Pasta Bar – Hand-made artisanal pasta in Singapore.

Oct 24, 2019

Hand-made pasta has always been a bit of a sought after indulgence for me because here in Singapore and even throughout my 11 years in Shanghai, hand-made pasta wasn’t something that was readily available. Hence my interest is always piqued whenever I come across an establishment who pride themselves on making fresh pasta.

Located on the hip Keong Saik Road, right opposite Mr Potato Head, Pasta Bar is one of these places.

Pasta Bar seats about 40 people max, and features a small selection of pasta dishes featuring their freshly made pastas, alongside an equally small selection of antipasti and mains.

Opened only in early 2019, Pasta Bar’s offerings have already been turning heads and enticing tastebuds amongst discerning diners across Singapore.

It comes at no surprise, because head chef, Alessandro Giustetti had previously worked at the famed Garibaldi restaurant.

We mistakenly arrived without reservations and had to wait at their outdoor seating until a table could be freed up. Unfortunately, minutes before we were told our table would be ready, someone reserved the table online, overriding our priority due to system protocols. Moral of the story: make an advance reservation at Pasta Bar.

That said, our servers were very professional and apologetic at handling the issue. My company and I quickly forgave them over a bottle of Pinot Noir.

It was worth noting that service was exemplary throughout our dinner, and more importantly, the hospitality felt genuine.

The space at Pasta Bar felt rustic and cozy with stone and exposed brick walls paired with wooden high tables and chairs. Dim and warm lighting added to the cozy ambiance. The centerpiece of the restaurant was the open kitchen with bar seating where you could see the cooks at work alongside an occasional flame show.

To start, we had the Buratta and fried smelt.

Buratta for two ($40)

The burrata was simply presented on a wooden board with a side salad of cherry tomatoes and radicchio. Although this dish was slightly pricey at $40, the quality and quantity of the burrata justified its price. The burrata had a stretchy skin that gave way to a fantastically soft and creamy center, providing a luxurious mouthfeel.

Smelt ($14)

The smelt, eaten whole, was as fishy as I had feared, and in fact, quite appetising with a squeeze of lemon. It was well fried to a crisp without being dried out within.

We then proceeded to share 3 pasta dishes among 5 persons.

The mama’s baked pasta was beautiful with its golden cheesy charred crust and overflowing red sauce.

Mama’s Baked Pasta ($28)

The taste was cheesy and creamy within, with a hint of tartness from the red sauce and a touch of smokiness from the smoked mozzarella cheese. My only gripe was that the mortadella was cut really thinly, making them almost more of a garnish than a protein component. That said, the portion was generous and I imagined that I would have been quite full if I had consumed this dish on my own.

Next up, we each had a squid ink tortellini filled with sea urchin and burrata.

Squid Ink Tortellini ($42)

It’s worth noting that all of the kinds of pasta at Pasta Bar had a lovely chewiness that is unique to good hand-made pasta. It’s an entirely different type of texture from cooked al dente dried pasta. Where al dente dried pasta would be soft on the outside with a slightly hard/chewy middle, al dente fresh pasta has a consistent chew throughout, one that feels almost elastic.

Unfortunately, where the tortellini won on texture, it lost on flavor. The creamy filling had merely a hint of sea urchin and nothing else. The accompanying pesto provided a colorful contrast against the black dumplings, but that seemed to be its sole purpose.

Finally, we had the obligatory tagliatelle al ragu. Arriving piping hot with a generous sprinkle of parmegiano, I knew we were in for a treat the moment I set my eyes on it.

Tagliatelle al Ragu ($30)

The ragu sauce featured chunks of 24 hours braised beef that were falling apart with every prod. The flavor of the sauce was beautifully balanced, and to be quite honest, tasted unlike any other ragu that I’ve ever had.

What did I mean when I said that the sauce was beautifully balanced? It meant that one cannot single out any one flavor, be it salty, sweet or sour, yet somehow taste all of them at the same time.

This was a hearty and very tasty dish that I would recommend in a heart beat.

And that was our lovely evening at Pasta Bar. This restaurant has managed to strike a fine balance between price, ambiance, service and taste, making me want to return very soon.

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