Itâ€™s not easy to find great pasta in Singapore. At least thatâ€™s what weâ€™ve concluded, from personal experience and discussions with pasta-holics. Youâ€™ve probably got a go-to Italian place whenever that craving kicks in, but can you really say it serves pasta so sublime youâ€™d recommend it to anyone and everyone without hesitation? Yeah, thatâ€™s what we thought.
So itâ€™s a nice surprise that Keong Saik Roadâ€™s new Pasta Bar comes damn near to perfection. With 11 types painstakingly handmade fresh daily at the bar counter, the eatery sure knows and loves its carb of choice. Chef Alessandro Giustetti from Genova, Italy, calls the shots in the kitchen, bringing his laidback warmth to the stove with dishes that strive to be as authentic as possible, as a tribute to his home country.
Each pasta strand is made withÂ variations of flour, such as soft wheat, semolina, and truffle, folded in with different parts of the egg andÂ water in changing temperatures or amounts. Clearly, the idea is to treat everyÂ creation with precision, putting aside aÂ one-size-fits-all mentality. Pasta isnâ€™t just pasta hereÂ â€” each dough has its own distinct identity.
But with this much attention paid to pasta alone, you can expect the prices to reflect the amount of work that goes into preparing each dish. Antipasti items start from $18 for buffalo milk ricotta, pastas range from $26 to $40, and mains are priced between $32 to $38.
That being said, the dinner-only joint is ideal for intimate dates, serving its comfort food in a cozy and welcoming spaceÂ that has 18 seats around the kitchen counter and 16 more around the high and low tables in a rustic, homely style. To start, the arrosticini ($19) offers youÂ aromaticÂ sticks of grilled lamb skewersÂ plated in a terracotta pot with rosemary-infused olive oil,Â while the veal tongue ($24) is an absolute melt-in-the-mouth pleasure thatâ€™s servedÂ unfussilyÂ with pickled vegetables.
Speaking of meltingly scrumptious, the restaurantâ€™s tortelli ($26), stuffed with pumpkin and sage,Â may sound deceivingly simpleÂ â€” but its smooth andÂ velvety mouthfeel is next-level exquisite. We could luxuriate in a bathtub full of that filling, just sayinâ€™. And if youâ€™re not squeamish about dining on a particular household pet, the rabbit ragu pappardelle ($30)Â cooks its meat tender,Â tossed with sprinklings of pine nuts and pasta thatâ€™s made with two types of flour.
Carbonara ($29) and gnocchi ($28) appear on the menu as well, but for something more uncommon, the lagane ($28)Â brings together chickpeas with chilli and spicy garlic for a delightfully creamy consistency with a touch of heat that can warm even the coldest hearts. You could technically fill up on appetizers before this, but by god, youâ€™ll keep charging on once you get your first taste.
Hailing from Southern Italy,Â the dish features sheets of pasta that are eggless, with a chewier texture fromÂ a mixture ofÂ flour and water. (Fun fact: lagane is believed to be the oldest-known written recipe of pasta). The more popularly-known lasagne finds its roots in lagane, and itâ€™s offered here ($26) as well, but in extremely limited quantitiesÂ â€” so once itâ€™s sold out, itâ€™s gone.
Besides pasta, the place serves meats like black cod with couscous and mussels ($34) and pork rib terrine ($32), alongside greens such as grilled asparagus ($12) and sautÃ©ed broccolini ($10).
To end, imbibe some liquid calories with the Truffled Old Fashioned (truffle-infused scotch with shaved truffles) or The Last CaffÃ¨, made with butter vodka, espresso, and chocolate bitters. Otherwise, make space in your stomach for the Sicilian cannolo ($14) that adds red wine to its pastry dough so those tannins cut nicely through the richness of the sheepâ€™s milk ricotta. Or if youâ€™ve ever wondered how Nutella could be made more glorious than it already is, try the restaurantâ€™s friedÂ rendition with raspberry compote ($14).
Pasta Bar is at #01-05, 55 Keong Saik Rd.
MRT: Outram Park
This article, Keong Saikâ€™s new Pasta Bar delivers its goods fresh and handmade with oodles of flavor, originally appeared on Coconuts, Asia’s leading alternative media company. Want more Coconuts? Sign up for our newsletters!