Tag Archives: Bukit Timah

Pasar Bella

Giant paella being cooked

Hurrah for Pasar Bella ! It’s been open for a few months now, and we finally went yesterday to our utter delight. Finally Singapore has a selection of good food purveyors, offering beautiful cuts of meat, deliciously smelly cheeses, organic vegetables, fresh seafood and yummy bites – all under one airconditioned roof.

Despite the fact that most of the produce is imported – it still gives me the same feeling as a true farmers market where everything is sourced locally. Or one of the European markets like the Mercato Central in Florence where you have the similar stall after stall of everything good to eat.

Bone-in Rib-eye Steak

We found James’ Butchery & Co where we bought a ridiculously large bone-in rib-eye steak. And after chatting with James, ended up buying lamb chops, thick rib-eye and striploin steaks, beef brisket, and osso bucco with the intent of going back next time to try the pork and chicken that he has to offer. Amazing. James also gave us advice on how long to finish the bone-in rib-eye in the oven, after searing well on the stove first (15-20 minutes for medium rare).

The Cheese Ark is a dark cavernous room where four obviously cheese-loving women will tell you anything and everything about the cheese they offer. We bought cheeses that we’ve never even heard about and enjoyed them last night after dinner.

Vibrant green and purple kale

Of course every market needs to have organic produce and at the Organic Grocer I was delighted to finally find the elusive-in-Singapore, kale ! That’s been pan-fried and served with the steak last night, been added to a soup today, and currently baking in the oven to make kale chips. Yes, I’ve been waiting eagerly for a long time to get my hands on this delicious leafy vegetable.

The AMAZING roast pork belly at Roast & Host

By this stage we had our hands literally full and we will happily make the trek to Turf City again, but an honourable mention needs to go out to Roast & Host by Keith and Kin. We’d worked up quite an appetite after all that shopping and we followed our nose to Roast & Host. Ribbons of crispy crackling greeted us. It was so popular that they couldn’t cook the pork quickly enough for demand and we had to wait a while before we went back and were rewarded with the most awesome roast pork.

Happy happy happy is all I can say – well done and THANK YOU to the organisers of Pasar Bella !

Pasar Bella
PasarBella @ The Grandstand Bukit Timah Singapore
200 Turf Club Road Singapore 287994
Tel: +65 6887 0077

Open daily from 9.30am – 7.00pm


Why Chef Valentino is a GENIUS

Truffle ice-cream with freshly shaved white truffles

Who else would shave fresh white truffles over truffle/vanilla ice-cream??

In my earlier post on Valentinos, I mentioned that D had loved it so much that he said that Valentinos was where he wanted to have his birthday dinner.  So off we went last night.

Fresh buffalo mozzarella

I had already rang ahead to check if they had any fresh buffalo mozarella that night and was delighted to find out they did.  We had a similar round of starters than we did our first time there – lightly breadcrumbed and deep-fried anchovies, the buffalo mozarella and sweet tomatoes with olive oil and basil, cow’s milk cheese wrapped in proscuitto and pan-fried, and we added a selection of cold meats to make four for the table.

Cherry tomatoes with basil

As before, the mozarella was light and chewy and stringy and milky and all the things buffalo mozarella should be.  Paired with a mouthful of tomatoes and basil and we were transported to our trip to the Amalfi Coast once again.  The cold meats didn’t look like much, but the flavour from the thinly shaved slices of proscuitto, salami and mortadella (something I’ve always wondered about but never tasted) was a perfect way to balance the other dishes on the table.

Porcini ravioli with truffle oil

For seconds we shared two pasta dishes – the porcini ravioli with truffle oil and the house speciality, squid ink pasta in a creamy crab sauce.  The ravioli was just so … mushroomy, for want of a better word.  And the squid ink pasta came in thick ribbons covered with large chunks of fresh crab leg meat, the sauce a mix of cream and tomato and with a hint of heat from chilli.  I couldn’t really taste the squid ink over the flavour of the sauce, so a good thing the sauce was so delicious.

Delicious steak

Mains we again shared two dishes – the veal saltimbocca and a 500g steak, cooked on the bone and medium rare, served thickly sliced over a bed of rocket and tomatoes. Both solidly good.

