Alan wanted to try Trattoria Nonna Lina, a homely Italian diner. Nonna is the Italian word for grandmother; don’t mistaken this restaurant with La Nonna, another Italian restaurant of similar-sounding name. Nestled within a quiet row of restored Peranakan houses along Cantonment Road, it dishes out traditional Italian recipes, specialising in seafood and meat; pizza is not featured on the menu.
The place is Italian-family run, as what you would experience in similar trattorias in Italy. The Italian boss Franco is busy busing the tables and supervising his family members, and Italian chatters abound. Simple artifacts, including a landscape painting by a family member that Andrew found fascinating, adorn the walls.
A nice touch is the complimentary bruschetta with olive oil – laden garlicky fresh tomatoes atop crisp ciabatta.
For appetisers, we ordered the lightly-smoked Swordfish and Tuna carpaccio which was simply assembled with a salad drizzled with olive oil, giving a light yet tasty start.
This was followed by the Eggplant Parmigiana, which was nicely baked and delivered to the table piping hot and cheesy. We like that the eggplant had that smokiness from being pan-fried before baking.
As the first primo course, we had the Risotto Contadino of eggplant, button mushrooms in parmesan-truffle-cream which came al dente, and was sinfully delicious;
The second primo course was the spaghetti of bottarga fish-roe with clams and Prawns, doused in a decadent white wine sauce. The taste might be too rich for some.
Finally, the four of us shared the main course of Grigliata di Terra featuring a mixed grill of tenderloin, Italian sausage, and rack of lamb with a 36-hour-reduced Barolo wine sauce. The sausage was piquant, with the tenderloin and lamb were well charred but still pink inside. The meats were of premium quality.
Prices are pretty steep for such a homely place but the cooking is solid, with more complex varietals of pasta than most trattorias, but obviously that comes with a cost. Notwithstanding this, Trattoria Nonna Lina must have its regulars as the place was buzzing despite it being a Sunday night.
Trattoria Nonna Lina