Continuing with the Italian theme, we were looking for a place to have lunch on Saturday, when the weekend Business Times fortuitiously featured a writeup of some new eateries that have opened. One of those featured, L'Antipasto, was really close to home, and looked like it offered very lunch-friendly fare, so we decided to give it a try.
L'Antipasto also includes a small deli concept, where you can purchase hams, tomatoes, and assorted Italian goodies. A modest dining affair, the restaurant can probably comfortably seat about thirty people, and the interior is well-lit.
We decided to start with a selection of Italian cold cuts, mostly ham and salami with a dash of olive oil. The cuts were pretty good (3.5/5), but they could have been served even more chilled.
We also decided to share a plate of bruschetta. I've found that it's always the simplest dishes that are paradoxically the most difficult to do well. Few places serve a truly exceptional bruschetta, hence I was pleased to find that L'Antipasto was one of the few places that took their bruschetta really seriously (4.5/5). It was quite excellent, the tomato concasse full of ripe, full-bodied, explosive cubes of sweet tomatoes, the bread just the right state between crusty and rock-hard. I think I could have made an entire meal of those little buggers.
At this point the chef came out to have a chat with the customers, and when we praised him on the bruschetta, he told us it was because the tomatoes were specially imported from Italy, and very kindly brought out two samples for us to try. The ones on the right are Italian tomatoes whose proper names I have forgotten, and the ones on the left are Buffalo Heart tomatoes. It's interesting how different in texture and taste they were; the small tomatoes were clearly meant for eating, as they were sweet and palatable, while the buffalo hearts were much more grainy and not easy to eat in their own right.
I decided to have the special pizza set lunch that the restaurant was offering on weekends; a pizza and a dessert of the day for $18. The only pizza that looked fairly appetising was the Hawaiian, but the end-result came out rather disappointing (2/5). The ingredients were not particularly generous, and the oven was either not hot enough, or the pizza wasn't placed in it long enough, because the pizza crust was still rather doughy and floury. Usually I don't finish the crust because it fills me up, but this time I didn't eat it because it was quite awful. You can see how pale the crust looks in the photo; not a hint of charring at all.
My sister had the lightly-cooked duck breast, which was very good, and I'd happily recommend it. The pizza though, you could probably do without.
Lunch ended with a tiramisu, which is supposedly one of the must-trys at the restaurant. As tiramisus go, it was pretty good (3.5/5), though I did think it could have benefitted from a bit more coffee.
L'Antipasto suffers from quite a few teething problems at the moment, most notably the fact that they run out of food exceedingly quickly. In the time that we were there, they informed us that they were out of two desserts, and one main course. This was on a Saturday afternoon, which I think speaks quite ill of their procurement strategy. Also, some of their dishes are a bit hit and miss. Given this, prices should be lower in order to compensate and attract more customers to an otherwise unknown location.
76 Namly Place
Tel: 6762 1587
Overall: Overpriced for their current offerings; time will tell what will become of them