meh-er than I expected italian restaurant specialising in tantalizing truffles (it’s in their name) at a little corner near club street. I’ve walked past this place numerous times after dinner in duxton hill or keong saik, and it’s always looked like a romantic (read darkly-lit), cosy, little place to eat.
the food doesn’t quite live up to expectations, however – and those expectations are bolstered first by its focus on truffle (which really, can do no wrong) and the very lovely ambiance of the place.
they actually started us off with two carbs – a basket of warmed foccacia, with crusty tops and a soft, airy inside, and a plate of fried pasta (?), crisped up to an almost puff-pastry state.
it wasn’t too long a wait before our first starter arrived – and of course it needs to be cheese, right? I might actually veer to the italian way of treating cheese as appetiser rather than as dessert (whereas I warm up to the french way of butter and bread) – a large-ish bowl of soft, creamy burrata with nestled atop salad leaves with a heart of truffle. this was rather delicious, but needed a little bit of salt for better flavor.
I did find that almost all the dishes needed more salt – but it could be a matter of personal preference, and perhaps my tastebuds are growing muted with age – and it’s undeniable that under-salted is better than over-salted.
anyway, this was a pretty standard angus beef carpaccio, thinly sliced and layered over with some rocket leaves and shaved truffles. nothing more, nothing less – salt will help draw out more flavor.
we also ordered this incredibly overpriced dish of tender white asparagus, served with parma ham and a teaspoon-worth of caviar. while it was pretty decent – it’s very difficult to go wrong with those ingredients – there was barely any of the magic or WOW you would have expected. order if you have a craving for any of the components, but otherwise, I’m not sure it’s worth it.
a side of sauteed spinach was pretty good though – I liked that it wasn’t as oily as many vegetable dishes can be, but it sure was tannic.
the tajarin of thing egg noodles with truffle came sitting in a broth base that was surprisingly forgettable.
but possibly, the dish I enjoyed least was also the one I expected to enjoy the most: the sea urchin risotto with truffle. HOW COULD IT NOT BE GREAT?! but it wasn’t – not really creamy enough, already lukewarmish when it arrived at the table, and the flavor just didn’t come through. we did not finish this dish.
I don’t want to be dramatic – but there’s nothing in this place that would really warrant a return. it’s hella disappointing, given it’s focus on an ingredient that’s currently earning universal love – but that could also work to its disadvantage, creating expectations that it doesn’t really address. it’s biggest advantage: the darkly-lit restaurant, the polite staff, and the well-spaced tables.
good for date night, if you want to enjoy your night with food that fades easily into the background.
33 Erskine Road
tel +65 6836 4647
$$$: 40 onward