Italian restaurant binge this past week. On Thursday, May and I went to have dinner at Da Paolo il Giardino, part of the Da Paolo chain that spans three restaurants and one pizza bar.
In terms of location, ambience and presentability, Da Paolo il Giardino certainly has a lot to offer. It's located squarely in Bukit Timah Road, very conveniently accessible by bus or car (no train, sorry), and offers both indoor and al fresco dining. I cannot eat without air conditioning in the this weather, so we sat indoors. It rained heavily that night, so it's a good thing that we did, too.
The kitchen is a see-through concept, so if you sit near the back of the restaurant, you get to see your food being prepared, and if they really do spit in food you send back. The restaurant also features a classy bar counter and nice, clean white tables and chairs.
I decided to go for the ravioli ($18) stuffed with veal and ricotta, tossed in butter and sprinkled with grated parmesan. Now, when they say tossed in butter; they're not kidding - my pasta was served in a pool of butter. I did think olive oil would have been more appropriate, and in a much smaller quantity. Nonetheless, the ravioli was very good, though they should have been more generous with the stuffing (3.5/5).
For dessert, we couldn't decide between the panna cotta and the chocolate cake ($8), so we decided to ask a waiter for recommendations. He very helpfully suggested the chocolate cake, because it came with ice cream. So between one dessert at room temperature and one cold dessert, we'd be better off with the cold dessert (no really, he actually said this).
So all right, we decide to have the cold dessert. Personally I think it's never a good idea to order chocolate cake for dessert unless it's the molten variety, because they inevitably turn out dry and not very nice. So it was with this cake (3/5); merely passably mediocre.
In terms of location and ambience, no complaints from me. Service is decent, I suppose, but not spectacular. The food is satisfying, and you're unlikely to be disappointed, but don't expect to be surprised, either. Prices are pretty much mid-range, with desserts being especially value for money.
Da Paolo il Giardino (Italian)
501 Bukit Timah Road,
#01-05, Cluny Court
Tel: 6463 9628
Overall: Dependable Italian cuisine; perhaps the best outlet of the chain