The Sailors is a hidden gem in the food enclave of Robertson Quay. The new-ish Italian joint is brought to you by the same people behind Buono, an extremely popular Italian establishment at Serangoon Gardens. The food here is hearty and generously portioned (read: value-for-money), and while it isn't super refined haute cuisine, the food served here is very homestyled and has a comforting appeal to it. The owner, a booming friendly man who chats you up like an old pal, is what makes the restaurant tick and keeps the ambience casual and relaxed. I mean, you can keep hanging out (in the open terrace but not indoors) even past the already very late closing time of 1am, and the staff, before leaving, just asks you to switch off the lights and fans after you're done.
Because the portions are so huge, we had 2 mains, a soup, a starter and desserts to share amongst the 3 of us. The Linguine al Granchio ($24) flat pasta with a whole crab, shell on, and tossed in a spicy tomato sauce is a potent and heady dish. Unlike other places where the crab meat is all extracted, this dish incorporates the entire crab, whole, so you'll have to eat with your hands. Some may find it troublesome, we found it fun and entertaining to use our hands. Afterall, this place never touted itself as a fine-dining option.
The Risotto Sailors ($24) with prawns, broccoli, and carrot in saffron is possibly the most healthy risotto option on the menu, so it translated to the dish being "boring" and a tad plain, especially if compared to the spicy linguine. I guess we're used to the seafood tomato based ones or the creamy mushroom ones. That said, the risotto was perfectly al dente, and had a very delicate saffron flavouring.
The Zuppa del Pescatore ($16) was a fisherman styled soup with mussels, calamari, prawns, clams and seabass. Seafood was incredibly fresh and plentiful, which made this soup very value-for-money.
The Carpaccio di Manzo ($20) of marinated beef tenderloin with cherry tomatoes, shavings of parmesan, and rocket in lemon dressing was a nice starter, the beef was robust but kept light and refreshing with the use of zesty lemon.
The Sailors has a nice repertoire of desserts, beginning with the classic Tiramisu ($10) with marscapone, tia maria, espresso, was an aromatic, spongy confection.
The Panna Cotta ai Frutti di Bosco ($10) was a wobbly custard with half a fresh juicy strawberry and raspberry jus for flavour. Not great, but commendable.
The Crostata Dei Marinai ($10) was a homely lime pie, crumbly buttery crust and refreshingly sour and sweet filling.
15 Merbau Road
Tel: 6737 3069
Open Mondays to Thursdays from 5.30pm to 1am
Fridays and Saturdays from 5.30pm to 2am
Sundays from 5.30pm to 12midnight