OTTO Locanda brings fine Italian cuisine in a relaxed setting, at the charming Maxwell Chambers just minutes away from the Red Dot Traffic Building, where its fine-dining counterpart OTTO Ristorante resides –both walking distances away from the Tanjong Pagar MRT station.
The partners behind OTTO Ristorante share a life-long passion for great Italian food, offering dining that is close to the hearts of Italians.
OTTO Locanda exudes a rustic charm similar to that of a traditional Italian trattoria. Walls are adorned with the owner’s personal postcard collection, while copper lamps illuminate the dining room with warmth and cosiness. Shelves are filled with vintage Italian memorabilia, which will open vaults of memories and feelings of nostalgia close to the Italians’ hearts.
Under the culinary direction of OTTO Ristorante’s head chef Michele Pavanello, Chef Marco Violana helms the kitchen at OTTO Locanda, bringing his impressive Italian culinary expertise to the table. Expect hearty Italian recipes coupled with high quality ingredients and precise execution.
Passion may be intangible, but you know it when you see (or taste) it. Chef Marco Violano for one has tremendous passion, displayed throughout the dishes that he puts together, and through his enthusiasm in interacting with diners.
I find myself facing the difficult task of choosing a favourite dish as all of them stood out in their own ways. Here are the items that we tried during a food tasting session with HungryGoWhere.
Rustic bread is served to diners before the starters arrive, to ease the hunger pangs while waiting.
Italian Roasted Ham and Smoked Scamorza Cheese Fritters with Spicy Tomato Sauce ($16)
The selection of Italian cold cuts arrives with a side of scrumptious cheese fritters that are highly addictive.
Roasted Octopus with Potatoes and Leeks Puree and Crispy Zucchini ($22)
The Roasted Octopus with Potatoes and Leeks Puree and Crispy Zucchini is a visual appealing starter comprising varying textures and flavour. Each component is well-executed –tender octopus grilled to perfection, ethereally crusted zucchini slices that are almost paper-thin, and the luscious potato and leeks puree that had me wanting more.
Buffalo Milk Mozzarella Cheese with Marinated “Datterini” Cherry Tomatoes and Basil Dressing ($18)
The Buffalo Milk Mozzarella Cheese with Marinated “Datterini” Cherry Tomatoes and Basil Dressing will make a safe and fail-proof choice that vegetarians can also enjoy. We ordered a second helping, which is probably evidence of how much we enjoyed it.
Baked Layers of Eggplant Parmigiana Style with light Tomato Sauce and Mozzarella ($20)
The Baked Layers of Eggplant Parmigiana Style is instantly memorable. The flavours – of tomato, cheese and eggplant – built on each other through the course of baking, culminating an elegant reincarnation originating from humble ingredients.
At first glance, this dish looks like a carnivorous trap, with squarish chunks resembling pork belly. It is in fact undeniably vegetarian. I know right, it looks so enticing one would never perceive this dish as vegetarian.
This is one of my favourites.
Sliced Chilled Roast Grain Fed Strip Loin with Tuna Sauce ($22)
The tuna sauce provides this dish with a unique quality and familiar flavours –it most definitely changed my perception of tuna. The flavour of tuna is prevalent and hits your palate the moment it enters your mouth, but it comes without the texture of tuna flakes, so that the strip loin remains as the star of the dish.
The combination of flavours is interesting and I was immediately inspired to whip up something similar in my own kitchen.
Gratin Black Mussels Mediterranean Style with Pureed Borlotti Beans and Ciabatta Bread Crouton ($20)
Cauliflower Soup with Seafood Chunks (Soup of the Day)
While the dishes impressed so far, it was the Soup of the Day that I smacked my lips over. It possesses the double virtue of being comforting and luxurious, plentifully seasoned and brimming with generous chunks of lobster and prawn.
Pizza Bovina with Grilled Grain Fed Beef, Arugula and Aged Parmesan Shaving ($28)
There is a small selection of pizzas available, and in order to try more variety, we had multiple flavours on a single serving. The Pizza Sfiziosa with Brandy Glazed Prawns, Mixed Greens and Aioli Dressing ($26) is a personal favourite.
Pizza Golosa with Italian Roasted Ham, Korobuta Pork Ragout, Arugula and Comfit Tomatoes ($24)
The Pizza Contadina with Sun Dried Tomato Pesto, Marinated Grilled Vegetables and Crispy Artichoke ($22) is a vegetarian option you can also consider.
Aged Parmesan Cheese Risotto “Carnaroli” with White Chicken Ragout and Chili Dressing ($22)
The Aged Parmesan Cheese Risotto “Carnaroli” with White Chicken Ragout and Chili Dressing received raves across the table, with plates returning to the kitchen sparkling clean.
The chilli dressing, with its bright reddish hue, provides colourful contrast to the pale yellow risotto. Chef Marco calls this the Italian version of our local favourite Chicken Rice.
Flavours were spot on.
Pan Roasted Sea Bass in Amalfi Coast Style Sauce ($28)
Grilled Lobster with Fresh Marinated Vegetables and Citrus Salad ($30)
If one dish must be crowned supreme, the Grilled Lobster with Fresh Marinated Vegetables and Citrus Salad deserves the title. Succulent meat falls off the shell with ease, complemented by a citrus salad that further highlights the freshness of the crustacean.
Crispy Pork Belly Pancetta with Gratin Potato and Onion Compote ($28)
Sliced Beef Sirloin Grilled with Wild Rocket Salad Fontina Cheese and Artichoke Sauce ($32)
Meringue Cake with Chocolate Sauce ($12)
For dessert, the Meringue Cake with Chocolate Sauce is highly recommended. It looks like a scoop ice cream from afar, and I was all ready to pounce on it. Its texture took me by surprise. I enjoyed the crumbly creaminess of the meringue cake, which melts instantly on the tongue.
Profiteroles filled with Vanilla Custard with Toasted Almond Flakes ($12)
Oven Baked White Chocolate Otto Locanda Style with Hazelnut Ice Cream ($14)
The Oven Baked White Chocolate Otto Locanda Style with Hazelnut Ice Cream also left a lasting impression. Instead of the usual chocolate lava cake commonly available, this lighter coloured version oozes with white chocolate as you cut through the centre. It is moist, rich and adequately sweet –perfect ending to the meal with culinary orgasms.
Thank you HungryGoWhere for the food tasting invite.
32 Maxwell Road
#01-03 Maxwell Chambers