given that they tasted fresh, perhaps she meant the ingredients for the baguettes helm from France. It is rare for me to finish up a whole roll of bread but this was so crisp and toasty that I found no trouble at all, not when there’s a hearty tangy stew to dip the bread in as well. My only gripe was that the cut of beef was slightly too lean for my liking.

I have never been a fan of chicken schnitzel and have never come across one that has made me sit up and take extra notice. The Chicken Schnitzel ($16++) here, a Deep Fried herbed crumbed Chicken Breast with Apple Mint & Baby Caper Slaw & Aioli, didn’t change my beliefs.

I loved the Beef in a box ($14++), which is a dish of Aussie ribeye, Caramelized Onions & Mustard. Although the beef is prepared beforehand if I’m not mistaken, it still remained tender and moist. Plus, who doesn’t love caramelized onions right?

Desserts were fairly decent too. The Tim Tam Cheesecake with Caramel Ganache (can’t remember what the actual names for the desserts but this should be fairly close) found favour with all my friends. The mild-tasting cheesecake is sandwiched between a biscuit base that is reminiscent of tim tams and the glaze on top tastes of lightly salted caramel, with the combination working surprisingly well.

However, I was the sole person who preferred the Chocolate Truffle with Almonds and Whiskey Soaked Prunes, which is made using rich Valrhona chocolate. It’s a bit heavier and drier than the cheesecake but it tastes great, ending off a memorable experience at The Big Sheila.

Before leaving, K ordered an additional cake to go. I’m not sure how it tasted but I was definitely impressed with the take-away packaging. Very glam indeed.

In a nutshell, what one can expect at The Big Sheila is food that is hearty, ambience that is chic yet homely, service that is friendly and attentive, and prices that are extremely reasonable.

The Big Sheila

15 Swan Lake Avenue

Tel: +65 6645 4422








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