Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Otto Ristorante

Best Meal of 2009
Discovered: 26th December, Boxing Day.

I am absolutely in love with Otto.... Bewitched by Chef Michele's stunning culinary skills, impressed with the kitchen's quality insistence and showcase of fireworks-sparkling dishes.

The display of splendor over my 6 dinner courses was impressive. Otto's Gourmet Menu ($128++) encompasses several signature dishes, touching from foie gras to lobster to everything rewardingly luxurious. Under the hands of resident chef Michele Pavanello (previously from Pontini which i loved too), these luxuries transform into dishes of unforgettable excellence.


From the bread selection of walnut, raisin, ciabatta, plain & onion focaccia, i happily called for 4.

Take onion foccacia and take lots of it! I fell for its dense, cushiony sponge body festooned with oiled onions, and made sure i pick up every fallen slice of them. The walnut bread was another crusty babe, especially good with a sharp balsamic dip.

Oh yes you get 12-year aged balsamic vinegar to complement your breads, beat that!

Amuse Bouche of the day: Roast beef ham with tuna sauce
elaine's Amuse Bouche of the day: Crab vol-au-vent

Folly me misheard the waiter's speech on Roast BEEF ham and was about to stash that tiny spoon into my mouth when he came in the nick of time to hit STOP button.

"Mam you mentioned you couldn't take beef? Good thing i came on time! Let me get that changed for you."

Moments later a petite Crab vol-au-vent appeared. A dwarfly clump of mayonnaised crab in dry pastry case won't make the show, but the waiter's observance did. That was more worth crediting than any pre-meal teaser.

Greetings, Hokkaido Scallop Carpaccio. Fresh fork-mashable scallop circles brilliantly revitalized by hues of green. The caviar and chive snippets played important flavoring roles, while the drizzle of arugula-infused olive oil imparted moisture.

Second on the menu was Foie Gras, now a common quintessential on modern European menus. Pan-roasted glossy, with grease cut by the additions of Chianti poached pears & a condorelli liquorice dressing. The friend loved it.

Delish scrambled egg with... 3 grams of white truffle!

I opted out of FG to take a virgin jump at white truffles, via their Scrambled Egg with Blue Swimmer Crab. Avoided some unctuousness but unspared from sinfulness.

I silently observed as Chef wheeled his cart over. He carefully placed the golden baby on a weighing scale, shaved several flakes atop my dish, returned the lump onto the scale, then graciously took his leave. Leaving behind exactly 3 grams of bliss.

Chef Michele's scrambled egg is chiefly cream+milk+butter doused into egg, then meticulously cooked to Lilliputian curds... hmmm maybe even over a bain marie. It is creamy decadent, made extra scrumptious with chunks of shell-less blue swimmer crab.


People who know me should know my predictability when it comes to pasta. I've pledged my undying love for tomato-based sauces paired with seafood, and how i would assess homemade pasta with strict criteria. For years i've eaten countless renditions; satisfied at times, disappointed many times. Recollections come & go.

But when i fed myself a twirl of Otto's Homemade Tagliolini with Boston Lobster, i thought... This might just be the best ever eaten. No, it IS the bestest ever eaten!

Gawd it's heaven-sent!

Delicate, perfectly consistent strands of fine tagliolini married with a marvellous light spicy tomato sauce and juicy lobster pieces laced all around. Total stunner. I'm so having one full plate next time round!

Our fish dish was lovely too. Its a piece of European John Dory Fillet cooked in fresh tomato & basil sauce, served with thyme scented zucchini. Those strands of curly cooked zucchini were amusing... slightly crunchy, resembling noodles or way better than noodles. All seated in a light, appetizing passata.

After winning over the bread-loving, pasta-loving, white truffle-loving & fish-lovingness in me, he went on to conquer the last, not-so-pork-loving heart of mine.

I'm not usually into suckling pigs, not even at festive reunions or wedding dinners, unless forcibly offered. But right at my table, i happily mopped up the two of Otto's Crispy Suckling Pig slices lacquered with black locust honey & aged balsamic. That really says something.

My partner decided to have the Prime Beef Ribeye, which was done medium well and laced with barolo wine reduction. Good enough to silence the beef-lover for minutes.

Because our set's dessert ran out, we were open to the full list of options. #1 restaurant's recommendation: a respectable Warm Chocolate Cake oozing cocoa richness and fluffy thick lava. pretty yums. The Haitian Vanilla icecream burst full vanilla tunes, particularly reeking of extract, decadent to the max.

Again i admit, i never was a Creme Brulee fan. Given a choice i'll usually pick up a panna cotta or tiramisu but Otto's Haitian Vanilla Creme Brulee is one not to be missed.

I'm utterly impressed by its awesome balancing act.... Rich yet not cloying. Creamy yet not over-creamy. Eggy yet nowhere near egg-intolerance... You'll instinctively dig up to the very end! Along came a cup of mixed berries cooked in vincotto (a sweet dark grape must) i also loved. These dark syrupy reductions are right up my alley.

Otto executes top-notch finesse and is the best, if not, one of the best modern italian food you can get on this island. To be sampling white truffles for the first time in my life, nestled atop those creamy egg plateau, was great pleasure indeed. Chef Michele splendidly closed my 2009 with another few best discoveries.

Totally Otto-fied.

Otto Ristorante
28 Maxwell Road
#01-02 Red Dot Traffic Building
6227 6819


  1. I love the lobster pasta, scrambled eggs & creme brulee... Bestest ever.

    I <3 Otto too!

  2. i'm so gonna try out this place. =)

  3. Wow...the lobster pasta looks good. So near to my workplace and I have not even visited. Haha...

  4. Hey Elaine

    Just had dinner there last night. Thought the lobster pasta was delicious. Overall it was good, but marred by some uneven cooking. Some lobster pieces for the pasta were slightly overcooked, the meat had seized up.

    The skin on the suckling pig wasn't crisp, which is a shame because that is the whole point of suckling pig. It was a letdown also because the dish could have been so good. It was tasty and the meat was tender and moist.

    Liked all the dishes except for the john dory. The fillet was overcooked. Sauce was ok but a little boring.

    Don't get it wrong, it was all good food. but I thought it was a little expensive for what it was, Would have been ok with it if all the dishes were executed perfectly. Plus I was still hungry after all that. They need slightly bigger portions.

  5. frances: it's time to pay them a visit! they've got set lunches that change weekly, looking pretty good. and do try the lobster pasta! (:


    hey dave, oh no that sounds bad to hear ):

    my pasta and suckling pig dishes were rather well-executed that day when i visited, skin real crispy. the fish was done fine, not overcooked too. But i do agree that portions were pretty small except for the desserts =p

    btw, ive got news from a friend that Chef Michele has been hospitalized and thus wasn't overseeing the kitchen operations that night you went.... perhaps that might be a reason for the amiss in food.

  6. Ahh that might explain it. Can I get my money back? Haha.

    I hope chef Michele is ok though. Was it anything serious?

    Was looking at my pictures and they all came out pretty bad because of the dim light.

    Have to say that your pictures of the place are amazing!

  7. Chef is back, he's well now. (:

  8. dave: thanks! but credits goes to the light above our table =p i'm not too sure what happened to chef, hope he'll be back soon!

    ice: oh great.. how did u find out?



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