26 November, 2009

Sapore Italiano @ Raffles City

The caffè bar has a special place in Italian society. Unlike the Anglo concept of a bar, the Italian caffè bar is visited throughout the day – early in the morning for a full-flavoured Italian caffè and breakfast, during lunch for a panino or a slice of pizza, gelato at tea-break and then an after-work aperitivo before dinner (pasta perhaps?).

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“Without caffe bars, the sidewalks of Italy would smell different,” says Pietro Mazza, the renowned Italian F&B consultant, commercial kitchen designer and founder behind 20 Sapore Italiano outlets worldwide. Aided by his son Andrea, Sapore Italiano marked its first foray into Asia, and Singapore’s first Italian Lifestyle Caffè Bar, is now birth at the Raffles City (former Starbucks facing Chijmes).

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Step into the establishment and one will be quickly seduced by the chic, sexy and modern charm of Italian décor, and simultaneously greeted with an air of causal, non-hastening comfort.

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Andrea mentioned that most of their ingredients were imported over from Italy – their coffee beans especially. And that probably explained why the Crème Caffe – Don Abbondio ($9.00), really stood out, even for a non-caffeine drinker like HFB! Made from Coffee Cream, Espresso, Savoy biscuit, Liqueur, Cream, along with some Chocolate Tapping, the drink probably ranked as one of the best liqueur coffee that HFB had ever tasted. The coffee cream was rich yet coupled really well with the liqueur, enhancing each other. Give this to me anytime!

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Besides their coffee, one could also get hold of some award winning “Made in ItalyAbbondio Italian Sodas ($5.00 to $7.00) that was specially shipped over. Endearing vintage packaging adorned the bottles that came with exotic flavours such as “Pompelmo & Fragola”, “Bianca”, and “Chinotto” to name a few. HFB fell in love with them!

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HFB was never a big fan of basil-based pasta, and their Tagliolini Pesto Pinoli E Calamari ($20.00) didn’t make much enough an impression to warrant a change in that opinion especially since the fettuccine was overcooked, i.e. not al dente. However thumbs up for the freshness of the squid and that the basil base wasn’t too overbearing.

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If one is into Nero di Seppia Pasta (Squid Ink Pasta), perhaps one should then give their in-house specialty (a twist to the classic dish created by Pietro) a try – Sapore Italiano’s very distinct Black Pizza ($22.00) – made with black squid ink. HFB was told that squid ink is mixed into the dough and kneaded into pizzas, and what one would get is a serving of pizza, with the crust coming in black! More novelty than anything else to HFB, the seafood ingredients were once again really fresh. HFB loved that Abalone Clams (鲍贝) were added to the mix. Yummy!

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Sapore Italiano produced their own Gelato and one would be a fool to leave this place without sampling their many lovely dessert creations. Under “Coppa Fragola”, HFB sampled their creation of Ice Cream served with Fresh Strawberries and Kiwi, Whipped Cream with Strawberry Dressing ($15.00), but the whole combination from the former was a little too fruity and sourish (from strawberries and kiwis) for HFB, but that’s just him. He’s never really into sour stuff. The gelato in itself though was nothing short of excellence – the texture was really smooth and light on the palate.

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HFB absolutely loves Rocher chocolates, and the Coppa Rocher ($18.00), consisting of Ice Cream sprinkled with Hazelnuts Croquant and Pieces of Nougat, Whipped Cream and Crispy Wafer didn’t disappoint. One couldn’t really go wrong with chocolate and nuts can they? Yummilicious!

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HFB was told that the serving size was a sampling version, and the actual portion is good for sharing – so save some tummy for it when you’re there! For a change, Sapore Italiano is offering a 6pm to 8pm Happy Hour (Apertivo) that patrons can help themselves to free flow buffet of Italian street food with every aperitivo ordered ($12.00 to $15.00).

Disclaimer: No ratings would be given, as this is an invited taste test. I would also like to take this opportunity to thank Melvin and Andrea, and Sapore Italiano for their hospitality.

252 North Bridge Road
#01-15, Raffles City Shopping Centre
Singapore 179103

You might also be interested in these posts:
Big D's Grill @ Holland Drive
HFB's Top 3 Favourite Pizzas @ Da Paolo's
Ristorante De Parma - Falling in Love with Desserts!!!
Garibaldi Italian Restaurant & Bar - Too Pretentious for HFB
Pietrasanta - The Italian Restaurant

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CocoaButter Queen said...

The Coppa Rocher looks to-die-for...strictly after a gym session only! :):)

Stephanie Wong @Iarnarwen

singapore food photography said...

nice ambiance too..to match the good food

His Food Blog said...

@CBQ: It is!!! Fell in love with it after the 1st mouthful

@sfp: Agree. Like the chic ambience.

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