But I digress.  I am typing all of this as fast as I can just so I can tell you about the special dessert Chef Valentino served D especially for his birthday – truffle ice-cream, with freshly shaved white truffles.  The only time I have seen so many truffles was when we were in Rome at Pietros where they had a tray of fresh black truffles.  Chef Valentino showed us a square bowl full of arborio rice, with the most beautiful smelling truffles dotted on top.  This was how he stored his truffles – in order to further flavour the arborio rice for his truffle risottos.  Another stroke of genius.

White truffles perfuming a bed of arborio rice

He then gave us a martini glass with one scoop of truffle ice-cream – we ate the ice-cream on its own – a rich vanilla ice-cream that actually already tasted of truffles.  Why it works, we didn’t care.  Just trust me when I say it does.  Chef then liberally shaved the fresh white truffles over it and the four of us at our table greedily scooped out spoonfuls of ice-cream with truffles.  There was absolute silence in the room for a few seconds before the exclamations – “mmmmm !”  and “ooooh !” – started of just how good that tasted.

We left happy, full and with a parting shot of Limoncello.  For such an unassuming restaurant, this place rocks.  Apart from the food, the service is just so warm.  Not only is it clearly family run, but clearly the staff are also treated like family, and it really shows.  Add to this the fact that the Chef is an amarone fiend (ask to see his wine cellar!!), means we will definitely be going back again, hopefully very soon !

Ristorante Da Valentino
11 Jalan Bingka
Singapore 588908
Restaurant: 6462 0555

Closed Mondays


Valentinos

Tucked away in the back streets of Bukit Timah is Ristorante Da Valentino, which my friend C who took us there described as “charming”.  And boy was she right. Small, clearly family run and loved, you are warmly welcomed to your table amongst a nice buzzy ambiance.  The waiter tells you the specials of the day – that night, a lot of produce flown in from various parts of Italy, all of which sounded so good we ended up ordering five antipasto entrees between the three of us.

Never, even when we were in Italy, have we tasted produce like this.  The food was simply prepared, and when the produce tastes this good, you don’t need to dress it up.  First came anchovies  – lightly floured and fried, on a bed of salad, simply dressed with a squeeze of lemon.  I love love love small fish anyway, and anchovies are one of my favourites, so this was easily going to be a winner.  The next two were tomatoes from Southern Italy – they were small like cherry tomatoes, and dressed in olive oil and a few shavings of basil – and the flavour in them was almost ridiculous.  THIS is what tomatoes are meant to taste like – intensely sweet and savoury at the same time.  These perfectly accompanied fresh buffalo mozarella.  And again, neither D nor I have had the pleasure of sampling buffalo mozarella like this.  It was almost like it had just been molded – a big white, voluminous cloud of cheese dressed with olive oil, which the waiter cut at our table, and you could see the milky goodness ooze out of it from each cut.  OH MY GOD.  Heaven.  We also had the tormino cheese wrapped in proscuitto and pan-fried – the cheese was a little too “tangy” for my liking – I kept thinking of goat’s cheese, which I really do not like.  Oh, and how could I forget the ham ?  Homemade on premises, served thinly shaved with a warm prosecco sauce.  Delish.

Freshly baked ciabatta was served along with all of this, crisp and sliced thinly, so you could dig out the anchovy pesto from the small ramekin that they gave each person.

We were so full after the antipasta that we ended up just ordering pasta for our mains.  I had the linguine aglio olio with tartufo which, even as a garlic lover, was a little overgarlicky for me – there was about one bulb of pan-fried garlic pieces throughout the linguine and hardly any tartufo.  C and D had the porcini ravioli with tartufo and perfumed with truffle oil.  I think that was the winner, but D was so enamoured by it he only remembered to offer me some after he’s eaten most of it and I was soooo full by then.

We couldn’t even think of dessert, but Valentinos also has the most astounding array of amarones that I’ve seen, ranging from $100 – $2000.  C had taken us there especially for amarone, but the waiter recommended a Valpolicella from Dal Forno, Romano.  D absolutely loved it.

In fact, D loved the whole meal so much, it’s on his birthday dinner list (the unlaminated version).

We’ll definitely be going back if for nothing else for the mozarella and tomatoes – which you should ring ahead for because it’s not guaranteed that they will have any that day…

Ristorante Da Valentino
11 Jalan Bingka
Singapore 588908
Restaurant: 6462 0555
Fax: 6462 2247
Email: ristvale@singnet.com.sg