procacci, collyer quay

decent italian food near the fullerton bay hotel at customs house. there is a rather surprising dearth of italian restaurants in singapore with good food at reasonable, if not cheap, prices. a bit of research turned up procacci, which apparently is an outpost of a historic restaurant in florence, italy. this is some good lineage, and so we made our way there the weekend before national day in singapore to celebrate my sister’s birthday.

there was a fantastic view over the river where we could see a bit of the water show, as well as the fireworks without all the crowd in the more pedestrian areas. customs house was also bordered up and we only got in because we had dinner reservations.

anyway – to start, they have brilliant staff. they let us sit outside to partake in the festivities, and even started us off with complimentary drinks, so kudos to great customer service often lacking in singapore (service tends to be abrupt here). when the tables filled up, it did feel like there weren’t enough staff so be prepared to wait, though when they’re there they’re great. be prepared for a slow meal.

as an addendum, many reviews online mentioned rude managers and bad service so I came here pre-warned and wary, but there was absolutely nothing to worry about.

it’s a relatively expensive restaurant that seems marked for tourists or special occasions, but it isn’t more expensive than other restaurants in this range. we started with some antipasti – creamy milky mozzarella served with parma ham, a rocket salad and grilled vegetables were very tasty. the cheese came in a generous sphere that contained lots of milky liquid so it was still moist – I don’t think I come across as a cheese connoisseur and I’m not, but I do know I like mild cheeses and this worked well with the vegetables and salty ham. the bread basket that came along was alright and went well with the tapenade and antipasti.

it’s a very asian manner of eating that we basically only did a starter, what we think to be a main course (i.e. either a primi or a secondi, and not both) and dessert. between the five of us, we had a juicy and pink tenderloin, two different seafood pastas, a tenderloin served sliced over salad with a hard cheese, as well as pan-fried cod over vegetables alongside a spinach soufflé. the dishes were all competent and though not generous, the portion sizes were reasonable. I didn’t think the food was spectacular, but it was good enough that I might consider coming back here.

to finish we ordered a single crème brulee as I had baked a cake for the celebration, and this was quite good. very eggy custard though, which was a pleasant surprise, but skip this if you don’t really like things too eggy.

all in all, this was a decent rendition of an italian dinner – probably close enough to authenticity as it needs to be at prices that need it to be that way. I don’t really have anything to complain or dislike about the meal but it was a bit meh, when I was hoping for something with a bit more oomph. still, a decent meal in all, certainly helped by the good view (especially on a cooler evening).

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