Another one of those places where your GPS device comes in handy. Off Upper Paya Lebar Road, this is literally a neighborhood joint. Other than the next door coffee shop, I didn't see much else going on other than a pretty flat residential hood in there. The advantage, we could still get a table at the last minute on the weekend. Not that it was empty - there was still a good crowd going when we got there closer to 9pm.
Service was a little spotty although friendly but we were thankful for the bread which arrived fairly quickly, since we were starving. Although it looked a little dry when it did, it was a nice chewy texture and was much better than it looked.
The Spinaci salad with bacon, mushrooms and Feta tossed in a Balsamic Vinaigrette was tasty.. perhaps a tad too salty even after losing sodium from 2 hours of tennis. Plenty replenishment there. However, we were pleased with the quality of the spinach and tomatoes which were crisp, fresh and sweet. The bacon and Feta added dimensions to it and because these were salty too, we could have done with less salt overall in the dressing.
This was my least favorite dish of the evening but I can imagine it to be a hit with a lot of Singaporeans who like their food spicy. There was way too much chili heat in the Linguini al Cartoccio for me to handle. I thought it covered whatever seafood taste from the seafood sealed within the aluminum foil while being cooked. While the Calamari was done best, the rest of seafood was unfortunately not catch-of-the-day fresh, and the linguini was not al dente and so a tad soggy.
But we made up for it with the Quattro Stagioni pizza topped with artichokes, spinach, anchovies, ham, black olives and mozzarella. A well balanced pizza that wasn't overly salty, it had a combination of slightly tangy from the artichokes, contained by the salt from the anchovies, ham and olives, then texturised with the mozzarella on a slightly charred smoky pizza base. This was still good the next day after you heat it up on a pan lightly.
Although our sweet ending was a little burnt, probably from a over enthusiastic blow torch, the custard itself was actually the kind I like - very eggy, not overly sweet. The berries were a little dead from the off season but once you get over the charred top and dried fruit, the custard is all you need to concern yourself with.
Overall, an "ok" for a neighborhood joint and at fair prices. A little reminiscent of Al Forno in the good ole days before they sold out (it's pretty abysmal now) and the has the makings of a nice alternative to fighting for a reservation in the more popular spots on the weekends.
4/6 Rochdale Road