T+L Reports: Singapore Slings Italian
While restaurants worldwide look to Asia for inspiration, Singapore's emerging food scene is taking its cues from Italy, convincing locals that char kway teow (fried rice noodles) and pepper crab are by no means the only reasons to break bread. Already a local celebrity for his rock-star looks and French-Japanese dishes at the restaurant Saint Pierre, executive chef Emmanuel Stroobant now turns out inventive plates at the silver organza–swathed dining room San Marco (1 Fullerton Square, eighth floor; 65/6438-4404; dinner for two $120). Try the creamed-spinach gnocchi with lemon thyme–smoked cod or roasted scallops with cashew salsa and tomato oil. At an unlikely location in an office park, Infuzi (10 Biopolis Rd., Chromos Block; 65/6478-9091; dinner for two $132) serves its own version of Italian modern: yellowfin-tuna carpaccio with anchovy–white truffle mayonnaise, and braised lamb shank wrapped in Parma ham and smoked eggplant. The pocket-sized trattoria Oso Ristorante (27 Tanjong Pagar Rd.; 65/6327-8378; dinner for two $130), set amid brightly hued shop-houses, prefers to update the classics (like bistecca fiorentina with melted scamorza). But the real buzz is over the minimalist Spizza (26B Lorong Mambong, Holland Village; 65/6468-1982; dinner for two $20) with its wood-fired version of the street snack, indulgently topped with salmon and mascarpone.
This casual, Italian chain has several locations throughout Singapore and has earned a loyal following with its selection of specialty, wood-fired pizzas. Diners can choose from such pies as the Isabella, topped with parma ham, mozzarella, and rucola salad, or the Quinta, topped with mozzarella, egg, and black truffle paste. The menu also features a selection of salads and classic baked pasta dishes, like lasagna, as well as a create your own pasta option, allowing patrons to customize their meals. Sweet pizzas topped with jam and peaches or Nutella and bananas are the perfect finish to a meal.
Housed in a colonial-style shophouse, Oso Ristorante serves authentic Italian cuisine crafted by renowned chef Diego Chiarini. The second-story dining room is designed with exposed wooden beams, upholstered banquettes, and candlelit tables, and additional seating is available on the small outdoor balcony. The ever-changing menu showcases the culinary traditions of various Italian regions, with possible highlights including whole-wheat stracci pasta with braised wild boar in red wine, and roasted venison loin with red currant berries and caramelized apple. Oso also includes a cigar room and Singapore’s first cheese room, displaying cheeses and cold cuts from around the world.
Located in the science and research—driven Biopolis neighborhood, Infuzi is a modern European eatery run by chef Freddie Lee. The high-ceilinged dining room is furnished with decorative glass walls, and small, intimate tables are illuminated by candlelight. The menu changes often but may include such specialties as the butter-roasted Maine lobster with raw vegetable salad and shellfish reduction, and the grilled chicken breast wrapped with jamón ibérico (Iberian ham) and aubergine. A special menu of dishes featuring white truffles is also available. The extensive international wine list emphasizes Burgundy and Bordeaux varietals, with many selections available by the glass.