September 16

Dinner at Pietrasanta

Ristorante Pietrasanta, located at Porstdown Road, is an Italian restaurant in Singapore of notable pedigree. Given the sheer number of Italian/French restaurants which have opened here (and sometimes rather quickly closed) in the past decade, the fact that Pietrasanta has an avid following and has continued to go strong is a testament to the quality of the dining experience provided. Reservations on weekends are a must.

I had the opportunity to revisit the restaurant early last week and, whilst not completely blown away, still rate the restaurant as serving up competent and authentic Italian cuisine. The main criticism I have is that the menu is in need of an overhaul and, like many successful restaurants, is beginning to lack a sense of inventiveness. That being said, I cannot emphasis enough that the dining experience is still an extremely credible, albeit pricey, one. Onto the food.

For starters we had fresh buffalo mozarella cheese with cherry tomatoes, the Italian meat platter and fresh burrata cheese, accompanied by the standard homemade bread and tomato dip.

Buffalo mozarella with cherry tomatoes

Buffalo mozarella with cherry tomatoes

Meat platter

Meat platter

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The buffalo cheese was fresh and we pretty much got what we paid for. I noticed, however, a significant decline in the quality of the fresh tomatoes served with the cheese. I can’t recall the type of cherry tomato that Pietrasanta used previously, but they were slightly longish rather than perfect spheres. Those were brilliant. The ones used in this version were good but nothing special. The meat platter was pretty good, the highlight of which was the fresh chorizo and parma ham. However, the aged parmesan served with the platter was uninspiring with none of the customary notes which are the hallmarks of an aged cheese. The burrata cheese (unpictured) was excellent. On the whole, the appetizers were competent if a little underwhelming.

The pastas fared significantly better however. We brought our own smoked-pork and the restaurant graciously obliged us by using it to prepare the two pastas pictured below. The penne was prepared with a cream-base that did not overwhelm the palate, probably due to the slight zesty-ness which helped cut through the fat. The aglio olio was also perfectly done with the garlic sliced just so.

Penne with Ubin-made smoked pork

Penne with Ubin-made smoked pork

Spaghetti aglio olio with Ubin-made smoked pork

Spaghetti aglio olio with Ubin-made smoked pork

We also ordered a bone marrow risotto which was beautifully prepared. The saffron infused risotto complemented the intense bone marrow flavour nicely.

Bone marrow risotto

Bone marrow risotto

For mains we had the lamb cutlets, grilled kurobuta pork belly and grilled Italian sea bream.

Lamb cutlets

Lamb cutlets

Kurobuta pork slices

Kurobuta pork slices

Barbequed Italian sea bream

Barbequed Italian sea bream

Let me be the first to put my hands up and admit that the fish was badly shot. However, the picture is as poor as the dish was. The fish, though well seasoned, had an irretrievable and unforgivable failing in that it was not fresh. There really is no way back from that.

The lamb cutlets, on the other hand, were extremely tender and perfectly cooked. So to were the kurabuta pork belly slices, although I personally felt that the charred taste overwhelmed my senses.

Taking everything in the round, I must admit that this was not the best of experiences I’ve had at Pietrasanta. It is perhaps because of my familiarity with the restaurant that I invariably expected more. That being said, I like the place enough and the impeccable service and my faith in the chef mean that I will certainly be returning. Every restaurant can have an off-day and one does not lightly write off such an established gem as Pietrasanta.

All images shot with a Canon EOS 700D on a 28mm f/1.8 USM lens; post-production, where required, was performed with Adobe Lightroom 5.

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