It’s not easy to find great pasta in Singapore. At least that’s what we’ve concluded, from personal experience and discussions with pasta-holics. You’ve probably got a go-to Italian place whenever that craving kicks in, but can you really say it serves pasta so sublime you’d recommend it to anyone and everyone without hesitation? Yeah, that’s what we thought.
So it’s a nice surprise that Keong Saik Road’s new Pasta Bar comes damn near to perfection. With 11 types painstakingly handmade fresh daily at the bar counter, the eatery sure knows and loves its carb of choice. Chef Alessandro Giustetti from Genova, Italy, calls the shots in the kitchen, bringing his laidback warmth to the stove with dishes that strive to be as authentic as possible, as a tribute to his home country.
Each pasta strand is made with variations of flour, such as soft wheat, semolina, and truffle, folded in with different parts of the egg and water in changing temperatures or amounts. Clearly, the idea is to treat every creation with precision, putting aside a one-size-fits-all mentality. Pasta isn’t just pasta here — each dough has its own distinct identity.
But with this much attention paid to pasta alone, you can expect the prices to reflect the amount of work that goes into preparing each dish. Antipasti items start from $18 for buffalo milk ricotta, pastas range from $26 to $40, and mains are priced between $32 to $38.
That being said, the dinner-only joint is ideal for intimate dates, serving its comfort food in a cozy and welcoming space that has 18 seats around the kitchen counter and 16 more around the high and low tables in a rustic, homely style. To start, the arrosticini ($19) offers you aromatic sticks of grilled lamb skewers plated in a terracotta pot with rosemary-infused olive oil, while the veal tongue ($24) is an absolute melt-in-the-mouth pleasure that’s served unfussily with pickled vegetables.
Speaking of meltingly scrumptious, the restaurant’s tortelli ($26), stuffed with pumpkin and sage, may sound deceivingly simple — but its smooth and velvety mouthfeel is next-level exquisite. We could luxuriate in a bathtub full of that filling, just sayin’. And if you’re not squeamish about dining on a particular household pet, the rabbit ragu pappardelle ($30) cooks its meat tender, tossed with sprinklings of pine nuts and pasta that’s made with two types of flour.
Carbonara ($29) and gnocchi ($28) appear on the menu as well, but for something more uncommon, the lagane ($28) brings together chickpeas with chilli and spicy garlic for a delightfully creamy consistency with a touch of heat that can warm even the coldest hearts. You could technically fill up on appetizers before this, but by god, you’ll keep charging on once you get your first taste.
Hailing from Southern Italy, the dish features sheets of pasta that are eggless, with a chewier texture from a mixture of flour and water. (Fun fact: lagane is believed to be the oldest-known written recipe of pasta). The more popularly-known lasagne finds its roots in lagane, and it’s offered here ($26) as well, but in extremely limited quantities — so once it’s sold out, it’s gone.
Besides pasta, the place serves meats like black cod with couscous and mussels ($34) and pork rib terrine ($32), alongside greens such as grilled asparagus ($12) and sautéed broccolini ($10).
To end, imbibe some liquid calories with the Truffled Old Fashioned (truffle-infused scotch with shaved truffles) or The Last Caffè, made with butter vodka, espresso, and chocolate bitters. Otherwise, make space in your stomach for the Sicilian cannolo ($14) that adds red wine to its pastry dough so those tannins cut nicely through the richness of the sheep’s milk ricotta. Or if you’ve ever wondered how Nutella could be made more glorious than it already is, try the restaurant’s fried rendition with raspberry compote ($14).
Pasta Bar is at #01-05, 55 Keong Saik Rd.
MRT: Outram Park
This article, Keong Saik’s new Pasta Bar delivers its goods fresh and handmade with oodles of flavor, originally appeared on Coconuts, Asia's leading alternative media company. Want more Coconuts? Sign up for our newsletters!