Posts Tagged ‘squid ink pasta’

Paddy Hills

Paddy Hills is one of those cafes which serves full-fledged meals, as opposed to just pastries and coffee. With so many cafes in Singapore, more than 200 (?), gone are the days where a simple eggs benedict or an all day breakfast fry up will suffice. To have staying power in this fickle cafe scene, the focus is very much back on the quality and repertoire of the menu. Have your food Instagram friendly, but let that not be the only factor. Certainly for me at least, I would not have made the journey across from the Eastern end of Singapore to the West, if not for the promise of a unique experience. Food focussed Cafes, that’s what we need more of now, and that’s where you can bring your parents without them asking you “so where’s the food”?

Paddy Hills Lunch Menu

I must say Paddy Hills boasts a very interesting menu. There were so many items on the menu that I wanted to try, although being an egg fan, I did wish that they could have included their sous vide egg into more of the dishes. I’m not one for mixing sweets with savoury though. I did so very much want to try the Orange Ricotta Pillows, but what’s a coconut ice cream doing in the midst of it?

Paddy Hills - The Maze $22 (3)

The Maze $22 – Creamy mash, lamb meatballs, cauliflower fritters, polenta chips, crumbled manchego & sous vide egg.

I ordered this, mainly because of the creamy mash, cauliflower fritters and sous vide egg. And they were so good and filling enough that I didn’t even touch a single lamb meatball! The creamy mash retained bits of textural chunks and had truffle oil or essence infused into it. The cauliflower fritters were delightfully crunchy and sweet. And the sous vide egg….wonderfully tender, almost like eating clouds. If you’re wondering, 5 lamb meatballs are currently sitting in my freezer, waiting for the day when I will thaw them out. 2 meatballs were consumed by my mother and the Partner that day. Not bad, for the price of 1 brunch I get two meals out of it!

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Trattoria Cucina Italiana

Lately I’ve been into pizzas after knowing about a friend’s interest in opening a pizza joint. I am definitely no expert in pizzas, but I think that many Singaporeans are mistaken when they think they like thin and crispy pizzas as compared to thick bready based pizzas. Thick, bready based pizzas are definitely a no-no, and we all know which American chain introduced us those sub-standard pizzas. But thin and crispy pizzas are not the way to go either. I tried Skinny Pizza once and regretted the experience. It’s so crispy, it’s like eating crackers with toppings rather than pizza.

I am told that making the correct Italian style pizza base requires not only skill, but a really hot wood fired oven. Get the equation wrong, and you end up with everything but the real thing. Apparently the real base still tastes doughy and is moist. When you’ve tried that, you won’t ever turn back again. IeatIshootIpost has done a really good description of what an Italian styled pizza should be like.

As for me, as I said, I’m no expert so I’ll just focus on reporting about the possibly good pizzas I’ve tried lately. One of them comes from Trattoria Cucina Italiana, also known as Trattoria Italian Kitchen located conveniently at 313@ Somerset. First opened in Bali, Indonesia in 2002 by 2 Italians Edoardo Guerrini and Olivari Vanni, Trattoria Cicina Italiana restaurants can also be found in Jakarta, Medan, KL and Singapore.

Have a pizza

Trattoria Cucina Italiana Mushroom Pizza

I thought the taste was very good. It had a rich tomato sauce base with liberal amounts mozzarella oozing all over the place. The base was still moist and slightly floppy. Huge portion for just over $20 bucks!

Trattoria Cucina Italiana Squid Ink pasta with Salmon

Squid Ink pasta with salmon. I have to admit the presentation was a little shocking. Looked like a plate of fat black worms. Maybe black pasta should not be tube shaped…tagliatelle would be a better choice, but then again, that might remind you of flatworms…. anyway…this dish was also quite nice. I felt it was a little lacking in ingredients, salmon is the only solid ingredient in there. However, the pasta was very tasty on its own and made tastier with the creamy sauce.

Trattoria Cucina Italiana Seating Area

Nice place with TVs to entertain you if your dining companion is busy with Facebook on the iPhone. Or you could people-watch the crowd rushing out of the Somerset MRT station. However the chairs are pretty hard and it’s just not comfortable enough to want to linger any longer than necessary.

Trattoria Cucina Italiana / Trattoria Italian Kitchen


313 Orchard Road, #01-16/17/18, Singapore

Tel: 6834 – 4833

Cugini Trattoria Pizzeria

YJ who shares a similar love for exploring new things recommended that we should dine at Cugini after he had read some positive reviews on the place.  We did so several weeks ago and were not disappointed.

Cugini is a very homely looking Italian restaurant located in Club Street. Unlike some other restaurants there, it doesn’t look pretentious at all. This could be a reason why the food they serve is so good. Their energies are focussed on bring out the best in their dishes, rather than being channelled into other frivolous areas.

Cugini - (4)

Complementary bread – Seems like a must for Italian restaurants. The orange coloured sauce looked a bit dubious but turned out fine.

