Double standard service. You get no service if you don't order wine, or a full course meal. We were served by 1 particular filipino guy on all 3 visits, seems like a senior as he was bossing the other waiters around and likes to be "friendly" with caucasian customers instead of serving plates like the others.
Once we came in and sat on a table he pointed us but the table was not set yet, no cutleries whatsoever. We had to get his attention a few times to set the table or even to refill the water. Sometimes water refill doesn't come even after we got his attention. Weird, as he seems to be so attentive with caucasian customers, kept topping up their drinks without any commands.
It's a no brainer that main courses have to arrive at the same time. Mine was late, and maybe forgotten cause others have almost finished their food and mine wasn't even on the table yet. He eyed our table a few times looking at my empty space but no effort of updating me about my food. Tried to get his attention but he kept walking away from our table (???) Finally when my food came, everyone already finished their food, no apology was made. I mean, if I dont want service, I might as well eat in food courts.
Tbh the food is not bad that's why I came here 3 times thinking it'll be different from my first experience but to no avail. So if you want a good service here, make sure you order a full course meal and maybe bring your caucasian friend.
I've been long encouraged to check out Da Luca by various individuals who live by the credo 'we live to eat'. I, of course, couldn't be f$%^ked coz I feel this increasing Singaporen obsession with food and amateur food photography has killed whatever little joy I had for eating in the first place. I mean, the way Singaporeans go on about food...you'd be forgiven for thinking we are a starving Third World country where every meal is a miracle!
Back to Da Luca with its ooh-so-inviting movie reference (fyi, Luca Brasi is a famed character from The Godfather). I made it to the restaurant yesterday (Tuesday, 29 Sep) at long last and I have to say, on evidence, that I should have have checked it out much sooner.
The restaurant is small and cosy-ish with a vibe reminiscent of diners in Italy - with laughter, clinking glasses etc
The young lady who attended to us was probably an ex-contestant of Dancing with the Stars - she was gliding effortlessly from table to table explaining items on the menu, topping up water, asking people if they had preferences etc all while flashing a mega watt smile. She asked my dinner companion and I if we had any allegeries (we did not) and suggested that we skip the menu and enjoy what the Chef had in mind for us. We picked out a simple Amarone and the evening was set.
I don't remember the exact names of the dishes but we were served a chilled capellini, a grilled+pan fried octpus on tomato confit, a burata cheese ravioli, a risotto, pork belly and veal. Rounded off by tiramsu and pizza-apple slice with ice cream.
And the verdict? You know how you get 30mins into a movie you are enjoying when you start hoping that it will not suck at the end. That's what happened with our dinner. The first two dishes (capellini and octopus) were so yummy that we looked forward to the following dishes with some trepidation. Enjoying every dish but waiting for a letdown. Which...did arrive in the form of the mushroom risotto. It was oookay. I've had better. Maybe its letdown was amplified by the splendid dishes it shared the table with.
Our dining experience was more impressive given that the restaurant was running at full capacity (on a Tuesday, mind you) where certain slipshoddiness is to be expected, even if it is excusable. But not with us or our dinner. We had a great time - wonderful food, gorgeous wine and the Dancing with the Stars lady was the cherry on the cake. Please have her attend to you - her name is Grace, if I'm not wrong.
With a dinner that had soo many pluses the one minus had to be something the restaurant can't do much about - an annoying diner who was so loud that it took saintly patience to not send him sinking after Luca Brasi. He was sooo annoying that our neighbours and us maxed out our rolling of the eyes for the month!
I will return to Da Luca sooner than later. (Maybe call ahead to check if the annoying patron is there.)
Chef Luca sure can whip up an amazing meal and lucky him for his Amazing Grace.
we had ok food - the calamari was a bit tough and the pizza not as good as pietrasanta, the ravioli tasted fine but the presentation was poor in a curiously coloured sauce
the ambience was like a department store - harsh lighting, i have no idea how anyone could call it 'cosy'
the service also reminded me of a department store
no comparison to pietrasanta in any respect - its a pity as someone had recommended it, but it was a big disappointment
we came here on a sunday night with 6 other friends. when waiter came to take our orders, we politely declined ordering starters because we were still full from tea. his face changed immediately and it was downhill service from then onwards. requests for water refills were ignored.
my husband and i ordered the florentine steak and i must say it tastes pretty good, but with such bad service, i will not patronise this place again.
I'm always jealous of my friend who lives beside Al Borgo - I love Italian food and would very much like to have a good Italian restaurant right by my place. I'm so glad Da Luca is just walking distance from my house!
Went with my parents 2 nights ago and the classic dishes I see on the menu excites me. Caprese, burrata platter, eggplant parmagiana, pizzas, gnocci and this rabbit pasta. Ok I'm getting excited just recalling what was on the menu.
Because I just had burrata 2 days before (at Limoncello), and caprese probably 5 days ago, I decided to go for the parmagiana ($17ish). It was great! All that I expect of a good parmagiana - rich sauce, thick cheese, silky eggplant. I only wish it came in a bigger portion!
Then came the pizza with salami ($20ish) - this was ok. My mom thought it was a little too salty (but of course it should be salty) and I thought it's all right, it's a good pizza but not wow-pizza. But I guess I shouldn't have gone with the maitre d's recommendation cuz I'm never into meat pastas. The crust is very thin and like all thin crust pizzas, chewy in the middle and crusty on the outside.
I tried the spinach gnocci in gorgonzola sauce ($19.90) - VERY NICE!!! The gnocci is tender and the sauce extremely rich, but the chef cut the richness with a balsamic glaze, so the flavors are very well balanced! I could finish everything on my own if I didn't have to keep my weight in check.
