La Strada & Star Wars: The Force Awakens

DSC04791In case your are wondering about the connection between La Strada and Star Wars: The Force Awakens, it happened that we planned to watch the movie at Shaw Center and figured that with the movie running long, we should dine nearby – hence La Strada, a subsidiary of the award winning Les Amis Group (one of my fave F&B Group in Singapore, especially during the times when  world-class Masterchef Justin Quek was helming the kitchen) that reopened end September 2013.

First about the movie – don’t cringe; no spoilers here. It really brought back memories of Hans Solo, Chewbacca, Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia, C-3PO, R2-D2 and many other characters from the first episode I watched as a young man. It’s somewhat disconcerting to see how some of the faces then has aged. The special effects are good and I must say the producer did a good job of rehashing the original; but I’m no fan of 3-D movies – makes me dizzy. Here’s a tip you will appreciate later on: empty your bladder before the movie starts.

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Back to the food. La Strada underwent a remake (just like Star Wars: The Force Awakens) into a rather authentic Trattoria, repleted with decorations carrying the national colours of Italy:  deep green awnings framing dark colonial shutters, and red furnishings; creating a cozy and rustic ambience that, in their own words, “offers diners a temporary escape from the monotony of the urban jungle“. How true in that it is located near Orchard Road with its shopping frenzy accelerating so near to Christmas.

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The walls of the trattoria are adorned with Italian paraphernalia and artworks. We ordered the house pours of a 2013 Aldo Clerico, Dolcetto d’Alba DOCG – Piedmont (S$15) and the  2012 Antonio Caggiano, Tauri, Aglianico dell’Irpinia DOC – Campania (S$15) which turned out full-bodied and smooth.

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The restaurant dishes up a delectable spread of Italian cuisine under the guidance of Head Chef Dalton Fong who has had years of experience in sister concepts Bistro du Vin (my fave French go-to in Singapore) and Au Jardin by Les Amis group. We started with the FRITTO MISTO (S$32)  of deep fried seafood & vegetables with a side of piquant aioli. It was decent but nothing special to write about – the plating was surprising plain, perhaps in deference to the rustic theme.

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The pastas are excellent; authentically al dente and flavourful – beginning with Andrew’s all-time favourite of Penne Pomodoro. This and a few pastas are off-menu. Heres’ another tip:  while perusing the menu I commented that the pasta dishes were rather limited when the waitress overhead me and informed us that we may order whatever we want – very impressed!

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The Aglio Olio Spaghetti (S$18) was among the best that we had- fragrant, garlicky with a hint of heat from the chilli padi. We had to order seconds.

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The TAGLIOLINI AL GRANCHIO (S$34) appeared as flat pasta with very fresh spanner crab, cherry tomatoes, white wine, chilli, garlic – a very tantalising dish; the flavourful stock was mouth-watering.

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Next came the CARBONARA Spaghetti (S$28) with  chitarra, bacon crumble, runny egg confit, parmesan and true butter – a calorie-laden delight.

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The main of BRACIOLE DI MAIALE (S$36) roasted Mangalica pork rack with potato, rosemary, garlic and lemon was heavenly with a robust lip-smacking gravy. Let me rephrase that – the little meat that we had was heavenly; as unfortunately the rack was 1/3 meat and the rest fat. Mangalica  pork is from a rare Hungarian breed of domestic pig, termed as the “Kobe Beef” of pork. I knew it should be fatty, but NOT that fatty.

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Andrew was rather disappointed with the dessert Of Tiramisu Lemoncello; the traditional version was sold out.

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I know it’s a little crass but I couldn’t resist taking a photo of the quaint renaissance-style wash basin in the toilet, beautifully framed by the ethnic-looking tiles.

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We enjoyed the dinner as much as Star Wars: The Force Awakens (sorry had to insert this to improve the content SEO); the pastas are authentic and excellent. The place is also decorated for the Christmas celebration and invokes a festive mood. A nice sanctuary if you need to escape from the maddening crowd.

La Strada
#01-13 Shaw Centre
Singapore
Phone: +65 67356656


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