I don’t know what Tipo puts in their pasta, but every time I’m asked for dinner recommendations, the first place I suggest is cosy, dimly lit Tipo Pasta Bar adorned with colourful displays of their pasta selection simply because it’s just that good. It’s for this exact reason that I leapt at the chance to try out Tipo Strada, another establishment under The Black Hole Group that boasted Tipo Pasta Bar’s unfailingly delicious menu, and then more on top.
Both Tipo Pasta Bar and Tipo Strada have similar menus and the option for customisation for all diners. Though what sets the latter apart is a more extensive menu that includes different sauces, paninis, and coffee. Take a seat, marvel at the pretty pastel colour scheme of the restaurant, and prepare to be spoilt for choice with endless pasta-bilities.
What I tried
Tipo Strada’s customisable BYOP (S$9.90++, S$12.90++ for upsize) boasts your conventional pasta sauces such as pomodoro and alfredo for a comforting meal. If you’re a seasoned Tipo Pasta Bar visitor like myself, the Pesto (S$11.90++) and Bolognese (S$12.90) sauces unique to this restaurant are certainly what sets it apart.
The award-winning combination that stole the entire show was the bite-sized campanelle with basil pesto sauce, which I tried with Sundried Tomatoes (additional S$1.50) and Smoked Duck (additional S$4.50). I always lament that pesto-based pasta isn’t as popular as it should be, and prayed hard that Tipo Strada would not let me down. My prayer was answered with a symphony consisting of strong notes of savoury basil pesto, paired with a glorious accompaniment in the form of chewy al dente pasta.
Charred, smoky, thinly-sliced duck breast shone through like the perfect soprano soloist it was before it all came together with a resonant, final chord that was the piquant sundried tomatoes. You can call me melodramatic, but I know that Beethoven himself would’ve been impressed. Encore, please!
Calling all loyal pasta fans who believe in simplicity. But first, forget the soft, overcooked pasta that most dining establishments serve. Raise your expectations, then let yourself be blown away by a chewy, springy al dente treat. A steaming plate of mafalde laden with bolognese sauce and topped with Mushroom (additional S$2.50) and Arugula (additional S$1.50) will leave you planning your next visit back even before you leave.
Unlike pomodoro, the bolognese already contained beef, which gave the pasta a sweetness that danced flawlessly in tandem with the vegetarian toppings without overshadowing their lighter tastes. It’s not a complicated choreography—nonetheless, it leaps, twirls, and strikes an ending pose with enough finesse to warrant a standing ovation.
Tipo Strada also offers a variety of paninis for those who want something lighter. Everything that has ‘pesto’ in it is as irresistible as a siren’s song. I’m glad that the Cheeky Chicken Pesto (S$10.90) panini is worth every calorie and compliment—stuffed with smoked chicken, arugula, cheese, and slathered with a generous amount of basil and walnut pesto. Toasted to golden-brown perfection, this panini is my pesto-loving dream come true. I found myself reaching for another bite over and over, relishing in the resounding crisp of fresh arugula that will convert even the biggest of vegetable haters.
The Breakfast Biggie (S$11.90) shone less brightly in comparison, though I found it commendably palatable and filling. The smoky beef bacon was riddled with a strident smokiness that made itself known immediately, before segueing deliciously into the milder flavours of egg and pink sauce. It reminded me of a quintessential breakfast sandwich that’s egg-cellent to tapau on the way to work—a reliably good staple that promises to start off your morning on a good note, but nothing worth writing on the skyline for.
Nothing goes hand-in-hand as perfectly as a cup of coffee does with perfectly toasted panini. I found that the White (S$5) latte didn’t pair as well with the pasta as it did with the panini. Tipo Strada, unlike Tipo Pasta Bar, offers a variety of coffees such as the Cold Brew White (S$7) or a simple shot of Espresso (S$4.50) that’ll be a perfect pick-me-up for tiring days on the go. Whether you’re sitting down for a long-awaited dinner with old classmates or getting something light to tide you over a long afternoon of meetings, make your reservations and thank me later.
Tipo Strada also offers a selection of house specials for those who want combinations that are guaranteed to work. Take your pick from well-loved classics such as Crazy Carbonara (S$16.90), which comes in alfredo sauce and is topped with smoked duck, sous vide egg, and parmesan, or the Prawns in Pink (S$15.90) that’s laden with the pink sauce and topped with sautéed prawns, arugula, and parmesan.
It’s hard to find something that perfectly replicates the comforting satisfaction of home-cooked food whilst introducing a uniquely flavoured pasta that can’t be found anywhere else. Tipo Strada took all of my high expectations, superseded them, then raised the stakes, and won again. Hilary Duff was wrong—this is exactly what dreams are made of.
Expected damage: S$10.90 – S$19.90 per pax
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