I'm really, really glad that I've finally found the time to pay a visit to the amazing and much-raved Otto Ristorante. Located within the bright Red Dot Traffic Building along Maxwell Road, Otto is a sophisticated yet alluring Italian sanctuary with some of the best that the cuisine can possibly offer. Whether you're here for a romantic dinner or even just to have a peaceful lunch on your own, this is one charming place that would definitely please and leave you with an experience worth cherishing for the next couple of months, weeks or days - not too long before your heart begins to yearn for Otto once again like a long-lost lover. My recent affair, no matter how ephemeral, was at times a tease of the senses and in others, a heady rush of sensuous pleasures. In short, Otto Ristorante was all lovely, and nothing short of spectacular.
While some have written about their Bread Basket arriving cold, or others delivered from a tray, mine came warm and wrapped like a newborn. The assortment of breads was quite simply a delight to behold, and I savoured the first taste of each of them like an excited baby new to ice-cream. Without a care for the world (or tight pants for that matter), I took my time to enjoy each and every one of them, from the fragrant foccacia, to the soft, supple sweet onions bread, to the light baguette slices, and to the sweet, cranberry-speckled buns.
The Amuse-Bouche came in a spoonful of stewed mushrooms topped with cheese shavings, and it succeeded in whetting my appetite for a good whole fifteen seconds before I returned to more of the fluffy bread slices in the basket. It did not amuse as it was expected to, but this was after all the vegetarian option to the actual roasted pork belly hors d'œuvre that was served to the other diners. As some would say, appreciate it for being beautifully imperfect.
Baccala' alla Vicentina con Polenta Soffice
Vicentina Style Baked Cod with Soft Polenta
If the bread basket was love at first sight, the Baccala' Alla Vicentina Con Polenta Soffice was akin to a first kiss. Small, perhaps guarded, advances on the almost mashed cod pieces and smooth polenta were greeted with a certain amount of delight and curiosity. You go in for more, letting the flavours trickle through your grateful tastebuds. The baked cod, even when in such small pieces, somehow managed to retain some firmness, while the sweet polenta accompanied it deliciously. Pleasant appetiser.
Linguine all' Astice dette In Busera
Linguine Boston Lobster in Spicy Light Tomato Gravy
This was what it was all about. The Linguine all' Astice dette In Busera, one of the most famed of Otto Ristorante's dishes. All to myself only for the afternoon, with no invading forks and no need for any diplomatic pretense that I'm more than eager to let you have a try. I'm possessive, but it's only for the best.
The pasta was done to al dente perfection, in a tangy and lightly spicy tomato gravy that was nothing less than addictive. This is as good as pasta can get, be it here in Singapore or in authentic Italy. The slight hint of spiciness, possibly in an effort to appeal to the local clientele, blended perfectly well and worked wonders.
The generous serving of lobster meat wrapped it all up nicely. Firm and juicy to the bite, it bore the marks of freshness and quality. Well worth the price I was paying for, which to be honest is nothing compared to the gastronomic experience I was entitled to. Simply lovely.
Crema alla Catalana con Frutti di Bosco Marinati al Vincotto
Haitian Crème Brûlée served with Vincotto Marinated Berries
I'm in love, and not just because this is something pretty and alluring. I've not tasted anything better than this really, not in a long mile. The Crema alla Catalana con Frutti di Bosco Marinati al Vincotto is a sugar and dessert person's dream, a crème brûlée done to immaculate perfection from the thin, firm and crisp caramel layer down to the smooth and sweet vanilla custard. I loved it served in a wider pan as compared to a slightly deeper ramekin because it paired the caramel layer more evenly with the custard; as such, each spoonful was guaranteed a little of both.
Some of the best things do come in pairs, as was the crème brûlée here with its perfect accompaniment of fairly sour vincotto-marinated berries. This was pure love again and again and again, and I dare say I love this more than anyone else.
As the hands of the clock wound down, we started to say our goodbyes, but not without promising that we will meet again soon. The affair, though short, ended on a heart-warming, even calming, note, the same way a smooth cup of good Cappuccino would warm you up inside. The froth, diaphanous and almost fluffy, was sweet from the added spoonful of sugar. A sweet ending, a happy ending.
It has been quite a while, but I'm delighted to have finally found another meal that scored flawlessly in all courses and areas. Service here was impeccable as well, and the timing in delivery was just about right. The ambience (I had a side room which only seated four separate tables, so there was some measure of peace and privacy) was good, and I am sure it would be even better in the evenings. Perfect for that special date.
This experience was mine, and mine alone to cherish. I do know that some would be bursting to share even their personal relationships with the chef or manager (I've heard one too many), but leave those for elsewhere and let's just concentrate on the food instead - because they are all worth an encore really. For those of you who have not been to Otto Ristorante as yet, I hope you do! :)
Because being in love is such a wonderful feeling after all.
$26 for the Vicentina Style Baked Cod with Soft Polenta
$38 for the Linguine Boston Lobster in Spicy Light Tomato Gravy
$14 for the Haitian Crème Brûlée served with Vincotto Marinated Berries
$7 for a cup of Cappuccino
* Prices subject to the the usual 7% GST and 10% service charge.
** Citibank Platinum Cardmembers and above get 15% off on ala carte food bill.
28 Maxwell Road, #01-02
Red Dot Traffic Building.
For Otto Ristorante's website, click here.
Pictures taken with the Apple iPhone 4.