Monday, September 15, 2008

Italian with Heart

I had the privilege of joining in the celebration of the wedding anniverary of close family friends, the L's last night. The L's are close family friends and have been there for my family during our darkest hours when dad became critically ill. They are incredibly giving people and last night, celebrated 33 years of marriage.

We celebrated this wonderful occassion at Trattoria Lafiandra Al Museo - an unpretentious, cosy Italian restaurant housed in the Singapore Art Museum. Another close family friend who had hosted a party there previously arranged for a menu designed by the chef and owner, Cataldo Lafiandra.

We started off with the antipasto which consisted of grilled vegetables (portobello mushrooms, zucchini, eggplant), calamari with aioli, eggplant parmigiana. The presentation of the dishes were very rustic as were the flavours - robust and had a great home cooked element to them. The eggplant parmigiana in particular was excellent - oven baked eggplant rolls in home made tomato ragu filled with meltingly gooey mozzarella.

We then followed with two types of pizza - rocket with fresh tomatoes and parma ham. Both were very good with perfectly thin and crispy crusts. Chef Cataldo is also very generous with his toppings, the latter pizza covered with deliciously salty prosciutto.

We were also served a very hearty fettucine bolognese. A dish that is often misunderstood because of the trashy versions that are served in American style diners... this was done the way it should be. Hand made pasta tossed in a rich ragu of beef and pork mince in tomatoes finished with a hint of cream... Love it.

For mains we were served an assortment of simply grilled crayfish, pan fried dory, grilled chicken and beef fillet with sauteed mushrooms. Aside from the chicken which had obviously spent too much time on the grill and was actually burnt rather than charred, everything else was delicious. The beef was cooked to a perfect medium rare (just the way I like it) and had been simply seasoned with salt, pepper and a squeeze of lemon juice.

The food at Lafiandra has a comforting factor to them with most dishes being hearty in portion and flavour - the restaurant is very unpretentious and doesn't try overly hard to impress. Prices are very reasonable which is something which I have found is a rarity for good Italian food in Singapore.

We left Lafiandra happy and I was glad to have been able to share such a joyous occassion with such dear friends. Happy Anniversary Uncle KL and Aunty CH... May your life together be like one big party - filled with delicious food, infectious laughter and great company in one another.


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