Saturday, January 1, 2011

Singapore - Bruno's Pizzeria & Grill

2 visits within a week.  Not something I do often and so when I do, it's got to be pretty decent.  Bruno's, literally in my backyard, is more than decent for a neighbourhood joint.  Joints like this will raise the suburban dining game, and ease unnecessary traffic going to town for what might be a crowded and expensive experience not worthy of the hassle.  For people who like their Italian and live east, you cannot afford to give this place a miss.  It's easily the best I've had this side of Singapore.

Over 2 visits, the selection of starters did not disappoint.  

Caesar Salad
The Caesar Salad is the kind that I love, with a strong hint of anchovies in a yolk heavy dressing, worthy of the Roman King namesake  Good quality Romaine with aromatic flakes of Parmesan, and added robustness from the hen's less than hard boiled egg.
Beef Carpaccio

The carpaccio by itself was well sliced and had beefiness coming through so no need for guesses. Joined by good friends, Arugula and Parmesan, the trio could have just been satisfied with a light drizzle of extra virgins. However, the experience was marred by the overly tart dressing of finely chopped vegetables, taking away from the 3 main characters.  

French mussel in a white wine broth
My favourite starter by far, were the mussels.  Imported from French shores, these are smaller in size, but much sweeter and of a texture more akin to clams.  A light broth subtly flavoured by a white wine and sauteed onion rings and parsley enhanced the shell friends and it's easy to pop the entire well-mounted platter without much effort.

Frutti de Mare
The platter of frutti de mare of deep-fried breaded prawns and squid rings were nicely done.  The seafood was fresh, prawns crunchy and squids bouncy but unchewy.  The batter was just a tad heavy but the chef got away with it, since it was well fried and crisp, and given a lift by both the red and white accompanying sauces.

Bread Basket

Even the bread basket was good.  A combination of a multi-grain, and white made for choice.  Both were crusty on the outside and had enough sourdough to make it fluffy but with enough of a bite to savour the fragrance of the fresh baked loafs.

The pasta selections were broad enough.  They are not your new fangled selection but a good choice of familiar hearty favourites.  

Linguini al Granchio
The linguini al granchio which is generous chunks of crab meat in a tomato cream sauce is just plain and simply good.  With the right amount of sweet, tart and boldness in the sauce, given sea-freshness from the crabs chunks and garden-freshness from the finely julienned basil, it was complex in its simplicity and enjoyable to the last mouthful.  Perhaps in Italian terms, there was a bit too much sauce for the amount of linguini on the plate, but I was happy to pick out the crab chunks out after I finished the pasta.  

Spaghetti al Vongole

The Spaghetti with clams was also competent.  The white wine based broth, similar to the mussels starter, carried the clams well.  Al dente spaghetti absorbed enough of the broth to be integrated into the dish.  And fresh parsley is a traditional must for a 3rd dimension and aroma.

Pizza with Salami and Fresh Chillies

The pizza selection is not as wide as some pizzerias but it carries enough of a variety, again more traditional than others.  It's not the best and there is a slight discount since they call themselves a pizzeria but it's still an enjoyable pie to be had.  Our choice of the salami and fresh chillies had a little too much kick from the chillies and a tad too much salt from the choice of salami used but overall it was a tasty combination to be had.  They also have "white pizzas" if you don't like tomato bases so options are still adequately aplenty.

Slow cooked Wagyu beef cheek with Marsala wine

The only mains I have tried here is the beef cheek with Marsala wine.  I do like the use of Marsala wine in dishes and almost always order anything which uses it.  This dish is very tasty and while just a tad salty, was perfect if you used the bread to lap it all up.  The beef cheeks were also very tender but had enough animal muskiness to blend perfectly well with the Marsala, which can mask everything else if the chef isn't careful enough.  A thoroughly heartily enjoyable course for the lazy carnivore in all of us.

Finally but not by any means marginalised to a corner, the dessert selection had a little something for everyone.  

Warm apple tart with Vanilla ice cream
Most people loved the apple tart with vanilla ice cream.  The flaky puff pastry is both aromatic and light from the butter.  Used to house a compote of slightly tart apples, the acidity takes away any cloy from the well cooked apples.  The combination of vanilla ice cream and salted caramel gives this traditional dessert a lift that is suitably sweet and delectable.

Warm chocolate pudding and vanilla ice cream 
Chocolate pudding has become 2nd choice for me on a dessert menu but I'm glad we ordered it on the 2nd visit.  It was a very moist pudding and dense but not heavy.  The chocolate used was also of a good enough quality so you're not just appreciating texture but also savouring the quality of the cocoa.


The Tiramisu was ironically my least favourite, this being an Italian restaurant.  I like the traditional version which is soaked in espresso.  But Bruno's version will work for those who like alcohol-laced desserts.  Heavily soaked in rum, there's a lot of heat and kick with this, especially when combined with the Mascarpone cream and cocoa dust.  It's good but just not my cup of tea.  

Bruno's is enjoyable for its surburban casualness but more important, for the quality of the unpretentious food it offers.  It is enjoyable for the friendly albeit young service.   It is earnest in its feel but matured in its delivery.  I hope that it is the beginning of better things to come in the Tanjong Katong area.  The transformation has just started.

338 Tanjong Katong Road
Tel: +65- 64404525

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