Saturday, August 24, 2019

Restaurant review: La Braceria Pizza & Grill, Singapore

So a few weeks ago, I met up with three of my batch mates from dental school. Whenever any of us from the batch meet (it doesn’t matter how big or small the gathering), the event never fails to evoke pure nostalgia and is guaranteed to bring on roars of laughter! It has been 14 years since we graduated but in a lot of ways, it seems like time has stood still. Today, most of us are married, many have children, a significant percentage has relocated to other countries and more or less everyone has carved a successful career for themselves. But despite our busy and conflicting schedules, we do try our best to meet and it always is a hoot. Everyone has precious memories to share and funny stories to tell. We share snippets of our lives and get updates on those we are not frequently in touch with. We fondly remember our professors, our seniors, our juniors and even the attenders of those days! 

I honestly have so many happy memories from that time in my life – going to college everyday with my two besties on our motorcycles, donning helmets (apparently we were called “Charlie’s Angels”), aggravating the anatomy professor to tears, staging mass bunks, mimicking professors, hanging out by the college café drinking coffee and eating maggi pakoda, visiting the girls hostel, my batch mates visits to my home, going on a (disastrously epic may I add) college trip, climbing Chamundi hills on foot (while fearfully looking out for the legendary leopard), editorial team discussions for our publication Mid-Day Masala, going on rural postings, attempting to cook food on a self-made campfire, the never-ending department parties and the numerous food outings within our beloved Mysore that we would go at every given opportunity! These are a few that come to mind off the top of my head and never fails to light up my face with a smile. Ah! Those were the good old days indeed!

So to revive some of those memories for the mini reunion, I chose La Braceria, a hidden gem in Bukit Timah serving up authentic hearty and rustic Italian food. I usually go to either Capri Trattoria  in Binjai Park or Caruso Italian along Bukit Timah road when I'm looking to chill with friends or enjoy a nice dinner with my husband but this time I wanted to pick another restaurant. I wanted a place that was cosy and quiet which had vegetarian options and much like the other two, this restaurant fit the bill.

Tucked away in a residential corner on Greendale avenue, the restaurant actually looks less restaurant and more house. There is absolutely nothing commercial about it. You wouldn’t even guess that there is a restaurant in the area. Big points from me for that! 👍

With a predominantly white color scheme, the interiors are minimalistic and chic. Neutral toned comfortable seats, warming floor lamps, rusting light fixtures and simple wall mounted mirrors add to the relaxed and intimate appeal. You have both indoor seating and al fresco dining options. In sultry Singapore, I rarely feel like going for al fresco dining so we headed indoors for the comfort of air conditioning.

I was surprised to see the restaurant quite full even on a weekday and was glad I had made a reservation the previous day. We were attended to immediately and even though the focus of the evening was more on company and less on food, we ordered a few dishes to share along with Barossa Valley red wine.

The restaurant offers a good selection of salads, starters, main courses, pasta, pizza, desserts and drinks. There are vegetarian options but keep in mind that they are not extensive. 

Here is a roundup of the dishes we ordered,

Insalata Mediterranea ($16)
A simple medley of Italian cherry tomatoes, cucumber, olives, feta cheese, red onions and fresh basil with a light dressing.
I love this combination of these ingredients so I automatically ordered it without thinking twice. This salad was cold & refreshing. A good way to start the meal.

Parmigiana Di Melanzane ($16)
Baked layered eggplants with tomato sauce, parmesan and mozzarella cheese.
I usually order eggplant parmigiana at Italian restaurants and authentic or not, I don’t like it very much if it is too tangy. The rendition from La Braceria was just perfect! A great balance of tangy and cheesy. The eggplant was cooked perfectly. This was an all-round favourite.

Recommended! 👍

Margherita Pizza ($18)
A classic combination of tomato, mozzarella and fresh basil.
I love thin crust pizza and I knew that this restaurant does pizza really well. And I think I’ve mentioned this before – for me, the simpler a pizza, the more it appeals to my tastebuds. The Margherita pizza had a thin crust that was nicely chewy. The sauce was flavourful and nicely balanced. The pizza has just the right amount of cheese. This was one of the best dishes of the evening.

Recommended! 👍

Ravioli di Ricotta e Spinaci ($22)
Homemade ravioli stuffed with ricotta cheese and spinach in butter sage sauce
So if you follow my blog, you will know that I make ravioli at home from scratch on a regular basis since I obsessed with it. It is one of my favourite pasta dishes so predictably, I order it whenever I am at an Italian restaurant.
This ravioli with ricotta and spinach from La Braceria for me was a miss for me. The portion size was fine but the pasta was a bit too al dente for my liking (maybe it is supposed to be like that but I would have liked it cooked a tad more). It could have done with a sauce with more character as as I found it oily and under seasoned. One of my friends found the flavour of the filling inside the ravioli too overpowering.

Panacotta ($12)
Creamy Italian pudding with strawberry puree topping
The panacotta arrived looking lovely indeed. It was luscious and creamy with a fresh zesty berry topping. It wasn’t too sweet either. Very enjoyable and the perfect finishing touch to a meal.

Recommended! 👍

Tiramisu ($12)
Famous Italian cheesecake made of lady fingers dipped in coffee, layered with mascarpone, flavored with liquor and top with cocoa.
Another dish that I never fail to order at Italian restaurants is tiramisu. This I make myself at home pretty regularly too. So I usually have high expectations. The tiramisu at La Braceria most certainly did not disappoint. It was creamy and rich with the enticing aroma of coffee and a hint of liquor (not overpowering at all). This dessert was sweeter than the panacotta but still not something I would call cloyingly sweet. I would order it again. 

A gathering must always include pictures and so we took about a zillion of them! We were so boisterous and annoying hat I must give credit to the restaurant for not asking us to leave!

There was a slight miscommunication between me and the serving staff toward the end. I didn't want another glass of wine but they thought I requested for a refill and so I ended up with a glass of wine which I didn't want and it went untouched. After I explained to them my original intent, they were nice enough not to charge me for it. 

My verdict,
La Braceria Pizza & Grill is an ideal place to unwind with near and dear after a busy day. Nestled in a quiet residential enclave, the rustic and charming restaurant offers some must-needed respite from city living. The ambience is pleasant and laid-back. Even though we visited on a weekday, the restaurant was crowded but we were attended to promptly and the food was served without any delays. The quality of the food is good and their portion sizes are perfect. I strongly suggest going for the pizza since that is what I enjoyed the most. The prices are pretty reasonable too. I’d say you probably have to fork out anywhere in the range of $35-$55 per person.

This restaurant is ideal for couples, families and small gatherings. 

My rating for this restaurant is

La Braceria Pizza & Grill
5 Greendale Avenue Singapore 289501
Phone: (+65) 6465 5918


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