Saturday, April 2, 2011

Singapore - Madras New Woodlands Restaurant

My impressions of Southern Italy are of homeliness and heartiness - all about simple treatment of fine produce from the good earth and sea around.  With a classic white and blue themed fixtures and fittings, reflecting the style of that area, Cugini attempts to bring all that good stuff to Singapore and does a decent job of it.  Although service was a little spotty when we got in, as they were busy, we got to enjoying a little bit more attention as the night wore on. 

The menu is rather large and so being our first time, we went with all of our waiter's suggestions. 

The Bresaola (hand cured beef) with lemon oil and shaved Parmesan, served on a wooden board, lived up to its presentation.  Tender and well cured (without being just salty) thinly sliced beef was lifted by the abundant rocket leaves and good quality Parmigianno.  I would have preferred a little bit more cheese than the 4 slices but didn't want to push my first visit!

Since Cugini emphasises Sardinian cuisine, we tried the Sardinian style spaghetti with garlic, olive oil, chilli, mullet roe (which Sardinia is famous for), and Mediteranean prawn.  The taste is something which even locals who are not initiated into Italian cuisine can enjoy.  Very reminisent of the local Hokkien prawn mee, and even had some "wok hei" to it.  Enjoyably tasty even if a tad local for my liking but Sardinia is one of the places I haven't had the privilege of visiting in Italy so perhaps..

Our Cugini pizza was served as a pretty decked out forest of fall colours with generous toppings of fresh tomato, mozzarella, tomino cheese, Italian bacon and rocket.  More rustic in style with a slightly thicker and chewy base (which I enjoy) it was an excellent combination of distinct flavours.  Although the base can get tough as it cools, it was still a high quality pizza. 

Our dessert of the Sardinian deep-fried pastry filled with cheese and citrus flavoured honey was good but I would have ironically preferred to have started the meal with it than end with it since it is a little heavy.  Softly chewy like Mozzarella but with slightly more pong, it went well with the honey.

All in, the produce is certainly good quality - from the cured meats which are flavourful, to the cheeses, they are in themselves worth another visit.  Understanding that less is better with fine produce is the key to enjoying nature's bounty.

87 Club Street
Singapore 069455
Tel: +65-6221 3791

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