Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Singapore Food Blog - La Braceria

Location: Bukit Timah, Singapore

Lying hidden from sight in a rather upscale neighborhood is a small restaurant called La Braceria. To those who understand Italian, it is “The Grill”, but to those who don’t, its translation mattered not. Because they would have visited this restaurant anyway, or they wouldn't even know its name or its location. 

We chanced upon a voucher offering discounts and thought we would avail ourselves of the chance for some authentic Italian servings, although we had our share of doubt since there are so many franchises and restaurants out there that unabashedly claimed to have served “authentic Italian meals” as well. A website menu packed full of Italian words helped make up our mind and off we went to explore the gastronomic offers of La Braceria.

Tucked behind a garden is the topic of this sharing: La Braceria.

Imagine our surprise when we found out that this restaurant is tucked in a rather “inaccessible” part of Bukit Timah, right smack in the middle of the island nation, instead of a spot which can be easily reached by taking public transports. I guess that the restaurant expected its guests to be driving instead of arriving on foot like what we did. 

After a few changes in transportation and under the guidance of GPS map, we managed to stumble into the restaurant, hidden partially behind a decorated garden front which could easily be mistaken as part of Botanical Garden with its modest heights of trees. We were surprised that a weekday dinner in La Braceria could still pack full of diners, showing their support for the restaurant despite the slight remoteness of the location. 

Soft couches and comfortable chairs dotted the interior as well as the exterior, offering us a choice to choose between sitting inside or outside. A relaxing ambient and Italian songs playing in the background would have us mistaken ourselves to be really in Europe. A stone stove standing silently at a corner and mostly Caucasian diners helped heightened this illusion. 

A relaxing atmosphere, comfortable chairs and rustic environment all serve to heighten the diner's experience of feasting in La Braceria.

Offering a menu full of Italian was of no help to us and the English descriptions below the meal had not lightened our confusion. And that was why the restaurant needed its waiter and waitresses. Busy as they were, they offered helpful advices and aided us in navigating through the array of foreign dishes until we locked down on our choices. 

We tried our best to hide our surprise when the meals arrived and I think we managed that rather well. To add onto that, we weren't exactly sure what to expect when we ordered our meal since we rarely had to order for dishes which we had neither tried nor heard of before. You wouldn't happen to know what “Risotto con Porcini e Profumo di tartufo” meant would you? Well, at least we understood “Braceria Cheese cake” and the alerting “must try” beside it. 

 A soft bread with a fluffy center and slightly crunchy crust will bring up your mood and get your gastronomic juice flowing.

Risotto con Porcini e Profumo di tartufo (Risotto with porcini mushrooms and truffles aroma) (SGD24) - this mashed mixture is actually a dish of rice cooked with a thick paste of butter. The fragrant dish may have a creamy texture, but it holds itself together much like a paste when spaded up in a spoon. For the health conscious, this may not be a recommended choice with such high amount of butter within. With such aroma though, the dish will be irresistible as each scoop into the mouth help push the next in. The first impression of the dish was its meager amount but with those butter toppings, more of it would only be wasteful as it was rather filling. For authentic Italian meal, this is one of the must have though, since Risotto is as Italian as pizza can be.

Guess what that chunk of kidney looking piece surrounded by grilled vegetables?

The answer is Filleto di Manzo (Grilled tenderloin served with red wine sauce) (SGD32).  That was the first time I dined and was asked "how would you like it?" (choose from a scale between raw and well done). The chunky piece of meat was rather tender and chewy, packed with juice that flooded my mouth with aroma. The greens and potatoes all served to balance the diet with a healthy dose of fiber.

With a name Braceria Cheese Cake (SGD9) and an additional 'Must try' beside it, it would take very strong will not to order this. Half of the dish was decorated with an artfully laid chocolate syrup and sprinkled with nuts, which apart from adorning the dish, also add more taste to the cheese cake. Dip each slice onto the syrup or just eat it plainly, whichever way you choose, the packed piece of cake with its crunchy base layer is just irresistible. Definitely worthy of its 'must try' status!

To diners looking for authentic Italian meals but would like to be as far away from the malls and traffic jams, La Braceria is your answer. It would definitely worth your while to seek this establishment out and enjoy a delicious meal amidst a relaxing atmosphere and rustic environment.

Suitable for:             for a romantic outing
Cost:                             Costly , but still worthwhile considering the environment and the meals it served are quite filling

Website:                     Official homepage
Contact:                     +65 - 6465 5918
Address:                     5 Greendale Avenue, Singapore 289501.

Operating hours:   Opened Tue - Sun, closed on Mondays except Public Holiday
                                        Lunch (12 - 2.30 p.m.)
                                        Dinner (6 - 11 p.m.)
Directions:                The nearest MRT station is Botanical Garden, but you will still need to take a bus, and walk quite a distance to reach there. Taking a cab would be much easier.

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