Recently there's been a big to-do over the serving, or lack thereof, of tap water at various eateries. Leading the pack are Garibaldi's retail eateries, Menotti and Ricciotti. While I do think this policy detracts from the pleasure of dining at the restaurant, as luck would have it, we were invited to dinner at Ricciotti just the other day.
The Riverwalk, where Ricciotti is located, is a sleepy building that also houses Just Steak, a steakhouse that seems to have been around forever, but may have seen better days.
The best thing about Ricciotti, of course, are the desserts. They're more or less the same ones you get at Menotti, but I think they're made here, and they somehow seem a lot more attractive in Ricciotti's display case.
Being a cafe-deli, it's necessary that Ricciotti serve something other than dessert, so it also has various cold and warm appetisers as well as entrees.
We had some parma ham and melon for starters ($12), which I didn't think was very good. The melon wasn't very sweet, and the ham was quite dry and stringy. Ricciotti, I had a feeling, was similar to Menotti in that its desserts are better than its cooked food, which is surprising, considering Garibaldi's high standards. I suppose there is some parable to be drawn here about parents and wayward children.
We also shared some salad and grilled eggplant, basically rabbit food. The salad was okay, nothing remarkable, and the eggplant was likewise unspectacular. I feel like grilled eggplant should be warm, rather than cold. The ones we ate were cold, and felt a bit limp.
For mains, I had the veal ravioli in brown sauce ($16), which wasn't too bad, though the brown sauce was a bit salty and thin, rather like a stock than a sauce.
But finally, on to the main event, the desserts.
Panna cotta's ($6) becoming a mandatory order just to see how it measures up with what I can make at home. This one was pretty good, but there was a hint of something in it, perhaps fruit, that didn't quite agree with me. The sauce wasn't as tart as the one served at Menotti's though.
The soffiato is Ricciotti's take on the popular molten chocolate cake, served with vanilla chocolate chip ice cream. I don't like pre-baked chocolate cakes, because they tend to be just zapped in the microwave, which doesn't guarantee a molten centre. This one wasn't particularly molten, more moist than anything.
The Crostata Cioccolato (basically a chocolate tart) was the best of the lot, but it would have been improved had it been totally chocolate, rather than having layers of raspberry jam in between.
Ricciotti is not very conveniently located, as the Riverwalk is not easily accessible by either MRT or bus. Not the most convenient place to drive to either. Ambience is okay, casual and laid-back. Service was fairly agreeable, except for the charging for water bit. Another plus point for dropping by is that all desserts are on discount after 9pm.
Ricciotti (Italian, casual)
20 Upper Circular Road
B1-49/50, The Riverwalk
Tel: 6533 9060
Service: 2/5 (-1 for the water)
Overall: Nice place to hang out for dessert after one of those late-night walks by the river.