Oishii Ristorante, Tanjong Pagar: An odd marriage of Japanese and Italian culinary flavours

Ever since I moved to downtown Singapore for my day job, I’m constantly doing double-takes on new restaurants around the area. More specifically, I’m always scanning new hideouts for good meals deals, happy hour specials, vibes and atmosphere. When Oishii Ristorante opened right below the spin studio I frequent, it was a no-brainer that I had to visit.

Oishii Ristorante Shopfront

Right opposite Tanjong Pagar MRT station within Frasers Tower lies the clandestine Japanese Italian restaurant. Boasting an extensive dine-in menu together with the option for omakase as well, I was curious to see how the team marries the concept of East and West through food here.

What I tried

Oishii Ristorante Salmon Tartare

First impressions matter. One look at the Salmon Tartare (S$20) and you just know it was going to be the opening act of tonight’s show.

A bite of the Salmon Tartare

The Insta-worthy bowl came with diced seasoned fresh salmon diced, served with
tamago, tobiko, pistachio nuts, sesame cracker and yuzu dressing. The dressing helped balance out the flavours from the freshness of the fish, while the pistachios added a crunchy dimension and earthiness to the dish.

Altogether, a refreshing starter with carefully thought out textures that complimented each other. I guess you could say this put the oishi in Oishii Ristorante.

Oishii Ristorante Wagyu Hanger Steak and Shiso Pesto

I won’t lie but I was most excited for the Wagyu Hanger Steak and Shiso Pesto (120g) (S$22). If you’ve been following my reviews, you’d know I’ve always been team meat over seafood.

The beautifully pink charcoal-grilled wagyu strips were served medium rare with shiso leaf pesto and crushed pistachios. While I adored the slightly salted charred exterior which was slightly salted, the combination of the herbaceous pesto, earthy crushed pistachios and smokey wagyu sealed the deal for me. Price tag aside, this was divine to savour at Oishii Ristorante.

Oishii Ristorante Truffle & Kombu Edamame

I’m a huge sucker for all things truffle, so you bet my eyes widened when we were served the Truffle and Kombu Edamame (S$10). Every unglamorous bite first greeted us with a strong truffle aroma, which quickly translated into a mild-tasting morsel. Nothing centrefold worthy here if you’d ask me.

Iberico Secreto Don

Over on the Japanese menu, the Iberico Secreto Don (S$32) graced our table with a burst of colour. The classy bowl featured Spanish secret pork shoulder grilled over a binchotan charcoal to medium doneness. The supporting elements included Japanese rice, ikura onsen egg, olives with pickled mustard greens, cucumbers & ginger.

Reminiscent of Japanese donburis, one could consider this a premium bowl reserved for special occasions. The luxurious pork slices were almost melt-in-your-mouth. I do wish the edges of the pork would be charred a little longer so the crisp texture would complement the delicate pork.

Admittedly, the mustard greens did confuse me with the hint of spice and bitterness. I’ll give it the benefit of doubt and disclaim that this is a personal preference. I’d like to think flavour chasers would certainly enjoy this burst of gusto!

Oishii Ristorante's Parma Ham with Wasabi Cream Spaghetti

Representing the Italian menu, we had the Parma Ham with Wasabi Cream Spaghetti (S$23) next. Yes, you read that right— wasabi cream.

A shot of the Parma Ham with Wasabi Cream Spaghetti

Pasta was cooked al dente which I personally favoured and the cream sauce was rather pleasant and not too surfeiting. However, my only gripe was the lack of wasabi within. Even though the sauce incorporated pickled wasabi stems to complement the pancetta, it was hardly noticeable.

Before you question, the helping of wasabi on the side is meant for you to increase the intensity to your preference and not meant to stir in to complete the dish. I was pretty satiated without the Japanese paste but perhaps I was confused by the absence in the plate despite the presence in the name.

Yuzu Choc Tart

Lastly, the Yuzu Choc Tart (S$16) was crowned the saving grace of the night. A unanimous decision no less. The chocolate shell was crisp, buttery and luxuriously bitter, while the filling of yuzu curd and chocolate ganache complemented each other like bread and butter. It was, however, pricey for its portion, albeit delicious.

Chope Reservations

ChopeDeals: Save 20% at Oishii Ristorante

Final thoughts

Maybe we got lost in translation, maybe I expected too much. While I’m completely on board for fusion food, Oishii Ristorante missed the bar by just a bit. As much as I value the concept of challenging culinary boundaries as East meets West, perhaps more traditional flavours and cooking methods could be mastered first, before experimental execution.

I must caveat by saying that I had the a la carte menu only and not the omakase. Perhaps the latter would impress and would give you more bang for your buck. Otherwise, the outdoor dining space, happy hour specials, lunch and dinner sets still make this a chill after-work hangout spot.

Expected damage: S$30 – S$40 per pax

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Price: $ $

Our Rating: 3 / 5

Oishii Ristorante

182 Cecil Street, Frasers Tower, #01-05, Singapore 069547

Price
Our Rating 3/5

Oishii Ristorante

182 Cecil Street, Frasers Tower, #01-05, Singapore 069547

Telephone: +65 6232 7890
Operating Hours: 11.30am - 2.30pm & 5.30pm - 10.30pm (Mon - Sat), Closed on Sun
Telephone: +65 6232 7890

Operating Hours: 11.30am - 2.30pm & 5.30pm - 10.30pm (Mon - Sat), Closed on Sun
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