Finally we had the squid ink pasta ($23ish) which was the day's special. This was ok lah... it's not bad, comes with quite a lot of prawns, but it's just not wonderful enough to impress. I think Valentino's version is nicer. I don't know why but the tomato-ey & garlicky sauce tasted a bit of bitter gourd - I like bitter gourd but it's a bit disorienting to detect its taste in a pasta.
We saw people having the burrata platter, the caprese, the calamari and the ravioli and they all looked fantastic. The burrata is $38.90, very good price and I would definitely want to come back for that.
I didn't really look at the wine list because I don't drink with my parents (who does?) but it looked pretty decent for a restaurant of this size.
The damage for 3 of us was $96+, but I would say that the portions here are generous so that the price is rather decent. Service is ok, I've had better elsewhere though. But for the great menu and food - I'll be back for sure.
Well, it’s official. According to the Straits Times, there’s never been a better choice of restaurants for the discerning diner in Singapore. What with international celebrity chefs opening restaurants left, right and centre, 2010 may very well be our Indian summer of new eating establishments.
And also according to the ST, those same mega-chefs are predicting that local demand for all things Japanese and Italian will continue to grow like the clappers.
In one particular case, at Newton’s Goldhill Plaza, when one shoji closes, another door slides open. Well-regarded Japanese sushi corner Wahiro has closed its Goldhill Plaza outlet. In its place, the now 3-month old Italian trattoria Da Luca has opened its doors. It’s still early days yet, but on a recent dinner outing, the verdict all around was: molto bene - pretty good.
Florentine chef Luca Pucciani has previously cooked at Purvis Street eateries Garibaldi’s and the sleek Gunther’s. On opening his eponymous restaurant, he’s eschewed the high-falutin’ haute cuisine for an earthier, simpler kind of Italian food - that of his native Tuscany, with some pan-Italian favourites thrown in.
Incidentally we were informed that the owners of the La Fiandra group of Italian restaurants have a stake in Da Luca. There are obvious parallels between the two restaurants, with a similar casual/rustic approach to flavourful and mostly familiar Italian cuisine, and also similar pricing. Da Luca leans more towards northern Italian at the moment, and it’ll be interesting to see how this relationship develops in the future.
In keeping with the rustic nature of the food, the decor is bright, simple and homely - terracotta tiles, straw-wrapped chianti bottles arranged in little tableaus, that kind of thing. It was a light crowd on the evening we were there, but the maitre d’ informed us that weekends tend to be quite crowded.
In addition, the wine list has a fairly broad selection at relatively reasonable prices - kudos to the chef-proprietor! Italian wines from the Veneto, Sicily and of course Tuscany are well-represented, but there are also selections from Germany (a nice Fritz Haag riesling), France and Australia. No Americans present though. For those special occasions, a separate chef’s wine selection lists quite a few goodies - anyone care for a 1.5L magnum or a staggering 3L jeroboam of Brunello di Montalcino? And for those who can afford it, a Tignanello or even a Sassacaia. Something to ask Santa for next Christmas perhaps.
The menu is chock-full of those northern Italian favourites such as beef carpaccio, bistecca fiorentina and the like. A 300g burrata - fresh buffalo-milk mozzarella marinated in cream - was at the top of our list, but unfortunately it was sold out. We consoled ourselves with a very nice insalata caprese - juicy sweet tomatoes and buffalo-milk mozzarella - and the beef carpaccio. Both were very nice. Our dining companions had the mushroom soup, which was rather sophisticated-looking by comparison with truffle oil and a cappucino-like foam. As it was gulped down before we could try any, I can’t say for sure, but it seemed to be very enjoyable.
The menu offers a fairly broad choice of pastas and risotto, but we ordered just the one to share. Stracci - wide, flat freshly-made pasta - was doused in a hearty sauce made with rabbit meat, olives and tomato, and went down like a dream. It was perfect with a glass of 1999 Fuligni Brunello, the classic black cherry fruit and acidity cutting nicely through the rich sauce. I've also been told, on good authority, that the parpadelle with duck sauce is also a winner, something I'll have to try on my next visit.
Main courses did not disappoint either - a grilled pork chop served with a mushroom sauce was pronounced delectable, the meat savoury and succulent. Pizza with mushrooms came deliciously thin-crusted. The only letdown was perhaps the famous half-kilo bistecca, which at S$47 is hard to beat price-wise, but although we requested medium rare, the meat was on the slightly tough side. The roasted potatoes that came with it were crisp and delicious though.
We were close to bursting at the seams, but we simply had to try the desserts. The tiramisú was nicely-flavoured, but my dining companion thought it could do with a liberal dousing of liquor. Torta di mele alla nonna - grandma’s apple tart - was splendid with chunks of toasty almonds and accompanied by a very nice pistachio ice-cream. But the winner had to be the delectable panna cotta - it comes creamy and silky, topped with a layer of zabaglione - basically a thin custard spiked with liquor - and chocolate sauce (normally strawberries, but they seemed to have run out). Although we had desserts aplenty, the waiter also brought a bowl of crostoli - a typical southern Italian confection in which ribbons of fresh dough are deep-fried and dusted with icing sugar.
Incidentally, Da Luca serves a very good espresso - Italian of course. Although we were about to roll onto the floor, the chef sent us some lovely little chocolate and hazelnut meringues and handrolled chocolate truffles. And to finish us off completely, a glass of limoncello.
The waitstaff were friendly, knowledgeable about the food, and made us feel very welcome. Incidentally, you can B.Y.O. wine, for which the restaurant charges a corkage of S$30.