We've seen our fair share of new restaurants opening in Singapore the last quarter, and then there are the five new places to check out with the Palate Card. Yes we know they're opening up faster than you actually have time to visit them, and to add on to that never-ending list, here's another three you might want to slot in somewhere. But trust us when we say you'd want to find time for them, especially so if you're a big Italian cuisine fan, for they can't get anymore traditional than these.
What is it: While this is not a new restaurant, OTTO Locanda has actually launched a new menu. A little bit about OTTO Locanda for those of you who might not know: the sister joint of OTTO Ristorante is tucked away in the corner of Maxwell Chambers at Tanjong Pagar. Locanda actually means "inn" in Italian, and true to its name, the place evokes a casual yet traditional trattoria charm. With new head chef Marco Violano taking over the reins, OTTO Locanda now offers new menus every month, with regional speciality dishes from different parts of Italy.
Must-try: There are several classics that you just can't miss; Lasagna della Locanda -- oven-baked truffle and porcini mushroom lasagna topped with light datterini cherry tomato sauce for one, is rich in flavour but yet none too overpowering. And then there's the Astice alla Griglia -- a grilled lobster served with mix pinzimonio vegetables and fresh seasonal fruits. Blanched in water for a quick moment just before hitting the grill keeps the meat succulent, and there's really not much seasoning needed when it's served fresh with rock melon, cucumber, celery and tomatoes. Oh yes, how can we miss out the Polipo Arrostito -- roasted octopus served with cannellini beans puree, drizzled with rosemary-scented extra virgin olive oil. I may seem a little biased here for my love for octopus is beyond words, and OTTO Locanda hit the right spot for me with this dish. It was done perfectly, with just the right crunch; not too chewy and not too soft.
Options for three-course lunch and four-course dinner set menus are also available, with lunch updated weekly and dinner every month. For more information, please visit www.ottolocanda.com.sg.
OTTO Locanda, 32 Maxwell Road #01-03 Singapore 069115, +65 6224 0978
What is it: Most of you have probably heard of Forlino at One Fullerton, but how much do you know about the family that brought Forlino to our shores back in 2008? Having moved away from the Forlino brand, Laura Forlino has ventured out on her own with Da Laura, a quaint 60-seat restaurant located along Neil Road. This is also the certified sommelier's first restaurant since moving to Singapore five years ago. Helming the kitchen is Milan-born Chef Michele Blasi, who's relatively new to the Singapore food scene. So with that, restaurant patrons can expect an extremely traditional Italian flavour in all of his dishes, uninfluenced by Singaporean tastebuds.
Must-try: We must emphasise here that traditional Italian fare is all about serving hearty comfort food, so you'd expect pretty heavy robust flavours in each dish. Chef Michele's culinary technique is truly evident, as he presents each dish with no more than three or four ingredients. One of our favourites has got to to be the Tropea Red Onion Puff Pastry with Roasted Peppers. It may not look as appealing as it tastes, but there's a reason why it's a signature -- something so skillfully made is just not what you'd get everyday. While the rest of the dishes didn't quite pop for us, there's the Homemade Tagliatelle with Bolognese Style, featuring meat that's hand-chopped and not minced, which really gave them plus points for effort.
Da Laura, 47 Neil Road, Singapore 088827, +65 6224 8251
What is it: The much anticipated Jamie's Italian, has finally opened its doors in Singapore's VivoCity. The 210-seat restaurant comes with both indoor and al fresco area, so you can pretty much expect a relaxed, casual form of dining, which is ideally Jamie Oliver's style. Bespoke communal tables, vintage greeter station and reclaimed mirrors and chandeliers from Europe pretty much sets the tone and character of Jamie's first restaurant in South-East Asia.
Must-try: The menu has been created by Jamie and his mentor, Gennaro Contaldo, with the kitchen being headed by executive chef Gary Clarke. Some Italian pasta favourites you can't miss include Tagliatelle Bolognese and Prawn Linguine, and we've heard that the pasta is freshly made on site every morning! An ice-cold draft beer brewed exclusively for Jamie's Italian Singapore to go along with your Truffle Risotto doesn't seem like a bad choice either.
Jamie's Italian, 1 Harbourfront Walk #01 165-167, VivoCity Singapore 098585, +65 6733 5500, www.jamiesitalian.sg