Pietrasanta is located in what I consider one of the best locations in Singapore. Portsdown road is a long, dark and isolated road with some new interesting establishments (Klee and Laurent Bernard), and Pietrasanta is one of them. Housed within a colonial property, the restaurant has a large hall with high ceilings, a long terrace and a wonderfully relaxing courtyard. All three are dining areas and they offer a slightly different ambiance.
The restaurant claims to serve Tuscan food (Tuscany is a beautiful region in Italy, notorious for its culinary specialities). Will it deliver its promise?
We were given the menu and a long vocal selection of "specials" by the waitress. Shortly after, the order was professionally taken by one of the owners. He was knowledgeable and very helpful with the food selection and recommendations.
The Grilled Scamorza with Parma ham ($18.90) was incredibly gnummy. This is a real classic. I love scamorza and I was delighted to be able to have this in Singapore! This was a special and it might not be available on a regular basis, depending on availability of the cheese. For those who don't know, Scamorza is a typically Italian medium matured smoked cheese. Particularly nice when grilled and accompanied with ham.
The Acciughe fritte (deep fried anchovies, $22.90) is a typical home cooked dish. My mother used to make it often, and I was beaten by the temptation of having home food. I would rate it ok, although not the best. The anchovies were tasty, but slightly soggy and not as crispy as I would have hoped for. Overall I was quite pleased with the starters, enthusiastic about the fact that they had some typical Italian products, not always available at your average Italian restaurant. I was eager to get to the pastas!
The Squid-ink tagliolini with tomato sauce and crab meat ($24.90) were quite amateurish. This was a deep disappointment, after the nice starters. The tagliolini were not very professionally made, and they were totally overcooked. Soft and soggy, they were served with a tomato sauce that I would only expect from a beginner trying to cook Italian food! The sauce was messy, with an excess of garlic and tasteless, runny tomato. It hurts when you are paying $22.40 for pasta you could have at any average cafe'.
The real scandal was the spaghetti with prawns ($24.90), another special of the day. I really don't know where to start... beginning with a positive note, the prawns were succulent and juicy. Besides that, the pasta was what I would consider shameful to any Italian chef. Just looking at the spaghetti lying on a pool of oil (without even tucking into it) I could visibly tell that they were precooked. Precooked! I can accept having precooked pasta at TCC, but not at a "Tuscan restaurant" where I am paying such prices! Not only it was precooked, but badly cooked the second time, as the texture was quite raw and just weird. It has been ages since I had precooked pasta, and it did bring back memories! What a shame... the sad thing is that obviously people can't tell and chefs can get away with such shameful shortcuts.
Luckily, we only ordered one main dish. The Grilled Swordfish ($28.90) was served with salad and potatoes on the side. One of the potatoes was undercooked, and the fish would have been fresh and tasty if it wasn't so excessively greasy. Perhaps a twist of lemon would have helped, but as it was every mouthful felt oilier and oilier...
After the bad experience with the pastas and main, we weren't in the mood of investing into desserts and decided to end the meal. The bill was $150.05 in total, including a bottle of water and no wine. I never mind spending for good food, but given the amateurish quality of what we had, I felt totally ripped off.
Au revoir Pietrasanta, shortcuts might do magic with some naive customers, but not everyone!
5B Portsdown Road
#01-03 Wessex Estate
Tel: 6479 9521