If you are familiar with Chip Bee Gardens, you would have noticed the number of Da Paolo group of restaurants there. One that I have not stepped foot into was Da Paolo Ristorante until recently. Most people will think of the Club Street branch when you mentioned Ristorante.
The kitchen at Ristorante - Holland Village is headed by European/Italian Chef Gleb Snegin who joined the Da Paolo group in 2010. Originally from Moscow, Chef Gleb was trained and honed his culinary skills in Milan, Lombardy and Tuscany. For Chef Gleb's, the balance of flavours is paramount.
I was quite intrigued by the wicker feature wall that wraps around the ceiling. It's like some island resort deco but with air conditioning if you decide to sit indoors. For those who love natural air, there's lots of outdoor seating as well.
I was here for a tasting of some of their popular dishes, kindly hosted by Samuel of Clout C&D on behalf of Da Paolo Ristorante.
Prosciutto di Parma e Melone ($22)
If you like like prosciutto, the quality that they serve here is good. Paired it with sweet rock melon, the taste is further enhanced. A good starter if you dine here.
Capesante Arrostite con Crema di Cavolfiore ($26)There is an interesting twist to this dish. Large plump scallops with cauliflower cream and red sweet-sour onions. The scallops were tasty with a nice caramelised crust. Try their cauliflower cream.
Take a look at the tomatoes. There are different tomatoes. I believe these are Roma tomatoes and they go so nicely with the Mozzarella. Chef Gleb says the buffalo mozzarella are from Aversa. Yes, one of the best mozzarella di bufala around! I enjoyed this simple yet delicious starter.
Spaghetti al Nero di Seppia ($26)
This dish gives you block teeth and tongue, but if you are not kissing your partner after lunch it's ok. The squid ink spaghetti here is a must try. I initially doubted that it will be that good, but after one mouth, I had more! They make the pasta themselves and the squid ink adds a hint of the sea into it. Looks how black and glowing it is! It's spaghetti that has been tossed into squid ink sauce, a different way of preparing it.
Oh, when this dish was served, I noticed something, our white napkins were changed to black napkins. How thoughtful of them! When you wipe your mouth, no one can see your mess!
Ravioli con Guancia di Manzo ($26)
This was beef cheek ravioli with veal jus and shaved parmesan. Looking rather humble with parmesan covering it, if you thought you want to give it a miss, it's your great loss. These big fat ravioli can be quite addictive, probably because of the veal jus and the beef cheeks in it. So nice, I just enjoyed myself eating it without taking more close up photos.
Tagliatelle al Granchio ($26)
If squid ink pasta is not your kind of pasta, you should try this! Crabmeat tagliatelle. Chef Gleb exalts balance of flavours and it can be clearly tasted in this dish. Just the nice amount of crab meat, tomato and cream. I have to admit it was irresistible, I am still thinking which is my favourite pasta, the squid ink or the crab pasta.
In fact, all 3 kinds of pasta are so different, it's hard to compare. I have a soft spot for things with tomato, so this was my favourite pasta for the day.
Risotto di Spinaci con Aragosta ($24)
Just take a look at that, doesn't it look wonderful? Creamy carnaroli rice with baby spinach partially hidden in it. Topped with slipper lobster and drenched with lobster bisque. I particularly like the creamy risotto.
In my pantry at home I have a pack of this risotto, but I doubt I can make it this nice! I must research on how to make it so nice.
Merluzzo con Purea di Patate e Salsa al Tartufo Nero ($34)
I was eyeing the crust of the so nicely prepared cod fish! It went so well with the potato puree and black truffle sauce.
Ossobuco di Vitello ($34)
Ossobuco for you? Slowly simmered, these are tender meat that even grandma with dentures can eat.
I was too full with so much food, though we were sharing food. I can't remember the taste except it was so tender.
There's always room for Italian Desserts!
Bonet Piemontese e Gelato ($12)
This is the Classic Piedmont Amaretto Chocolate Dessert with chocolate ice cream on top! I love the chocolate ice cream on top. Bitter sweet on top of the jello but not quite jello, a bit like brownie kind of base. If you like Amaretto liquer, this dessert is for you.
Crespelle Agli Agrumi ($12)
Homemade crepes that has been lightly browned bathing in citron sauce and topped with a little scoop of Blood Orange Sorbet. It's either you like it or hate it. Haha... I like the Blood Orange Sorbet. ;-p
Samuel noticed I like gelati, so we had more chocolate gelato!
If you are in the neighbourhood and it's hot, just drop by for some gelato!
Look at the layers of ladyfingers, mascarpone cheese with egg yolks and valrhona chocolate. It's lightly infused with coffee and marsala wine and there's a reason why this is so popular here. Try it yourself.
Pannacocco e Lamponi ($12)
Want to try something different? Order the coconut pannacotta with fresh raspberries! Something very tropical, suits the deco of this place!
It was a wonderful lunch. A bit too much food, but with great company of 3 other food lovers we finished it up.
If you want to bring someone special here for Valentine's Day, here's the menu.
ANTIPASTO / STARTER
Capesante in Salsa di Carote e Mandarini, Frutto della Passione e Sedano Rapa
Atlantic Scallops, Carrot and Tangerine Sauce, Passion Fruit, Celery
PRIMO PIATTO / MIDDLE COURSE
Risotto Carnaroli con Gamberoni in Salsa di Brandy
Carnaroli Risotto, King Prawns, Spinach, Brandy Sauce
SECONDI DI CARNE O PESCE / MAIN COURSE
Filetto di Cernia con Asparagi e Patate alle Erbe
Grouper Fillet, Hollandaise Sauce, Asparagus, Herbed Potatoes
Spalla d’Agnello Brasata con Lenticchie e Mosaico di Verdure
Braised Lamb Shoulder, Lentils, Seasonal Vegetables
DOLCE / DESSERTS
Tiramisu’ alle Fragole con Cioccolato Bianco
Strawberry Tiramisu, White Chocolate
It will cost $128 per person and it includes a glass of Prosecco.
Prices are subject to 10% service charge and government taxes.
Available on 14 February 2012, 6.30pm - 10.30pm
For reservations, please call +65 6476 1332
Da Paolo Ristorante at Holland Village
44 Jalan Merah Saga
#01-56 (Chip Bee Gardens)
Hours: 11:30 am - 2:30 pm, 6:30 pm - 10:30 pm daily.