Two heads are better than one over at Acqua E Farina. Chef-cum-owners, Roberto Galbiati and Antonio Manetto bring together the north and south of the Italian peninsula into one rustic yet cosy dining experience you’ll find nowhere else in Singapore.
Located at The Rail Mall, next to Bukit Timah railway station and (conveniently) King Albert Park MRT Station, Acqua E Farina is an escape into the diverse culinary prowess of Italy. Pasta may be synonymous with Italian cuisine, but, it – along with olive oil, tomato, capers and sardines – only defines the South. The North stands by their risotto and polenta-based dishes, thanks to influences from their European neighbours and America. And, it doesn’t end there. Pesto, Parmesan and gnocchi all hail from the North, while lamb, seafood, pork and mozzarella di bufala (mozzarella made from water buffalo milk) are more common in the South.
Pizza, likewise, came from the Greeks. It evolved from flatbread dishes into these delicious cheese-loaded slices serving piping hot out of their oven, right in Singapore. A must-try is the Pizza Acqua E Farina (S$25), named after the restaurant. The decadent combination of mozzarella and ricotta is enough to make any cheese lover swoon, but it is the sauteed spinach and salami topping that keeps me coming back for another. Those who want an extra kick can go for a sprinkle of their chilli flakes ( approach with caution).
Another crowd favourite is the Fettucine Nere alla Polpa Granchio (S$23). Not only is it a photogenic dish, with jet black homemade squid ink pasta peeking through the creamy tomato sauce, but is also as delicious as it looks. The generous serving of Sri Lankan crab meat that accompanies the dish adds a delicate sweet yet briny flavour to the tomato sauce – a nice upgrade from the usual pasta dishes.
And, if carbs are on your no-no list, their mains are just as stellar. The Costoletta d Maiale (S$34) may be on the pricey side, but those fatty, aromatic slices of pancetta (Italian cured pork belly) makes it all worth it. Grab a nice chunk of the tender pork chop, some mash and a slice of pancetta and be amazed. Needless to say, greedy ol’ me, polished off the plate, grabbing the pai-seh piece shamelessly.
There is more on the menu to explore, and the friendly (and, can I say, cheeky) owners are always there to make your dining experience a little more fun. The love and pride for their home cuisine can be felt in each bite, made even better if you ever get the chance to hear the hilarious quibbles about which side of Italy serves up a better pasta dish.