Some significant changes have taken place at the restaurant row on the ground floor of Shaw Centre, Singapore. The Caveau Bar is gone and Taste by Cheryl Koh has moved upstairs to level 2. You can read about our visits to these two former places here and here. The space that has been freed up is now used for a new restaurant, Mui Kee Congee and to expand Italian restaurant La Strada Ristorante which was renovated and re-opened recently. La Strada had a good crowd for lunch when we were there on a weekday. Mui Kee Congee is doing even better. It is tremendously popular, with long queues observed during lunchtime. We have a picture of the queue at the end of this post.
We are fans of both Italian pasta and Cantonese congee, but when faced with an immediately available table and one that requires a 45-minute queue, the choice was obvious. La Strada Ristorante is now more spacious and modern as compared to what it was at our previous visit before the great renovation. We like the brightness of the new space but not its noise amplifying acoustics.
La Strada Ristorante Set Lunch Menu
A three course set lunch is served at La Strada Ristorante. The lunch costs$42 ++ with top-ups required for certain items from the grill. Here are pictures of the La Strada Ristorante Set Lunch Menu (2018 April).
An interesting aspect of dining at the restaurants in the Les Amis group is their diversity in wine choices. At La Strada Ristorante, in addition to the usual wines by the glass and by bottles, there is a good range of half bottles. I think a half bottle (375 ml) is perfect to be shared by two over a simple weekday lunch. Just enough to accompany the food but not enough to get you into trouble if you are driving.
We selected a 2015 Moss Wood “Amy’s Cabernet Blend”. Who is Amy? You can read about the story on the vineyard’s website. It is a robust red wine which ideally should be opened an hour an hour beforehand to lose some of its tannic taste. It softened up somewhat by the time our main courses were served but was at its best when we were having our last sips.
For starters we selected the Antipasti Misti (above picture) and the Frittata (picture below). The antipasti was the more interesting choice as there were generous slices of Parma ham and salami. An olive, pepper stuffed with cream cheese and pickled onion provided a refreshing contrast of taste with the meat. A small lonely baguette was provided on request. The frittata was a plain omelette made a bit more interesting by the topping of zucchini flowers and sliced cucumber.
We enjoyed the main courses more than the starters. The Australian Mottainai Omega lamb spare ribs (picture above) were delicious. They had rich meaty flavours but were not gamey. The lamb must have been pretty fat as one of the ribs was covered with just fat. Artichoke heart, fava beans, potato stew made up the rest of the dish. The Spaghettini was a more predictable dish. The pasta itself was quite average but there was a large number of king prawns. There were also Hokkaido scallop slices- the scallops seem to be a prized item. Capers, garlic, parsley, white wine combined to provide a harmonious seafood pasta dish.
Our choice of desserts were Sfogliatelle (picture above) and traditional tiramisu (picture below). We selected the former because of its unusual name. It turned out to be an ordinary looking pastry covered with a generous amount of icing sugar. It is described as “a traditional Neapolitan stuffed pastry, lardo, ricotta cheese, candied orange zest”. The tiramisu was the better choice of dessert. It was served in the form of a large blob. It looks plain yet beautiful in a zen like way. The taste was good with a very prominent chocolatey taste.
Overall, the new La Strada 2018 model is a modernised version of the traditional looking Italian restaurant that previously stood along this stretch of Claymore Hill. Lunch there was a pleasant experience. We could tell that the staff were trying hard to leave a good impression. As promised, here is a picture of the queue outside their next door neighbour – Mui Kee Congee.
Overall Rating: 4 TOPs
La Strada Ristorante
#01-11 Shaw Centre, 1 Scotts Road
(Last Order 2.00PM)
(Last Order 9.30PM)