A few weeks back, I remember reading somewhere in the newspapers or magazines that “French is the new Italian”. This was in reference to the recent sprouting of French bistros and restaurants in Singapore. Well, fans of Italian cuisine, fret not; there’s a new kid in town – OTTO Locanda.
Some time back in February/March, Chef Michele Pavanello of OTTO Ristorante, told me of his plans to open up a casual, informal Italian trattoria at Maxwell Chambers. Of course, the location at Maxwell Chambers makes perfect sense; OTTO Ristorante is a short walk away being located at the red dot Traffic Building.
So when Chef Michele told me that they were hosting a private dinner for his business associates and regular customers to try the new menu, I was more than delighted to attend.
OTTO Locanda is located in the corner of Maxwell Chambers – former premises of Osvaldo and the short-lived L’Angolo.
Although the restaurant is less atas (i.e. less of a fine dining ambience) as compared to its sister restaurant, there are some chi-chi elements to the restaurant. For starters, the decor is one and the pricing does suggest being somewhere in the middle of a casual restaurant and a fine dining restaurant. But, let’s face the facts – this restaurant is located right smack in the CBD (And with the rising rents situation in Singapore, this is to be expected.)
We were there before the restaurant opened to the public, so service was something that needed to be polished. That said, the presence of the affable lady manager, Kylee, more than made up for it. One of the waiters who hails from Philippine was with OTTO Ristorante for the past 4 years, so there’s some sense of familiarity for the regular customers.
The kitchen is helmed by Italian Chef Fabiano Davide. Being a casual trattoria, the food that Chef Fabiano serves up is best described as safe. To be truthful, there were no big surprises, just simple comfort food. Alright……………. one of the desserts was really good (so please read on…)
I understand that this being a trattoria and all, but it would have been nice if some of the breads that were served at OTTO Ristorante were served here as well. (Thinks about the onion bread…)
Italian Mozzarella di Bufala cheese and tomato caprese style salad (S$22++)
How wrong can you go with fresh mozzarella cheese and fresh tasting tomatoes? There is absolutely no way.
Baked layers of Melanzane alla Parmigiana tomato, parmesan cheese and mozzarella (S$22++)
The melanzane was a tasty dish to start the dinner with – A safe choice.
Deep fried calamari Fritti with spicy on the vine tomato sauce (S$22++)
This might come across as a mini surprise, but the calamari was to me, the best dish of the evening.
The squid was cooked perfectly – it was not chewy in any way and the freshness of the squid shown through. The tomato sauce that accompanied the calamari was a delight to have too!
Linguine with seafood allo Scoglio with fresh tomatoes and parsley (S$30++)
The seafood linguine pasta was good – especially with fresh seafood. The clams are definitely worth a special mention. (I spied a Vongole on the menu too – with fresh clams like that, I would believe that it would be quite a good choice.)
Some parts of the pasta were not cooked evenly though with small sections being under cooked and for some, perhaps a little more sauce could have been put in – the pasta did come across as being slightly dry.
Caserecce pasta with roman style braised ox-tail sauce (S$26++)
This was definitely one of the heavier tasting pastas and may not suit everyone’s palate. I could have done with a little more sauce in this pasta dish as well – like the seafood linguine, it did come across as a little dry.
Steamed Salmone al Vapore fillet with lemon and vegetables (S$34++)
The salmon is definitely one for the ladies with both its delicate texture and flavour.
By the way, the salmon is done sous-vide rather than steamed. The dish is described as being steamed because more people would be able to relate to its texture better.
Rosemary scented char-grilled Braciola pork chop (S$36++)
The cooking of this dish is done in 2 steps.
First, the pork chop is done sous-vide to ensure that cooking of the pork chop is cooked evenly.
Then, the pork chop is placed on a charcoal grill to give it the char-grill marks and to lend the familiar char-grill flavour.
In theory, the dish sounds perfect. Unfortunately, we were a little disappointed with the execution. Yes, a small portion of the pork was beautiful (and by beautiful, ever-so slightly pink). However, a significant portion of it was cooked well-done, thus rendering it to be quite a tough piece to savour.
Meringue cake Meringata with chocolate sauce (S$12++)
This Meringata came highly recommended from the manager, Kylee and trust me, the recommendation was excellent. The shell melts in your mouth and the ice-cream encrusted within glides slowly down your throat.
Vanilla Pannacota with berries coulis (S$12++)
Don’t you agree that the panna cotta is quite the beauty, with the contrast in colours and all?
Tiaramisu’ Otto Locanda Style (S$12++)
The ubiquitous Italian dessert was good and posed no s
There were some misses in the meal, but with the restaurant being in its infancy, I suggest give it a little while to get those straightened out. But, considering the dining scene in Singapore, with new restaurant seemingly popping up ever so often, has made the bulk of the restaurant go-ers quite the unforgiving bunch.
I earnestly wish Chef Michele and the team at OTTO Locanda all the best and I definitely will be paying them another visit when I’m back in Singapore again.
#01-03 Maxwell Chambers
32 Maxwell Road, Singapore 069115