Wednesday, August 09, 2006

La Strada

La Strada Ristorante
1 Scotts Rd #02-10
Shaw Centre
Tel: 6737 2622

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potato and fontina cheese tart with porcini and celery salad

As I continue on my Italian binge, my indulgence was at the spanking new Italian joint by the Les Amis group, La Strada. First of all, if you plan to go, make a reservation. The Les Amis Group has adopted a new, and very American-style, reservation system where there is a central hub that takes all reservations, hence you have to call during working hours, that is the only time they seem to pick up the phone, and even when I did leave my name and number, no one returned my call. I was prepared to wing it, chancing that they would have a table on a weekday lunch, but my lunch date, firmly said “no, it gets crowded”, and he was right, it packed a full house for lunch.

The menu offers classics with a slight fuss. On the other spectrum of home-styled Italian food, La Strada offers a spectacle interpretation on some classics. Who knew the foam would find its way into the Italian cuisine as well? With today’s obsession about El Bulli, molecular gastronomy and the espuma, this is actually the first time I have had flavoured foam served to me in an Italian ristorante. Antipastos come elegantly plated, while with regards to secondi, there really isn’t much you can make fancy with pasta and risotto, unless you employed extra kitchen staff to make twirl pastas and to pile them in a “jenga" vertical stacks, but after that labour, the food might arrive cold.

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strozzapretti with duck sausage, rabe, shaved parmesan and a hint of chilli

The food spoke with clarity and confidence. The plates had straightforward flavours that have integrity that not masked or hidden by any overpowering sauces. My nonconformist interpretation of broccoli consisted of: a single ravioli that encased a creamy purée that was boiled to al dente and then pan-fried for a slight crisp, a crispy tempura of broccolini and a goat’s cheese foam, working together to create a variety of textures and gentle flavours, excellent. And the other entrée of potato and fontina cheese tart with porcini and celery salad and was fresh tasting. Following that we had a serving of pasta each, where we tried the duck sausage and rabe, which was delicious and hearty tasting with the slight bitterness from the rabe, but the sausages were slightly overcooked and dried out, and a special vegetarian request for a pasta of the chef’s choice of penne with a vegetable ragu, perhaps unimaginative but nonetheless well executed.

My lunch date, H is a fellow avid foodie, is someone I thoroughly love dining out with because I can be a shameless greedy person, I have come to realise that we have different stomach capacities. Although I was satiated after my 2 course lunch, he needed more, and he was unwilling to eat alone, so for this visit, after our 2 courses, there was no more to come that is, no dolce.

I like this establishment, La Strada much more than its former occupant, The Canteen. That being said, what question comes next is that, seeing how it is still a Les Amis Group Restaurant, how much is it going to set you back? It does come with a hefty price tag; you pay for a package, quality food and location. Lunch alone, with 2 courses and a cup of cleansing ritualistic Japanese tea cost me $60, I would say, it's worth it for a special occasion.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

If u like burgers, try La Strada burger, absolutely yummy!!! and also another place with comparable burgers, coffee club burger (i know, too cliche, but try it) pretty good as well.

9:30 PM  

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