Monday, October 15, 2007

Stiff Chilli, Jalan Besar

"when a chilli is stiff, it's dead" ~ Ah Teo

I had a bit of difficulty trying to locate this place at 279 Jalan Besar from the map on It's actually 2 or 3 bus stops from Sim Lim Square in the direction away from town. The restaurant was an old-ish and modern/quaint little place nested in a row of dilapidated looking shophouse with crumbling whitewash. From what I've read, this place was run by an Italian-Australian chef Rodney Holt who had opened four other Stiff Chilli outlets in Bali. From the way things were looking, this place looked like it was doing pretty good. This was one of those times I walked out of the restaurant feeling happy about the dinner. The question I had was - if it were to be successful as an eatery in this country, would it be able to gracefully meet the challenge of compromise and not bow to mediocrity as many others have.

One of the signature dishes here was Burrata which was essentially a cream filled ball of mozzarella cheese heaped over with rockets, Parma ham, some cherry tomatoes and then drizzled generously with olive oil and vinegar. The cheese was of a soft and smooth texture, light on flavours and has the consistency akin to a portobello mushroom cap. In spite of the size, wasn't overwhelming or heavy. This stuff was definitely worth a try. Came in two options of either parma ham ($22) or grilled vegetables ($18).

The bruschetta here were limited to two or three different toppings but I thought that their mozzarella e rucola ($6) which featured tomatoes, basil, little pieces of bocconcini cheese and roasted garlic (what a pleasant surprise!) was a pretty good starter. For me, the best part of the bruschetta was the addition of the soft roasted garlic and I definitely wished that there were more of it. That would have in my books made it great!

The speck pizza ($18) which featured, according to the menu, double smoked mountain ham (what's this?!) and blue cheese was something that I thought I shouldn't pass up on. This turned out to be something that I found myself liking quite a bit. I thought that a little more generosity with the blue cheese was in order and I'm not sure what's the deal with that salty double smoked mountain ham which tasted almost like Parma ham. The pizza came with an excellent thin crust that was really crispy at the edges and a bottom that did not turn soggy because of the toppings.

There was a variety of pastas to pick from. There was a cannelloni which I spied on the menu, but I had unfortunately limited space. We managed to decide on the ravioli di zucca ($8.50) which was pumpkin filled raviolis cooked in butter and sage. The ravioli was decent in a light buttery broth which I would have preferred to be more buttery. The only thing the sage did for me was to provide a little dimension to the taste.

Interesting thing about their chocolate ice cream was that there were actually flecks of chilli inside. The effect of which was a subtle chilli flavour which doesn't change the chocolate ice cream, but rather sits above it. There was only a very mild spiciness that can be felt and left a ticklish sensation in the throat. The taste was honestly not bizarre or weird. Just different.

I would probably want to come back again to check out other things on the menu. I liked this place enough with first impressions.


Junie said...

i wana go.. i want the blue cheese pizza

Anonymous said...

Is this place opposite Lavender Food Square?

LiquidShaDow said...

This place is one bus stop after Lavender Food Square on the direction towards Sim Lim Square.

Fu said...

just wondering how much did u pay for the respective dishes :D

LiquidShaDow said...

Hi fu,
you should really read before asking. The prices are already mentioned.

Anonymous said...

blue cheese is heaven!

red fir said...

Dude, this is not burrata. Burrata is oozy when you cut through it. The innards contain both mozzarella and cream, giving it a unique oozy texture, somewhat molten.

This is just "fresh" mozzarella, if it is really fresh.

LiquidShaDow said...


I've been reading a bit about burrata online and you could be right about that. It was soft, but definitely nothing close to molten.

With regards to freshness, I'm sure you know there is only so much freshness that imported food is able to retain.