Italian restaurant Monti took over the space previously housing Spanish heavyweight Catalunya. I was quite upset with the latter's departure (their lobster rice was ah-mazing!!!!!!), and so, put off visiting Monti for the longest time. I just didn't think it could live up to its predecessor's calibre, different cuisine notwithstanding.
And true enough....while Monti was perfectly lovely, I thought it unmemorable. And with the multitude of Italian options dotting our little island, Monti just doesn't stand out. There was nothing particularly iffy about their food, service or ambience (because it fared well generally in all three aspects), but neither was there anything that struck me as remarkable.
We started with the Burratina ($35), a fresh creamy mound of milky goodness, set off against the salty pungency of San Danielle prosciutto, roasted sourplum tomatoes, spicy rocket leaves, leek, and a drizzle of Coratina extra virgin olive oil to finish.
The sumptuous Tajima Wagyu Beef Carpaccio ($24) was balanced with seasonal black truffle, acacia honey, apple compote, Parmigiano Reggiano shavings, peppery rocket, and white button mushroom slivers.
Ironically, the cheapest main was my favourite of the lot. The Sausage & Porcini Ragout Strozzapreti ($30) was made extra silky with bone marrow, and a shower of sharp pecorino cheese. This was rustic and comforting in the best way. And did you know that strozzapreti literally means "priest-strangler"? Legend has it that the pasta was designed in the style of a hangman's knot, and made so freaking good in the hope that the gluttonous priests would choke on them. That was a bit of a morbid, but highly amusing coz we're weird AF, tidbit relayed to us by the waiter taking our order.
The Tajima Wagyu Bolognese Tagliatelle ($36) was topped off with a heap of Stracciatella cheese, and laced with fried rosemary for fragrance. I never really quite understood the use of wagyu in a long-stewed sauce like bolognese (carpaccio I understand!), because I can never tell the difference, but this was scrumptious nonetheless.
All of my friends know I'm a big sucker for risotto, but I really didn't like Monti's Acquerello Risotto ($42) seasoned with truffle, parmigiano reggiano, and black pepper. There was something in the cheese, a little like gorgonzola, which overwhelmed the entire thing.
The manner of finishing the dish table-side, in a cheese wheel, was kitschy but entertaining.
We loved the cheese puffs, flaky and savoury and delicious on its own, but that herbed butter was pretty yummy too.
82 Collyer Quay
Tel: 6535 0724
Open weekdays from 12noon to 3pm for lunch; 6pm to 10.30pm for dinner;
Saturdays from 3pm to 10.30pm;
Sundays from 12noon to 10.30pm