Nudedles.4, Chinatown: Young hawker sells authentic Italian pasta at affordable prices

With over 200 bustling stalls, Chinatown Complex is teeming with local gems. The latest find: Nudedles.4, a humble hawker stall specialising in affordable Italian pasta.

Frankly, you wouldn’t expect to see such pasta offerings at Chinatown Complex. The majority of the stalls at this hawker centre are catered to the older generation, so you’ll see plenty of hawkers selling char kway teow, pig trotters, herbal soups and more. In fact, I didn’t notice many Western stalls at all, making Nudedles.4 a true gem to discover.

Nudedles

Its founder, owner and chef is 27-year-old Clarence Chooi, who single-handedly mans the busy stall. 

Prior to taking the dive to open Nudedles.4, Clarence worked in several illustrious restaurants, such as two Michelin-starred British restaurant Jaan by Kirk Westaway and the now-defunct three Michelin-starred Joel Robuchon restaurant.

With close to a decade’s worth of culinary experience tucked under his belt, Clarence decided to venture into the hawker scene, setting up Nudedles.4 in Dec 2021.

Nudedles.4 sells five pasta dishes on its menu: Beef Bolognese (S$6.50), Lobster Bisque (S$8), Squid Ink (S$8), Pesto (S$6.50) and Carbonara (S$8).

Depending on the dish, you can choose what pasta you’d like to have. Pick your fancy: Rigatoni, spaghetti, linguine, fusilli, bucatini or cavatappi.

Each dish is cooked fresh upon order, so you might have to wait for around 10 to 15 minutes for your order, depending on the queue.

What I tried

The first thing I tried was the Lobster Bisque (S$8) with spaghetti.

You might be wondering: Where’s the lobster or bisque?

Answer: In that luscious, thick golden gravy. You won’t find any lobster meat in this dish, but the sauce that coats each spaghetti strand is actually lobster broth, made using a mix of lobster shells and prawn shells.

Though the pasta looked unassuming, my impression of this dish changed the minute I started mixing the pasta. The smell of the sweet lobster immediately wafted through the air, almost as if I had just been served a bowl of piping hot lobster bisque.

The lobster bisque gravy was decadent, sweet, and intensely rich. I loved how each strand of pasta soaked up the broth beautifully, and I found myself slurping up the umami-filled noodles eagerly.

While the lobster bisque pasta isn’t the cheapest around, you’d find that it’s really worth every dollar considering the amount of seafood used in this dish.

You have mussels, lala clams, prawns and sotong. The star of the show was definitely its prawn because it was cooked in the lobster bisque broth directly, so the prawn (especially the head) had time to absorb all that deliciously savoury flavours. 

Easily, I could see myself having this dish at a quaint cafe or atas French restaurant for S$15 or even more.

I tried Nudedles.4’s Beef Bolognese (S$6.50) next, and my pasta of choice was penne. This dish came with two handmade meatballs, a sprinkling of cheese and a generous amount of freshly grated black pepper.

Oh boy, this dish was great

Light and fragrant, the bolognese sauce was tangy and sweet. I could immediately tell that it was house-made because it tasted nothing like the store-bought bottles of bolognese sauce. It reminded me of my mum’s home-cooked bolognese pasta — comforting, simple but delicious.

The meatballs were well seasoned and cooked just right. Each bite was juicy and savoury, and I loved how the smoky black pepper added that spicy and appetising touch.

nudedles.4

The last dish I tried was the Pesto (S$6.50). I decided to be adventurous and went for the cavatappi, even though I’ve never heard of it before. 

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Turns out, cavatappi is what macaroni would look like if it was in a long spiral. Despite being shaped like a corkscrew, Nudedles did a fantastic job coating each pasta with a good amount of pesto, which is made in-house too, by the way.

I’m a huge fan of pesto, and this dish instantly ticked all the right boxes. Earthy and sweet, the flavours were well-balanced, rich and really pleasant. I could taste garlic, pine nuts and a ripe sweetness which reminded me of fresh avocado.

My dining companion and I easily polished this off, crowning this dish our unabashed favourite.

Final thoughts

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From homemade ingredients and sauces, to single-handedly manning the busy stall and even cooking each pasta dish upon order, it’s clear that Clarence put a lot of effort into his pasta dishes. 

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Every component of the dish was well executed too, and my dining companion and I were thoroughly impressed by the sweetness and fragrance of the lobster bisque, as well as the earthy richness of the pesto sauce.

In fact, even though my dining companion and I had another tasting to attend, we couldn’t stop ourselves from polishing off Nudedles.4’s delicious creations. You can bet I’ll be back for more!

Expected damage: S$6.50 – S$8 per pax

Other articles you might like:

Zipp Burger & Pasta: Handmade 150g Beef & Fried Pork Patty Burgers at Amoy St

Ying Jie Seafood, Chinatown: “The bare essentials of comfort food that can’t go wrong”

Price: $

Our Rating: 4 / 5

Nudedles.4

Chinatown Complex (Yellow Zone) 335 Smith Street, #02-034, Singapore 050335

Price
Our Rating 4/5

Nudedles.4

Chinatown Complex (Yellow Zone) 335 Smith Street, #02-034, Singapore 050335

Operating Hours: 11am - 7pm (Tues to Sun), Closed on Mon

Operating Hours: 11am - 7pm (Tues to Sun), Closed on Mon
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