From today onwards, Da Paolo Ristorante will no longer be at Holland Village. Yesterday was its last day of operations as the lease at Chip Bee Gardens was up. If you still want a taste of the Da Paolo Group's classic Italian fare, you can hop on over to the casual pizza bar next door or its only other remaining fine dining outlet at Club Street.
Addie and I snagged dinner reservations just before it closed, and we partook in a particularly leisure dinner spanning over 4 hours, chatting and slowing grazing our way through 4 plates and a bottle of wine. I think we're ready to be inducted into the slow food movement, no?
The Filetto di Manzo ($48) was a perfectly done medium rare beef tenderloin, matched with sauteed baby spinach, whipped to an airy fairy potato puree and a pool of veal jus for extra flavour. The beef got the thumbs up from Addie, a certified beef lover. It was juicy, full-bodied and thoroughly flavouful.
The Branzino alla Mugnaia ($34), a beautifully golden pan fried seabass with lipsmackingly moist flesh and crisp skin, was plated atop celeriac cream, sugar snap peas, and grilled cherry tomatoes. I loved this.
We also had the Ravioli Vitello ($29) as an appetizer. Compared to the delicious secondi courses, these veal-filled pasta pockets were a letdown. The pasta was undercooked but the mince was dry and needed many dips in the veal jus to get through. An easily forgettable dish.
The Assortimento di Formaggi Italiani ($25) was an assortment of seasonal Italian cheeses, served alongside some crusty wholewheat bread, honey grapes and soft green pears. I was feeling adventurous that night so I actually dipped my virgin toe into mouldy blue cheese territory. It helped that Addie is quite the cheese connoisseur, and she gave me this absolutely brilliant tip: pair soft cheeses, including blue cheese, with freshly grated black pepper. One taste of this heavenly pairing and I was hooked. Black pepper (must be freshly ground) just enlivens the cheese and brings it to a whole other level that I never thought possible before! I'm a total convert. And this is why I'm adding a pepper grinder to my list of must-gets for my home. I'm salivating just reminiscing about dessert.
Da Paolo Ristorante
44 Jalan Merah Saga
Open daily from 11.30am to 2.30pm for lunch; and 6.30am to 10.30pm for dinner