The parents were out of town and I was in-charge of babysitting the siblings. This, of course, meant that I was free to plan meals for the little monsters. Feeling like something Italian that lovely afternoon, I was immediately drawn to La Nonna, in a glossy page of the magazine, with their promises of a revamped menu and 1-for-1 promotion. Hey, who am I to let go of such a good deal?
La Nonna will probably familiar to foodies living in Bukit Timah area with its longstanding first outlet at Namly Place. While finding my way to the establishment proved uneventful—thank the inventors of in-built GPS—parking or people travelling via public transport may find some troubles. It’s just lanes & lanes of private houses, but I was lucky enough to find an available parallel parking spot right in front of the restaurant.
Meaning ‘the grandmother’ in Italian, the restaurant was just I’d expected it to be; warm, lively and unpretentious, this would probably be how I envisioned my grandmother’s restaurant to be – should she be both Italian and in the F&B industry. Reservations are definitely recommended if you want a seat indoors – there are a few outdoor tables, but I do like my air-conditioning.
As with all Italian restaurants, olive oil and balsamic vinegar are must-have condiments, and definitely much appreciated to pair with the selection of warm breads, which I forgot to ask if they were baked in-house. While the balsamic vinegar was not as aged as I’d like—it didn’t possess the richness and viscosity that I favoured—it was still good as a dip for the baked carbohydrates.
What I like about the Calamari ($16) was how very lightly battered they were—it looked almost like a serving of skinny onion rings—which really allowed the taste of squid to shine through, rather than buried by the taste of oil or batter. It isn’t as crisp as actual onion rings, but that’s understandable due to the lighter coat of batter.
Taking full advantage of the 1-for-1, we also shared the Insalata Della Nonna ($17). The mix of garden greens, gorgonzola cheese, egg, black olives, cherry tomatoes and avocado in white balsamic vinaigrette wasn’t much to shout about – I did enjoy the beautifully, slightly runny eggs, and piquant black olives though – I have no idea why I always shoot for salads, except for the perception that it’s going be make my overall meal ‘healthier’.
Their signature pizza, the La Nonna ($20) arrived halfway through our starters—they’d messed up the orders and fired it up earlier—but the staff was very apologetic about it, and I didn’t see the need to kick a big fuss.
The Neapolitan pizza (not as well-executed as the ones I enjoyed at Extra Virgin Pizza) with a thin crust that ranged from soft, sloppy centre to a stiff, crisp edge, coupled with a runny egg on top, meant that folding to eat it proved to be basically impossible. The black truffle ingredient, blended in what seems to be a cream of mushroom sauce, was pretty mild, but was enhanced slightly by Mozzarella and Parmesan.
The last time I’d had a crab meat linguini was at a Da Paolo, and I loved it, so I obviously went for it when I saw a similar item on the menu here! While it doesn’t look like much in the pictures, the Linguine ($20) was executed perfectly. The tomato cream sauce is rich, yet light enough to let the fresh and adequately-portioned crab meat shine. Plating could be improved, but this definitely met my expectations.
I firmly believe a meal isn’t complete without desserts – and you should believe my huge appetite by now. The Gelato ($11) is an ultra sinful serving of the day’s available flavours. That afternoon, we were treated to a rich Vanilla Bean, a Pistachio that was light enough to disguise as a ‘Green Tea’, and a base of smooth Chocolate. A sure-fire way to a sugar high, or ‘Fat Hell’.
The Cioccolata ($13), an oven-baked dark chocolate tart, was obviously a pre-prepared dessert that was rapidly heated up right before serving, as apparent from the slightly burnt edges and slightly colder centre. Who’s to say they didn’t do it on purpose—I can hardly believe I’m saying this—but the burnt parts actually enhanced its flavours! For diners who are bored of a vanilla ice cream pairing, the tart raspberry and gooseberry dressings also make a good team with the rich, dark chocolate.
PS. Their 1-for-1 promotion is still available for weekday lunches. Do check out their $22, 3-course weekday lunch sets that change on a weekly basis.
- I also recommend this place for:
- Lunch, Children/Family, Vibrant/Noisy
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Hi there Six & Seven,
You sure have put a smile on our faces with your review!
The honest, detailed review has definitely been encouraging and of course, constructive in aiding our pursuit of improving our food & service.
We have shared your feedback with the culinary team at La Nonna to take note of what needs sprucing and what's working just fine.
Thank you for taking the time to review La Nonna. We do hope you will swing by again some time soon.
The La Nonna Team
21 February 2012