12 February, 2007

Italian in the Heart of Holland

Dubbed the “Bohemian enclave” of Singapore, Holland Village is a curious mix between old and new. Traditional coffee shops and a wet market jostle for space aside swanky wine bars and fine dining restaurants. And in the space of one week, I was fortunate to take part in this dining culture twice. And in both occasions, I was indulging in the pleasure of the rich Italian cuisine. Situated at the corner among a cluster of shophouses is Al Dente Trattoria.

At Al Dente, one can choose to dine al fresco or indoors. Unfortunately, although the candlelight adds an amorous atmosphere for the diners, frequent passer-by walking along Lorong Mambong seeks to blemish it, thus our choice to venture indoors.

We were served by an over-enthusiastic service staff that we felt pressured to order more than we should (apparently ice water was a choice of sprinkling or still, and I ended ordering the ice-peach tea instead). He was also quick to note down the order of the Antipasti Sampler Platter – which we haven’t agreed upon – but felt obliged to since he already wrote it.

Thankfully, the appetiser turned out to be pretty fine. A platter of premium salami slices, grilled mushrooms, tomatoes with mozzarella cheese, ham with melon & cold seafood cuts on fresh garden greens was a harmonious dish that suited all three of us. While both my friends went for the Linguine Marinara, or the seafood of lobster, shrimps, clams, mussels & cod fillet tossed with linguine pasta in a wine seafood stock, finished with a robust herbed tomato stew, I was encouraged yet again by the service staff to go for the Penne with Scallops, or the tube pasta with fresh Australian scallops & zucchini slices, sautéed in a light cream sauce, infused with brandy.

The scallops were indeed juicy and fresh, and the taste of zucchini was refreshing as I haven’t had it since my Perth days. The only fault that I would pick on would be that the cream sauce was too rich, such that one cannot taste the hint of brandy in it.

To be continued......

Food: 3.5/5
Service: 3/5
Ambience: 3.5/5
Price: 3.5/5
Total: 13.5/20

22 Lorong Mambong
Holland Village

Singapore 277681

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