Sunday, March 05, 2006

Da Paolo Il Giardino

Da Paolo Il Giardino
501 Bukit Timah Road, Cluny Court
Tel: 6463-9628

I’m not such which came before which among the many Da Paolo instalments around the island. For the sake of speculation and trivia, this is what I think the history of Da Paolo group. I think the original was Trattoria Da Paolo in Tanjong Pagar, which has now moved and is named Da Paolo e Judie, Da Paolo Il Ristorante at Club Street, followed by Da Paolo La Terrazza at Jalan Merah Saga and then this one at Cluny Court, followed by the Gourmet Deli and then the Pizza bar, also along Jalan Merah Saga. I dined at the Ristorante at Club Street a while back, from what I remember from dining there is that it shares the same or a very similar menu to the one at Cluny Court. The Deli is a great place to pick up sauces and fresh pastas if you are in the gourmet but lazy mood. You might just walk out with more than what you stepped in to get. The island of breads and pizza fill the little gourmet shop with an aroma that just makes you hungry and crave a slice. If you can resist that, you will have to then resist the other sweet temptations­­ of gelato, cakes and desserts. The Pizza bar just down the lane offers a laid back place for Sunday brunch and I’m guessing that the La Terrazza that lies between the Deli and the Pizza bar shares the same or similar menu to the one at Club Street and Cluny Court. Now that I have rambled on about my thoughts about the Da Paolo, here’s the exposition on my recent visit to the restaurant at Cluny Court.

Da Paolo Il Giardino at Cluny Court offers a great al fresco option, only if it is not blistering hot in mid-afternoon, like the afternoon I was there, where we took refuge in the very clean and modern furnished restaurant. Like the pizza bar, it has an “open-concept” kitchen, where you can watch some of the kitchen work through the glass wall that separates the dining room and the kitchen.

While studying the menu and listening to the Today’s Specials the waiters bring warm crusty bread and olive oil to start with. For starters we had the Fritto di Calamari e Granchi Con Salsa Tartara (deep-fried calamari and soft shell crab) and the Fegato Grasso e Insalata all’Arancia (mixed salad with duck liver, cherry tomatoes and orange). The former arrived first, batter of the seafood was wonderfully crisp and flavoured, which was wonderful to enjoy on its own or with the creamy mayonnaise that it was served with. The latter however was rather disappointing, the hero of the dish, the duck liver, was horribly over-cooked, well, enough said.

We elected to go with the homemade pastas and the half-and-half option that they have here, where they will help you in portioning your pasta if you would like to share yours with someone else. We shared the Linguine Vongole, Tagliatelle Aragosta al Rosmarino (homemade eggpasta with lobster meat, rosemary, Prosecco and cherry tomatoes), Tagliatelle al Granchio (homemade egg pasta tossed with crab meat, cream, tomatoes, vodka and Parmesan cheese) and the Today’s special, homemade ravioli stuffed with ricotta and pumpkin and tossed with pesto and prawns. Everything tasted good. I had the half-and-half plate of two creamy pastas; I was in comfort food territory and soon after in a lazy full bellied afternoon sleepy land.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

I believe you left out Da Paolo's flagship branch at Neil Road. AFAIK, it started off with one at Tg Pagar, then at Club St. After that the Tg Pagar one was closed and replaced with the current flagship at Neil Rd.

7:47 PM  
Blogger joone! said...

Yes, i think you are right. I shall write it in. :)

8:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh and one more thing to add. They will be opening another branch at Rochester Park soon. Yum! They are my favourite Italian restaurants in Singapore. Haha... no I am not affliated with them in any way.

9:42 PM  
Blogger perkz said...

If u lurve italian, try garibaldi. The food is great!

10:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thks for the recommendation. Gee de pasta makes me salivate.... Great to know they haf half-and-half portions. Ya! This way, I can get to try a bit of everything. :) Ya...greediness personified!

1:25 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I used to love Da Paolo's until our last dinner at the Cluny Court branch. The salad came with *old leaves* (the kind with yellow age spots, one of which was so rotted I had to show it to the waiter). :(

5:00 PM  
Blogger shaz said...

i always wanted to try the food there.. maybe now i will. thanks for the review

10:34 PM  
Blogger Robin CHAN said...

I like your blog, cos I like good food

4:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I like going Da Paolo in general, it's good value for the quality, esp the lunch set specials. However, without a doubt, my favourite Italian restaurants in Singapore are Oso (Tangjong Pagar) and Garibaldi (Purvis St). Consistent quality & friendly staff/chef.

6:30 AM  
Blogger shaz said...

you have been bz huh? missed your posts!

10:04 AM  

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