Cugini - Veal Ravioli

Veal ravioli with green cabbage and Barolo wine reduction $24.90 – Meat wrapped in pasta, how hard can that be to make? Surprisingly, even the best of restaurants I’ve been to can fail in this aspect. A lot of meat ravioli I’ve had tasted harsh, dry and cardboardy. I’m glad to say, I’ve finally found the place to have moist and tender veal ravioli. I snitched a piece from YJ’s plate and it was so good. There was a distinctly unique flavour to it, perhaps they added some special spice. The creamy sauce paired excellently with the ravioli and I kinda slightly regretted that I didn’t order this myself, given that I’d considered it.

Cugini - Squid Ink Fettucine Cugini - Squid Ink Fettucine (2)

Squid ink fettuccine with seafood, fresh pea and mullet roe $24 – I have to say, this is the best squid ink pasta I have eaten to date, hands down. The seafoody flavours was intense and the pasta was just bursting with life. I was practically eating non-stop, trying to slurp up all the delicious sauce. Even without those prawns there, if you gave me this dish with only pasta and the sauce, I would be supremely happy.

Cugini - Seating Area

We were both very very satisfied with the food. The food was great and it is without a doubt that I will return again. The prices seem reasonable but the portions are not huge. You could load up on the free bread, or order an appetiser/dessert. The one thing I didn’t like were the hard wooden blue chairs, not so good for my achy breaky back.

Cugini Trattoria Pizzeria

87 Club Street #01-01 Singapore 069455

T: (65) 6221 3791

F: (65) 6221 3798

Website :

Menu :


Directions to Cugini Trattoria Pizzeria

Otto Ristorante

Last Friday, we decided to try out Otto Ristorante. Otto Ristorante is one of those restaurants where it is highly recommended that you make reservations as the seating area is quite small. It was a bit confusing as to where Otto Ristorante was. If you look at the photo, you would think that this is the front of the restaurant. It is, but if you walk straight in, you end up in an unrelated bar. You have to actually turn left, after the circular fountain. There is a side door which leads into Otto Ristorante proper.

Otto RistoranteThe very polite manager greeted us and gave us a delightful table in a corner. Otto Ristorante is currently having a truffle promotion. You order from the special menu and pay $10 per gram of truffle shavings desired.

Bread and Olive oil

Otto Ristorante has 5 different types of breads to choose from. We were torn between wanting to try all 5 without getting too full before the mains arrived! They had this onion one which I regret not getting! The breads were still warm, which is the best way to enjoy them.

Amuse Bouche The amuse bouche of beef with thousand island sauce. The beef was nice, tender and flavourful, but the thousand island sauce tasted like something out of a supermarket bottle. It’s good, but not amazing. Surely the chef can produce something with a higher “wow” factor considering it’s the amuse bouche?

Wagyu Beef Carpaccio

Wagyu Beef Carpaccio with arugula salad and Black “Norcia” Truffle – $26 Wow this was really tasty. Just couldn’t get enough of it. Arugula can sometimes be bitter, but it paired so well with the beef! Didn’t detect a hint of the truffle though.


Closer shot of the Wagyu Beef Carpaccio. See how tender and juicy it looks??? Mmmmmm! This is on the starter menu but very light eaters can just consider this as their main dish.

Veal Ravioli

Slow braised veal ravioli with morel mushrooms and thyme sauce – $28. The creamy sauce was not too heavy but still had a cheesy bite to it. The veal ravioli was good especially since it’s more common to get cheese or vegetarian ravioli. The morel mushrooms on the other hand looked good but lacked flavour which is such a waste since they are supposed to be very tasty but rare to find in Singapore. Did you know that Morel mushrooms are toxic if eaten raw?

Squid Ink Pasta with minced cod

Squid Ink Tagliatelle Baked Cod – $28. Yes I have to admit the photo doesn’t look too appetising. These were our first thoughts when we saw the dish. I was expecting an intact portion of cod, but they’d had it minced up with some other ingredients. I don’t know what those ingredients were, but it caused the flavours of the cod to be dulled. Even the diced tomatoes had a stronger taste than the minced cod. Also, it felt like there wasn’t very much cod to begin with. I was quite frankly very disappointed with the dish.

If I lower my expectations and assume that there was never meant to be any cod in this dish, then it’s not so bad. The squid ink pasta was nice and al-dente and filled the gap.

Otto Ristorante - Seating Area

Otto Ristorante has a nice cosy interior. The waiters are extremely friendly and do not hesitate to help you with your selections by offering their recommendations. They are also very attentive and will be at your table instantly the moment you beckon to them. Their attitude cannot be faulted, but because it is such a tiny restaurant, you kind of feel like they are always hovering nearby. The Partner had no issues with this, but I guess I am one who needs lots of personal space!

Despite the cod fiasco, I would come to Otto Ristorante again to try out some of their other dishes including their signature crispy suckling pig ($48)! Crispy suckling pig Italian style, that’s got to be really interesting.

Otto Ristorante

28, Maxwell Road, #01-02 , Red Dot Traffic Building, Singapore 069120

Tel: 6227 6819     Fax: 6227 8350

Monday – Friday: 12pm – 2.30pm, 6.30pm – 10.30pm

Saturday: 6.30pm –10.30pm

Closed on Sundays

Click here for directions

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