This place totally exceeded our expectations. I can’t believe it’s taken us this long to finally come here, given that it’s just a short walk away from A’s office. Now that A won’t be at this office much longer, we decided we better get our asses here while it was still convenient.
We had a late-ish dinner here on Friday, at pretty short notice. I called at 7.30 for an 8.30 reservation and thankfully managed to get one. The experience started out on a slightly low note, because when we got there at 8.30 sharp, they didn’t have an available table for us yet. We had to wait rather unglam-ly outside the restrooms while they waited for a table to finish up so that we could have it. We managed to be seated about 15 minutes after we arrived.
That aside, the rest of the evening was great. We always steered clear because it looked quite stuffy and posh from outside, but once inside it’s quaint and cozy, with a generally unpretentious and quite boisterous crowd. Service is good – pleasant but not patronizing. And the food…
We shared the Proscuitto with melon – a tad boring but this was a really amazing version of the dish. The melon was like honey, and the ham here was wafer-thin, well cured, and didn’t have that quality that some lower grade parma hams do, where they can’t be cut and you have to swallow the entire slice in one gulp.
We shared two main courses. First was one of their house specialities - the Beef Tenderloin with red wine and chocolate sauce. At first I didn’t taste the chocolate, but after a while, stronger and stronger hints of it came through. It wasn’t overpowering or even very sweet. It just added a nice depth and richness to the sauce. This was very tasty but didn’t completely blow us away.
What did, was the Stracci (unevenly cut pasta shapes) with scallops and prawns in saffron cream sauce. The menu has 2 sections – Pasta, and Home-made Pasta. Most of the items in the home-made pasta section are raviolis and tortellinis; the stracci was the only non-filled pasta. It was amazing – rich yet not too heavy or cloying, and quite generous with the scallops and prawns. And the pasta was silky smooth with a firm bite.
Portion sizes were just nice for us to try a dessert each. I had the panna cotta with amaretto, and A had the apple pie with ricotta cheese and vanilla ice cream.
The apple pie was quite rustic and heavy, but I really liked the pie crust. Surprisingly the panna cotta was much better – it was pretty much a spiked crème caramel, and was still light enough that I could probably finish one portion myself next time.
This is probably the best Italian restaurant that isn’t Valentino’s. It’s certainly my top choice for satisfying a last minute spontaneous Italian craving, since Valentino’s always requires at least 2 days’ advance booking.
Starters and desserts are substantial but the mains are very small. Perfect for a full 3-course meal, although honestly, I might have two mains instead (1 pasta and 1 meat).
11 Craig Road
Lunch: 12 noon - 2.30pm
Dinner: 6.30pm - 10.30pm
Closed on Sunday