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Joining the row of shophouses along Bukit Timah Road is a quaint Italian restaurant that recently opened barely a month ago. Fondly named after the great Italian tenor Enrico Caruso from Naples, Caruso Ristorante Pizza Bar serves up markedly Southern Italian-inspired cuisine as a tribute to the hometowns of both partners behind the business.
An exciting venture between 28 year old Leonardo Palmisano, who takes charge of matters front of the house and 60 year old Chef Franco Lorello, who offers a wealth of experience from managing 17 restaurants back in Italy, Caruso marks their foray into our local Italian dining scene.
Wanting to keep the experience as authentic as they can for their customers, Chef Franco believes in only using Italian produce. From the tomatoes to the flour used to make their pastas, to even the olive oil used in the cooking, Caruso imports as much as they can directly from Italy.
From the Antipasti section:
The Grissini Al Parma was a delightful start with freshly baked breadsticks wrapped in paper-thin prosciutto which were effortlessly flavorful with creamy and salty notes.
A classic summer Italian dish, the Vitello Tonnato $24 featured chilled slices of veal dressed very generously with a thick tuna sauce and capers. While the presentation was elegant and the meat tender, the aftertaste was a tad too intense for me and might take a little getting used to.
Moving to the Mains:
For a healthy choice, the Filetto Di Pesce Alla Napolentana with its drizzle of olive oil and pesto pleased with juicy pops of fresh cherry tomatoes complimenting the sweet flesh of cod fillets.
Desserts were kept traditional with the ever classic Tiramisu $12.50 served. Unlike the Tiramisu that we are used to in Singapore, this version was kept true to the original recipe with a more intense espresso flavor that was not cloyingly sweet yet still excellent. Locals will find this variation refreshing.
Overall, I had an extremely pleasant experience dining at Caruso. I thoroughly appreciated the fact that the dishes still had the virtue of authenticity tied to it and I do hope that in time to come, as the kitchen begins to cater more to our local palate, it does not lose its rawness and continue to offer Singaporeans a real taste of what Italian cuisine is all about.
Caruso Ristorante Pizza Bar, though still very young, brims with potential.
We started our Italian lunch with some homemade Focaccia, Grissini Al Parma and Polpette. It was my first time having the breadstick wrapped with parma ham. It actually quite like the combination. The chef has also prepared for us 2 version of the polpette, one made with eggplant while the other made from fish. The little delectable balls were fried to a nice crispy golden brown.
Presenting the ocean on a plate, the Insalatina Di Mare ($25) or seafood salad showcased the freshest catch of the day. Keeping in clean and simple with just a drizzle of lemon sauce, the plate allowed the seafood to shine with its natural sweetness.
The Calamari Friti ($19.50) was interesting stacked up into a tower but do not expect to get the same presentation in your next visit. The calamari was lightly battered and deep fried to a nice exterior crisp with a delectable bite to it.
The Paccheri Amalfitani ($21.50) is definitely the star for the day. The freshly homemade paccheri pasta was served with eggplant, mozzarella and basil in a tomato sauce. What blown me away is how the cooked al dente pasta worked harmoniously with the rest of the elements on the plate.
I could smell the lovely aroma of the thyme from a distance when the Costatine Di Agnello Al Timo ($29.50) was served. Although the lamb was a bit over it still tasted beautiful.
The Tortino Al Cioccolato ($12.50) looked like a mess up chocolate lava cake served with vanilla ice cream. The ugly chocolate tart was surprisingly rich and moist wrapping up the lunch on a sweet note.
Full review and photos at www.sgfoodonfoot.com