Cover Pasta shapes

The latest concept under The Cicheti Group is a partnership with local pasta artisan and Ben Fatto 95 chef-founder, Lee Yum Hwa

Walk along Tembeling Road in Joo Chiat and your eyes will be immediately drawn to this upscale trattoria, fronted by a glass-enclosed pasta production kitchen. Here, you will witness pasta makers busily preparing the likes of linguine, spaghetti and tortellini from scratch, ahead of its official opening. This is Forma, the much-awaited Italian restaurant of The Cicheti Group and chef-founder of private dining outfit Ben Fatto 95, Lee Yum Hwa, which is set to welcome diners on May 3.

The contemporary trattoria was designed by Takenouchi Webb, which reimagined the cosy and rustic look of a traditional trattoria with exposed brick walls, contemporary furniture and light fixtures, and restaurateur Liling Ong’s personal collection of artworks framed on the walls.

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The menu echoes the modern outlook of the restaurant. Executive chef Dylan Cheong—who trained in the kitchens of Osteria Francescana in Modena, Italy, as well as Osteria Mozza and Gattopardo in Singapore—worked closely with Lee to curate an inspired menu of traditional specialities transformed into beautiful and modern plates. Complementing these dishes is sommelier and managing partner Ronald Kamiyama’s extensive wine and beverage list, which also serves as an exploration of Italy’s diverse alcoholic offerings.

Do it like the Italians and start the meal with a shot of Cucielo Vermouth, just to wake up the palate, before digging into delectable appetisers. Want something rich and crunchy? The gnoccho fritto is a fried snack of leavened, lard-enriched dough enriched with slivers of lardo and pink peppercorns, which add a fruity and acidic kick. Other options include the smoked speck ham, cured and cold-smoked ham slices that are wrapped around pan-roasted medjool dates; and carciofi con stracciatella di formaggio; braised artichokes served in a pool of stracciatella enhanced with balsamic braised black currants, pine nuts, mint salsa verde and breadcrumbs.

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Up next are the pasta dishes, which are the highlight of the meal here. Lee and sfoglina Denise Tsi prepare different pasta shapes from the different Italian regions, all of which are crafted based on traditional Italian methods. These are showcased in dishes such as the tortellini in brodo and linguine al limone.

Considered by many as the king of pasta, the tortellini is made by hand, stuffed with pork ragu and bathed in a clear chicken broth to let the meaty flavours shine through. As for the linguine, it is cooked with just enough bite and coated in a light and zesty sauce made with Amalfi lemons and Provolone del Monaco DOP.  

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Secondis are no second fiddles either, especially the Merluzzo alla Scafata and the Costata di Manzo. The former is a slice of blue cod that is fried to a crisp and enriched in a cucielo vermouth-butter sauce dotted with fava beans, English peas, cipollini onions and prosciutto. The latter is a majestic slab of 45-day dry-aged beef from King Island, Tasmania that is grilled until tender and succulent, and served with three sauces—homemade steak sauce, mustard salse verde or porcini gremolata.  

There are many desserts to choose from, but after a heavy meal, you can go for something lighter like the crostata al limone. The refreshing end to the meal consists of Amalfi lemon curd blanketed with a fruit tea jelly, and served with toasted meringue.

End the meal with a shot of espresso. At Forma, they give you the choice of adding a splash of grappa to your coffee… just like how most Italians prefer it.

Forma, 128 Tembeling Road, S(423638) 

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