It seems that casual pizzerias and bistros are all the rage these days. From Da Paolo to St. Pierre, every restaurant worth its salt has a casual eatery to its name.
Papi is the latest offering by Colleoni and Chiarini, the same blokes behind Oso Ristorante. Papi's been around for a while now, but I only managed to give it a try recently.
Papi occupies a spot along Mohamed Sultan Road, and has quite a cosy interior, filled with warm yellow lighting and a dominated by a long counter where most of the food is prepared. I had heard generally favourable reviews about Papi so I decided to go and give them a try.
On my first visit, I had the risotto with mixed cheese, pancetta and mushrooms "Boscaiola" ($18). In terms of taste, there was nothing wrong with this dish, but texturally, it was completely off. The melted cheese had partially congealed, forming a skin over the risotto, and the grains of rice were a little too firm.
I was somewhat disappointed by Papi's offering, but being charitable, I decided to give them the benefit of the doubt and revisited the eatery a week later with some friends.
We started with an order of thinly-sliced beef carpaccio and calamari rings. While the calamari rings were okay, they're not exactly something that can be messed up easily. The carpaccio, however, failed to impress. It was much too salty, and the beef didn't seem at the height of freshness.
I had a pizza with rucola and prosciutto ($18), which had an amazingly thin and crispy crust, but was a little too oily at the base, causing the pizza to become soft and soggy if you didn't eat it quickly. If they'd used less oil, this would have been really good, as the ingredients were quite generous.
The pizza with pepperoni "Infuriata", however, was fairly dripping with oil. I know it's common practice to drizzle olive oil on pizzas when baking them, but this was really unappetising. Not only was it unpleasant to look at and eat, it also made the whole pizza a sodden mess.
Continuining the trend of disappointing food was my dessert, which was a coconut-flavoured panna cotta ($12). Not only was it served without any accompanying berries or fresh fruit (save a lone gooseberry) to cut through the richness, it was also quite rubbery and completely unpalatable. I don't understand why it is so hard to find decent panna cotta in Singapore. It's really not that hard to make, but it's almost a truism that every time I've ordered panna cotta in an Italian restaurant here, I've been disappointed.
I was really surprised at the standard of food being served, considering that Oso is one of the best Italian restaurants in Singapore, and that Papi has garnered generally good reviews from other food-bloggers.
Apart from the bad food, service is okay; nothing fantastic but not slip-shod either. All in all, Mohamed Sultan is too far to go for sub-standard Italian food (and is too remote from the MRT and has lousy parking), especially at the prices Papi charges, which are not exactly cheap.
5 Mohamed Sultan Road
Tel: 6732 6269
Overall: It's rare that Italian food is so disappointing