Review: Pasta Bar Is A Worthy Addition To Singapore’s Dining Scene
Pasta Bar only opened its doors at Kesa House about month ago, yet gourmands are already lining up to try its delectable eats. The stars here (and namesake) are the 11 pastas which young executive chef Alessandro Giustetti, a Genoan native who honed his skills in Michelin-starred establishments such as La Trota in Italy and Garibaldi Italian Restaurant and Bar in Singapore, prepare from scratch daily. He uses ingredients such as semolina and 00 flour, eggs and water for different tastes and textures; these are part of a succinct menu that also includes appetisers, mains and desserts.
His beautiful dough creations including the fettucine, tagliatelle and reginette are proudly displayed at the 18-seater, bar-counter type open kitchen, which is at the centre of the restaurant’s homey but modern interiors. Look around and you'll notice the exposed red brick walls and shelves lined with wine bottles and photo frames, and hanging plants that contribute to its welcoming vibe. Everything is bathed in the warm glow emanating from the luminous candles and chandelier just above the high tables.
You can choose to sit there when you’re dining with a big party; otherwise, the bar counter is a great place to catch the live action. On usual evenings (it’s only open for dinner), the kitchen and floor staff work hand-in-hand to deliver aromatic dishes such as the amuse bouche of silky burrata cheese topped with a vibrant pesto Genovese sauce and appetiser of arrosticini.
The latter is actually grilled lamb skewers lavishly presented in a giant terracotta pot, served with dips of rosemary oil, lamb jus and salt. On their own, these little nuggets with slightly charred bits are deliberately under seasoned and their meaty flavour shines through once they’re enveloped in the sharp and lemony notes of the rosemary oil, or the distinctive gaminess of the lamb jus.
Executive chef Alessandro Giustetti learned the art of making pastas from his two grandmothers when he was six years old
His pastas are made with varying ingredients for different tastes and textures
Tortelli in the making
The rabbit ragu is a traditional dish made with slow-cooked rabbit meat, olive oil, pine nuts and lots of cheese
Another stellar dish on the menu, strozzapreti
Choose to sit at the bar or at the high tables
Another appetiser, the veal tongue is cooked until tender, cut into chunks and enlivened by zesty salsa verde and acerbic pickled vegetables; these make for good palate cleansers before the plates of pasta.
The eggless lagane with chickpeas is a must-try not only for its rich history—it’s believed to be the oldest pasta made in Italy—but its earthy, nutty robustness that’s offset by the heat from the chillies and spicy garlic.
Other standouts include plump and pillowy tortelli hiding a deliciously sweet pumpkin puree, and reginette twined with parmigiano and strands of rabbit ragu slow-cooked for 24-hours to render it extremely soft and flavourful.
Giustetti ’s desserts stick to the traditional Italian theme that guides the whole menu, and the one to go for is the Sicilian cannolo. The crunchy shell is darker than normal due to the addition of red wine; with just a few taps of the spoon, it cracks open to reveal a decadent ensemble of sheep’s milk ricotta flecked with chocolate chips. It’s a sweet ending deserving of a memorable meal at Pasta Bar.