Regional Italian cuisine is all the rage in Singapore, with new restaurants and revamped favorites offering lesser known recipes from the food-loving nation.
Executive chef at Hilton Singapore Fabrizio Aceti, who hails from Piedmon says, “Christmas is very close to my heart, since I am away from my family, I’d like to share a taste of home with my guests in Singapore.” For the Christmas buffets (Dec 24- 25; from $175) at Checkers Brasserie, he'll put out northern Italian dishes like gnocchi Castelmagno, utilizing produce from the region.
Chef Kentaro Torii of Forlino says, “The most underrated cuisine has got to be from Liguria.” The chef’s tagliolini verdi ($28), green tagliolini with basil pesto (a specialty sauce from the area), showcases the flavors of the north-western region.
There are plenty of restaurants dedicated to the food of central Italian region Tuscany, but our favorites are Burlamacco Ristorante, which puts out a mean beef tripe stew ($18)—a speciality from the regional capital Florence—and Bistecca Tuscan Steakhouse for their gargantuan Fiorentina ($178), a hefty 1-1.2kg T-bone steak of (marble score six) Aussie Wagyu. Also, inITALY Bar Ristorante does a comforting version of lesser known Tuscan specialty gran bollito misto ($28), a pot of boiled beef, veal and veal tongue, as well as pork and chicken.
Retro glam newcomer Sopra Cucina & Bar—tucked away at the back of fivestar hotel Pan Pacific Orchard, right by Orchard Towers—is a pioneer in putting out Sardinian specialities, including fregola pasta and carasu bread. For a good overview of what the cuisine has to offer, there’s a four-course degustation menu ($98).
Warming family favorites from chef Carlo Marengoni’s hometown Bergamo in Lombardy are on offer at Trattoria Gallo D'Oro. The landlocked region is best known for meaty, rich recipes with plenty of lard and butter, so loosen your belt and dig into the house specialty of veal ravioli stuffed with bacon and sage ($20).
Chef Denis Lucchi of Buona Terra has launched a series of Gastronomic Tour dinners, each featuring a different regional cuisine. The next event spotlights the food of coastal Veneto, on January 14, with a five-course meal featuring traditional recipes like fegato alla veneziana, calf liver and polenta. Also check out Cicheti, a brand new Venetian snack bar serving classic bites like spicy prawns.
OTTO Locanda recently introduced regional set dinners ($58). Through to the end of November the focus is Emilia Romagna, with four courses of dishes like parmesan risotto (the region’s most famous cheese).
The “heel” of bootshaped Italy is the south-eastern region Puglia, home to OTTO Locanda’s (see Emilia Romagna, above) head chef Marco Violano who cooks up specialties like frittelle alla pugliese ($18), ham wrapped scamorza cheese served with dough fritters.
Sicilian restaurant Gattopardo Italian Grill & Pizzabar’s last day at its current location is December 31—so get there quick. Helmed by Sicilian native Lino Sauro, the restaurant puts out dishes like angel hair pasta with sea urchin ($38), a classic from the seafood-loving island. Alternatively, visit their new address (34 Tras St.), when it reopens in January.