La Braceria is a hidden gem of an Italian restaurant that is tucked behind a more conspicuous row of restaurants in the Greenwood enclave in Bukit Timah. It is a rather humble restaurant founded and owned by Chef Fabio Iannone, who also founded Limoncello Pizza & Grill at Robertson Quay.
La Braceria’s kitchen is headed by Chef Giovanni Minarelli, whose latest menu embodies his experience and philosophy of making authentic Italian cuisine. Chef Giovanni’s forte is in pasta, and with that, he is rather confident that he will impress La Braceria’s patrons.
The Panzerotti d’ Pasta Fresca alla Burata con Pomodorini Cherry e Basilico – translated: Ravioli with Fresh Burrata served with Cherry Tomatoes and Basil ($22++), showcases Giovanni’s expertise in pasta. He has given this delectable starter a twist – instead of a mozzarella outer shell, he has substituted this with his very own, handmade ravioli to encapsulate the buttery cheese – it does so pretty well as the moisture of the cheese was well retained. This is not your regular buratta but this new menu item will surely whet your appetite, particularly for pasta lovers.
The next new item in the menu is a rarity for an authentic Italian pasta – the Capelli d’ Angelo con Salsa d’ Peperoncino (Angel Hair Pasta with Hot Chilli Peppers; $26++). The unique ingredient that has made this pasta such rarity is the ‘Nduja (pronounced N-doo-ya), which is a spicy, spreadable pork sausage from Italy, typically made with pork as well as tripe, hot roasted peppers and a mixture of spices.
This angel hair pasta is proven to be a crowd favourite. It is, however, not a dish for the faint hearted – the ‘Nduja gives it a fiery, spicy character, and our local Chinese might find that its taste of having a hint of spicy, preserved bean curd (腐乳). If you happen to enjoy the taste of the ‘Nduja, it can also be used as bread spread (just dab sparingly on the bread).
Chef Giovanni’s culinary repertoire does not end with pasta, of course. Try out 2 of the new items in the starter section – the Foie Gras al Limoncello and the Antipasto d’ Mare (Seafood Salad).
I have particularly enjoyed the Foie Gras al Limoncello ($20++). The actual dish is more than meets the eye – the foie gras is drizzled with a limoncello-balsamic vinegar reduction to impart it with an extra zest; there is also Parma ham paired with honey dew melons for a switch of taste; and to top it all off, a couple of (alcoholic) limoncello shots to lighten your heart! It is a sinful dish and yet it tastes so addictively good, says my foodie heart.
The Antipasto d’ Mare ($24++) appears to be a deconstructed seafood pasta with hot-and-cold elements. The prawn carpaccio with roe and calamari are tangy and refreshing. The thinly sliced, spaghetti-like zucchini with its orange sauce complements the cold element very well while providing it with a crunchy texture and an orange zing. The Vietnamese clam entrée is soothing and warms up your palate for your main course(s).
Meat lovers feeling a little left out? Here’s Chef Giovanni’s Costata d’ Wagyu (Grilled Tomahawk Wagyu Bone-in Steak; $145++ for 3-4 pax). I am quite certain that the aroma of a perfectly grilled, Australian grain-fed wagyu beef will surely make your day! I have found that the steak was made a little less than medium rare on certain parts but that is quite common for such a large piece of steak.
The dining experience at La Braceria was memorable – the authentic Italian cuisine coupled with a cosy ambiance was an exquisite draw for me. I am a huge fan of pasta and knowing that Chef Giovanni is a pasta specialist, I am compelled to come back to try out his pasta repertoire!
For me, it is for the fact that the Italian Embassy endorses La Braceria as their official caterer, reinforces the adjective that has been emblazoned on La Braceria – authentic Italian cuisine.
Expected damage: $50 – $90 per pax