With its fire-engine red facade, it’s hard to miss the Red Dot Traffic building. At this former police headquarters, you’ll find it easy to spot OTTO Ristorante’s striking black signage; and a visit to this restaurant and bar will demonstrate why its Italian cuisine should not be overlooked.
Helmed by chef Michele Pavanello, OTTO means “eight” in Italian, a name picked for its auspicious multicultural connotations; yes, the Chinese really aren’t the only ones who favour this number.
The restaurant’s interiors embody the same refined quality as its dishes: Classic monochrome meets wooden panelling, a touch of red whilst sleek metal frames give OTTO that contemporary look.
Service at OTTO Ristorante is impeccable and the ambience is elegant and comfortable. OTTO avoids that sometimes stuffy atmosphere of fine dining while still being conducive for a friendly business lunch or a relaxed dinner with your date. Diners are briskly served a warm and welcoming basket of bread; certainly a favourable way to start a meal.
Summer dishes (left to right):
Seared amberjack with assorted leaves salad and beetroot dressing
and Seared langoustine with “Allegrini” Lake Garda olive oil and parsley
For an authentic Italian culinary experience, traditions of Italian cooking are kept at OTTO and the produce used is imported directly from Europe. To showcase the best of Italian cuisine, the restaurant regularly updates its menu according to the changing seasons.
Its summer menu includes seared amberjack with assorted leaves salad and beetroot dressing ($26++) and seared langoustine – the prized shellfish comes caramelised with “allegrini” – Lake Garda olive oil and parsley.
Besides its seasonal offerings and its degustation and gourmet menus – priced at $88 and $128 respectively – OTTO also offers a three course set lunch menu ($38++) that changes every week.
OTTO’s crispy suckling pig lacquered with
acacia honey and balsamic vinegar
Most Singaporeans wouldn’t expect an Italian restaurant to serve a very tasty suckling pig meal. Yet the roast suckling pig is actually Italian countryside fare and OTTO Ristorante is the first Italian establishment to introduce this dish to Singapore.
Alongside foie gras and the more conventional pasta dishes, the restaurant serves a signature suckling pig dish that bears some resemblances to the traditional Chinese recipe.
The Italian roast suckling pig recipe finds its historical origins from naturally bountiful Italian regions like land-locked Umbria in central Italy, Emilia-Romagna in the North and Sardinia, an autonomous Italian island in the Mediterranean sea.
OTTO’s take on it, as we discovered, is a juicy and flavourful highlight of our meal. The crispy suckling pig lacquered with acacia honey and balsamic vinegar ($48++) has got honeyed, crispy skin and succulent meat, a wondrous combination that makes this roasted pork delectable.
Left to right: the prawn timbale with baked tomato and the sea urchin pasta
The steamed live prawn and avocado timbale with baked tomato ($26++) that we tried was a delightful arrangement of sweet and savoury flavours. Topped with juicy, baked tomato, it’s a lovely bundle of fresh produce.
The foie gras that was served next came in a crispy shell and that perfect in-between state that the delicacy is famed for; there was truly little to nitpick about OTTO’s pan roasted foie gras with port caramelized apple and arugula ($28++).
After that richly flavoured dish, the spaghetti with sea urchin and grey mullet bottarga ($30++) is a welcome change. The unique taste and texture of sea urchin makes for a memorable main course. Yet it surprisingly isn’t too heavy on the palate; this is one dish that you will return to OTTO for.
Asti style chocolate flan
To end off your meal at OTTO, have a lovely cup of coffee or try the desserts on the menu. The beautifully arranged Asti style chocolate and amaretti cookie flan with pear sauce ($14++) looks too good to pass on. This light dessert originates from Asti, a hilly Italian province in Piedmont that is home to many of Italy’s renowned wines and truffles.
Those keener on something sweeter can choose from the more predictable mainstays Tiramisu alla Maniera di OTTO ($14++) or the warm chocolate cake with Haitian vanilla ice cream ($16++).
The restaurant’s summer menu is available till mid-September. OTTO Ristorante is situated at 28 Maxwell Road, Red Dot Traffic Building, opening hours 12pm to 2.30pm for lunch on Mondays to Fridays and 6.30pm to 10.30pm for dinner or cocktails on Mondays to Saturdays. The restaurant is closed on Sundays. Reservations are recommended; call 6227-6819 to place a reservation. For more information, visit www.ottoristorante.com.sg.