ah, the lure of pork fat and cheese – and wine and pasta. I have a soft spot for italian eating – it’s hearty and delicious, and comforting and fresh with its honest, clear flavours.
pasta fresca da salvatore has been around for quite a while (nearly three decades!), and it’s one of those places that feels spectacularly appropriate for a cozy dinner with friends and wine. I was gobsmacked by the sheer range of food on the menu – as so would you be, even ignoring the fact that they allow you to customize anything from the noodle to the sauce they sit in (very good for fussy eaters who insist on customising their food a particular way – hi mum!)
divoto (2011) – apollonio | med-full tannins, dark berries
I suspect you’ve walked past this place along boat quay and dismissed it with the other touristic hotspots lining that strip, but that would have been a mistake – they make fresh pasta here, and even if you’re in the dried noodle camp, that belies a care for execution.
we started with a bowl of savory, crumbly biscuits and a glass of red wine – I’m no connoisseur/ aficionado but I can tell you it had a good body and was pleasingly (to my taste) not too tannic.
melanzane alla parmigiana | eggplant, mozzarella, tomato sauce
an eggplant parmigiana brought along high expectations for the meal – the marinara was rich and savoury and full-flavoured (there is little better than the deep flavour of well-cooked tomatoes), and layered between plenty of cheese and the purple vegetable to make one heck of a good start.
burrata contadina | burrata, porcini & vegetables, basil oil & red wine reduction, rosemary oil bread
tagliere misto | cold cuts, cheese, vegetables
we had two plates of antipasti, the first a centrepiece of burrata and grilled vegetables (radicchio takes very well to charring!), and the other a wooden board of charcuterie and even more cheese. I don’t need to tell you these were good – and why italian eating fares so well given these quality ingredients.
then, a slew of pasta dishes:
conchiglie mare e monti | crabmeat, button mushrooms, white wine, pink sauce
panzerotti mushroom alla pastora | bacon and mushrooms, garlic & chilli
crespelle al funghi | baked crepe, sautéed mushrooms & onions, parmesan, cream sauce
fusilli all’amatriciana | bacon & onion in tomato sauce
ravioli di burrata e tartufo nero | ravioli with burrata and black truffle, porcini, crispy parma and truffled caviar
what did I tell you about choice? there’s definitely enough choice here for diners who enjoy the prospect of a large menu (hi ma!!, again), even if they choose eventually to eat exactly the same highly-specific thing they always eat (I spent nearly the entire meal ruminating on just how perfect this place was for my mother).
pasta here is somewhere between the harder al dente Italians prefer, and the softer noodle locals here are familiar with – feel free, of course, to indicate your choice. I’m not sure I can pick a favourite – the different sauce and noodle permutations are truly impressive, and all were properly seasoned and immensely savory – but I really like the crabmeat and pink sauce in the shell pasta. savory, seafood-sweet, and delicious.
tagliata di manzo con rucola al rosmarino | beef tenderloin, rosemary oil, grilled vegetables
pizza mascarpone | mascarpone cheese, parma, rucola
we were stuffed by this time – how could you not be?! – but honestly, stomach space honestly appeared with this BEAUTIFUL piece of medium-pink tenderloin. properly salted, delectably beefy – I may have taken more than my fair share.
I waved the white flag with the thin-crusted slab topped with plenty of fresh rocket, wilting ham and creamy cheese – but it’s a great option for sharing.
tiramisu al mascarpone e caffe | mascarpone, coffee
panna cotta | cream pudding of amaretto, and & vanilla
if you have a sweet tooth, the tiramisu is a great way to finish the meal – especially because the coffee perks up flavours in what would have been a rich, intensely-flavoured meal. the panna cotta is a decent rendition (though i would skip the whipped cream), but its unctuous jiggliness was just a tad over the top for this meal.
so – if you like italian, I’d definitely give this a go. this particular outlet is a good hangout with friends on the ground floor and patio, and a little more cosy upstairs – but if you’re up for a family meal, do the outlet in siglap instead. great eating.
Pasta Fresca Da Salvatore
30 Boat Quay
tel +65 6532 6283
$$.5: 35 onward