If you live near or have been to Greenwood Avenue, you would agree that this quiet suburb in Bukit Timah is just like a Little Italy. It is home to several Italian restaurants and pizzerias that offer an authentic taste of the bel paese.
I was recently invited to a food tasting at Fratini La Trattoria which was an awesome first-time experience for me because I had never dined in a restaurant without a menu. Though I can eat almost anything, I do like to know what I’m eating so it has never come to my mind to go for something like this until now.
If you’re coming by public transport, the nearest MRT Station is Tan Kah Kee (Downtown Line). From Exit B of the MRT Station, it will be a 7-8 minute walk to the restaurant (via Watten Drive or Hillcrest Road).
For those of you who are driving, you may wish to know that there is FREE valet parking for DINNER guests.
A warm and cosy restaurant with homely vibes. It has an open-concept kitchen where you can see head chef Chomel and her team in action if you’re sitting at the main dining area. To the far end is a private dining space that accommodates up to 12 persons.
As mentioned earlier, Fratini La Trattoria doesn’t have a menu so please don’t ask the service staff for one. But if you do have any dietary restrictions or food allergies, please let them know.
Lunch is priced at S$45++/pax on weekdays or S$50++/pax on weekends and includes 7-10 courses. Dinner costs S$90++/pax and is a more elaborate spread of 10-14 courses. The dishes change periodically depending on availability of seasonal produce. The whole concept is similar to that of Japanese omakase so you just need to sit back, relax and expect a line-up of tantalising delights to be served up.
First up, we had the Rome-style Grilled Scallops with Carbonara Crust. If you’re a fan of creamy carbonara sauce and cheese, you’ll sure to like this. The cheese flavour really stood out but not in an overwhelming way as the hint of acidity from the balsamic vinegar reduction provided a lovely balance.
Next, we had Salmon with Crab Meat on Pumpkin Puree (from Napoli). The seafood were fresh – really loved that crab meat that was packed with natural sweetness. The pumpkin puree was very smooth and sweet as well.
The Beef Roulade with Mashed Potato & Ham (from Tuscany) was very tender. However, the mushrooms beneath were a tad too salty.
I was most impressed with the Beef Cheek that was stewed with veal jus, a recipe from Central Italy. It takes 3 days to prepare the stock using beef bones and the beef cheek has to be cooked, chilled and then cooked again (science of expansion & contraction) to achieve that melt-in-the-mouth texture.
While we could see the grains on the beef cheek, the meat wasn’t sinewy or chewy at all. In fact, its texture was rather spongy and didn’t resemble that of beef. No knife was needed to cut into the meat – it was just so tender. The stewing liquid had completely penetrated the beef cheek, making it really flavoursome and tasty.
The Sea Bass with Lemon Butter Sauce (from Sicily) was another nicely executed dish. Even the fine beans and sliced carrots were perfectly cooked and still came with a crunch. The fish was fresh, firm and meaty and the hint of lemon in the butter-based sauce really lifted its flavour with a refreshing note. The skin, however, was quite rubbery.
The Herb-Crusted Lamb Rack (from Rome) was another of my favourite dish. The lamb was pinkish in the middle and was very tender. There wasn’t any gamey smell and the crust topping had a bit of a crisp that kinda added crunch.
The Seafood Aglio Olio looked like our local mee pok with a generous serving of prawns, squids and flaked salmon. The latter was quite overpowering in flavour. Everything were very well tossed in garlic-infused oil but overall it was just a run-of-the-mill pasta dish.
On the other hand, the Truffled Pappardelle with sliced black truffles was more outstanding. The sauce was made with white button mushrooms blended with summer truffles from Alba. The moment the pan was laid down on the table, we could immediately get a whiff of truffle in the air – so enticing. The earthy mushrooms were scented with truffles and the end result was a well balanced concoction. Though no cream or oil was used, the sauce was thick and robust. Every strand of the pasta was coated in that delicious sauce – so moreish.
Fratini La Trattoria uses fresh pasta from Abruzzo. As the pasta is made with natural spring water that contains many minerals, the surface is also more porous than other pasta and hence is able to absorb sauce when cooked. No wonder this pasta dish tasted so good.
What is an Italian meal without the classic Tiramisu? I was excited to see my favourite dessert but unfortunately its taste didn’t quite stand out – it was very much on the bland side. But the good thing was, it wasn’t sweet or cloying so it wasn’t very heavy especially when we already had a few courses of food beforehand.
I totally loved the Chocolate Salami that was just chocolatey. My only gripe? Wished there were more slices as it was so good.
The last course/dessert was a Black Sesame Panna Cotta that tasted exactly like our local Black Sesame Paste (芝麻糊) but in a smooth and wobbly pudding form. It wasn’t very sweet and had an intense smoky and nutty taste. Delicious!
Overall, the service was perfectly paced so we had ample time to savour every dish before the next one came. Food was good and some dishes were simply spectacular. I really enjoyed the Beef Cheek, Lamb Rack and Truffled Pappardelle. The hosts were fantastic and they made sure we were all taken care of throughout the meal. Thank you Chomel, Januver and the Fratini La Trattoria Team for the amazing experience.
Do note that drinks are not included in the lunch and dinner sets. If you need recommendation for a good Italian wine to go with your meal, wine expert Januver will be most happy to assist.
Fratini La Trattoria
10 Greenwood Avenue
Tel: +65 6468 2868
Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/fratinilatrattoria/
12.00pm to 1.45pm, 6.00pm to 8.45pm (Tue-Sun)
Closed on Mon
Disclaimer: This was an invited food tasting session. All opinions expressed here are author’s own personal views.