Fancy having some good Italian in a shopping centre along Orchard Road? Well then, look no further than Casa Tartufo. The first time that I heard an Italian restaurant was going to be open up along Orchard Road, the few shopping malls that came to mind were Paragon, Ngee Ann City and ION Orchard. So, imagine my amazement when I realized that it was to be located inside the Forum Shopping Centre. For readers who are unfamiliar with Forum it is situated in between the Hilton and Orchard Parade hotels and has Toys ‘R’ Us and its anchor tenant.
Opened by the husband-wife partnership of Alex (formerly of Garibaldi group) and Tammy, Casa Tartufo is a somewhat new kid on the Italian restaurant scene. Here’s a little background of the how the restaurant came about –
“One evening, we sat at a small restaurant that served the best truffle sandwiches in Italy. Whilst sipping our wine and nibbling on the divine sandwiches, we commented that there was nothing like this in Singapore. We thought it would be a dream to open a place like it. I think it was that very moment that sparked our passion for truffles and the desire to create Casa Tartufo.
Then we went to Piedmont on a two-week trip. There, we met ‘trifolai’ — truffle hunters — and spent a night with them and their dogs, searching for the ‘golden mushroom’. We also enjoyed making bids at the truffle auction. During the trip, we made very good and important contacts with the local suppliers. We also visited many wineries in search of the authentic taste of Piedmont wine, without the high prices of the most known Barolo and Barbaresco. All these years of working in F&B had given me the chance to be acquainted with numerous passionate wine-makers, and it was wonderful to introduce Tammy to them. We had a good time eating and drinking together with them whilst talking about our common passions: food and wine, naturally.
A few months later, we decided to take a big leap of faith and put our hearts and souls into the conceptualisation of our shared dream: Casa Tartufo. With Casa Tartufo, we aim to be the reference for truffles in Southeast Asia, trading the finest ingredients from Italy, France and the rest of the world, in order to give our guests the best products at the best prices all year round. I hope that you will enjoy tasting a piece of our story.
Walking into the restaurant makes you forget that you’re in a shopping mall. Dim lights and wooden furniture all serve to transport you from the environment of a mall to that of a cozy Italian home.
Note: Shown above is a half-portion.
There was a sense of familiarity when I walked into the restaurant too. The waiter, previously from Gattopardo and Da Paolo, recognized me and warmly welcomed me to the restaurant. No, there wasn’t going to be any special service or free desserts that afternoon, but it’s nice to see that Alex brought along some key members of his team from his previous restaurants.
Starting things off, the waiter suggested that we both shared one of their signature dishes, the Classic Tajarin with our Truffle Sauce (S$22++). How could I refuse such a suggestion? Casa Tartufo was after all, a restaurant that specializes in Truffles, no? (As of date of publishing, prices have since been increased to S$25++ and S$38++ with black truffles)
I liked it, to say the least. The Tajarin pasta was a first for me; Up till that afternoon, I had not tried Tajarin before. A quick search on Google after the meal made me realize how popular it was, especially in the Piedmont region of Italay. The truffle sauce was really delish! It embodied how a good truffle sauce should be – fragrant but not overwhelming,
This was one pasta that I could have a plate all to myself.
The other pasta dish that we had was Linguine Vongole, Cherry Tomatoes, White wine (S$26++). (As of date of publishing, prices have since been increased to S$30++)
A classic but safe pasta choice. The pasta was cooked perfectly and the clams were fresh and devoid of sand.
The pièce de résistance of the meal, however, was not Truffle-based. It was none other than, the Veal Chop Milanese in Grissini crust, Tomato and Rucolo (S$38++) yet again, came highly recommended by the service staff. On my visit, the veal chop Milanese was offered as a special of the day and thus was not on the menu. (As of date of publishing, the Veal Chop Milanese was in the ala carte menu and the price has since been increased to S$48++)
It was really good! I’ve tried many a veal milanese and frankly nothing comes close to what Casa Tartufo had to offer. The technique used to fry the veal chop was excellent and the result, sublime. The veal chop had a crispy exterior yet the meat was succulent and tender. Admittedly, not the most healthy of options, but nothing a few more games on the tennis court wouldn’t help!
I had no complaints of the portion size but I just hoped that there were more tomatoes, just to give that bit of sweetness in contrast to the dish. While good, it got a bit monotonous towards the end.
Dessert was however, what brought the meal down. I thought that the Banana Crepe flambe, Madagascar Vanilla Ice-cream (S$15++) was a good alternative, in contrast to the other boring choices a.k.a. the Tiramisu and Chocolate Fondant amongst others. What’s more, it was to be prepared table-side which made it all the more alluring. I thought it was an average dessert at best. After the excellent truffle pasta and the veal chop, I was really looking forward to something worthy of praise, alas that was not to be the case. (As of date of publishing, the banana Crepe flambe was no longer in the menu)
Casa Tartufo, Io tornero!
Forum Shopping Mall, #01-17
583 Orchard Rd, Singapore 23884
Telephone: +65 68364647
Open every day
Lunch: 11.30pm to 2.30pm
Dinner: 6.00pm to 10.00pm