3 Japanese-accented Italian restaurants in Singapore
Have a look around Singapore's dining scene and it soon becomes clear that Italian and Japanese cuisine top local diners' taste buds.
Of late, we have the Japanese to thank for the bumper crop of restaurants that are introducing Japanese-influenced Italian menus.
Some are fully staffed by Japanese-imported culinary talents. Others simply infuse pristine Japanese ingredients and techniques into their classic Italian menus.
Here are the best three that have popped up throughout our island.
Kabe no Ana
The proprietor: The RES restaurant group, known for the Kuriya chain of upscale Japanese restaurants, has recently acquired the Singapore franchise of Kabe no Ana -- reportedly the first wafu (Japanese-styled) pasta restaurant to open in Japan way back in 1953 -- and planted an outpost at a corner of food street Shokutsu 10 in nex mall.
What to expect: Creative wafu pastas such as the tarako ika natto spaghetti (natto-streaked pasta with squid and seaweed) crowned with roe of Alaskan Pollock (or mentaiko) and ojisan idol spaghetti (pasta with seafood in white wine butter sauce) topped with radish sprouts and seaweed.
The perfect meal: A refreshing tomato salad with diced onions and asparagus in vinaigrette dressing; the signature mentaiko carbonara pasta crowned with a beautifully poached egg; and a sublime mango sorbet.
#B1-80 nex, 23 Serangoon Central; tel +65 6634 8024
The proprietor: Italophile and opera-lover, Katsumi Mizutani, retired early from Tokyo’s financial industry and set foot on Singapore to realize his passion with all things Italian. First up was L’Operetta which debuted at Boat Quay in December 2010. Another Italian restaurant and a pizzeria will also open at Duxton Road and Tanjong Pagar respectively in the coming months.
What to expect: The restaurant is fully staffed by Japanese; Seita Nakahara, who honed his cooking skills in Piedmont, Sicily and Tuscany, helms the kitchen; while Takashi Okuno mans the Naples-imported wood-fire oven. But the cuisine is modern Italian, made with pristine Japanese ingredients: think Hokkaido scallop gratin with aromatic almond oil and herbs.
The perfect meal: Request the curiously delicious omakase which may include a sashimi of botan shrimp alongside a carpaccio of jack mackerel crowned with white balsamic vinegar and puree of Japanese yam, cucumber and tomatoes; yuzu-scented spaghetti tossed with artichoke, grey mullet and petite globules of rare sea urchin; or cherry wood-smoked rack of lamb in cardamon sauce.
78-79 Boat Quay; tel +65 6438 2482
The proprietor: The new Italian fine dining restaurant at The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands is owned by Three Bond Wine & Dine, a new Japanese enterprise with connections to an Italian winery -- which bottles the il Pollenza label of wines carried exclusively at Caffé B -- and the backing of a count from Verona.
What to expect: Step into a low-lit, chandeliered dining room with rough-cut walls and imported lattice-grill gates designed by Japanese interior designer Takeshi Yotsumoto. Food-wise, it’s Japanese-accented Italian classics made with exquisite botan shrimp and top quality Wagyu beef. If you are in the mood for teppanyaki, reserve the six-seater teppanyaki counter and pick from the grill menu.
The perfect meal: Caffé B serves one of Singapore’s best carpaccio of wagyu beef and they pair it with generous shards of Pecorini cheese and topped by a wasabina leaf; fidellini pasta is tossed with Japanese sakura ebi shrimps and mullet roe; and for main course, adjourn to the teppanyaki counter for flambé Wagyu beef with sour cream-topped rosti potato, zucchini and aubergine.
B1-15 & 01-83 The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands, 2 Bayfront Avenue; tel +65 6887 3311