We had lunch at La Barca Italian restaurant recently and concluded that this was the best Italian restaurants in East Singapore that we have tried so far. It is quite an unusual restaurant. For one, it is located in an inconspicuous location in Katong, the Goodman Arts Centre along Mountbatten Road in the East side of Singapore. Except for the staff and visitors to the Arts Centre, there is no casual pedestrian traffic to capitalise on. The folks at La Barca Ristorante & Wine Bar must have been quite bold to take such a big space in such an obscure location, and confident as well, considering the amount of other food options available in that area and along East Coast Road nearby.
NOTE: We are informed that La Barca had moved to The Odeon Katong and renamed as Volare by La Barca.
Another thing that impressed us straightaway was the spaciousness of the restaurant. The tables were large and spread out. No feeling of being squeezed or having your conversations overheard. Some outdoor lounge furniture was available, adding a relaxed feel about La Barca Italian restaurant. On weekdays, a $38 set lunch menu is available, alongside the regular a la carte menu. Here is the set lunch menu as well as a few pages from the regular menu.
Another reason to visit La Barca Ristorante is their BYO friendly policy. No corkage for wines for lunch on Tuesday to Friday and dinner on Wednesday and Thursday (do check their website for conditions). We brought along a 1995 Ch Boyd Cantenac which just reached adulthood at 21 years of age. They decanted the wine and served it very properly, a far cry from a recent other place which charged $40 ++ for corkage with no wine service to speak of.
We ordered a set lunch for one and some other items from the regular menu for sharing. The cuttlefish in tomato sauce was the starter for the set lunch. The chef had replaced the squid for cuttlefish that day. It was a good decision as the pieces of cuttlefish were thick and had the nice resistance-to-bite kind of texture. The tomato sauce was flavourful and rich.
For the set lunch main course, we selected the paccheri ring pasta with spicy pork sausage and tomato. The taste was good, but mainly of the tomato, the spicy pork remained mostly in the background. It was a small portion. Luckily we had other things lined up.
We ordered a mushroom pizza ($20). It was a simple thin crust pizza with just mushroom, mozzarella and tomato. But the simplicity of taste worked so well together and was a perfect companion for the wine. A nice pizza and a bottle of mature red wine is the perfect way to laze away a hot Singapore afternoon.
We also tried the beef tenderloin wrapped in bacon and sautéed mushrooms ($48). The beef was good. We thought the extra bacon was quite unnecessary as it piled on the calories and also detracted from the natural taste of the beef. Perhaps it may have served a function by providing some fat to the otherwise lean tenderloin.
Finally, the dessert from the set lunch menu – a beautiful fruit tart with cream. This was as delicious as it looks.
Overall, we thought that the traditional Italian tomato based sauces at La Barca were very good. The pasta and pizza were also very well done. The beef was decent but did not really generate a “wow” from us. Overall, it was a very pleasant lunch at La Barca Italian Restaurant. Its seclusion was also a blessing as there were only a few other occupied tables apart from us. Service was friendly and professional. We concluded that this was the best Italian restaurant in East Singapore that we had tried up till now.
There are parking lots within Goodman Arts Centre. Detailed instructions on how to navigate within the Arts Centre can be found in the La Barca website.
Overall Rating: 5 TOPs
La Barca – see Facebook Page of Volare by La Barca
90 Goodman Road
Goodman Arts Centre, Block C, #01-21/22