Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Porta Porta, Upper Changi Road North

Porta Porta, Upper Changi Road
Eclectic would be the word to describe the setting of this little restaurant (971 Upper Changi North Road, Changi Garden, tel : 65453108) with a bohemian charm, located at a remote spot beside a coffeeshop just across the road from Changi Prison. Homely would probably be the the best word to describe the food served. The dishes were in short tasty and as unostentatious they can come. If you're looking for Italian food with minimal to no frills involved, Porta Porta would be a very good bet.

Porta Porta, Upper Changi Road
I wasn't sure what was good from the menu, so we opted for what was describe as the "faite" set at $48 which comprised of what the chef could bring out from the kitchen for the day. The set which looked like a sampler of various dishes consisted of a four course - of which the first were starters and soup followed by a tasting of two pastas. The third course would be the meats along with calamari and prawns and then two desserts. The variety that this set offer looked pretty astounding as the dishes were brought out from the kitchen in quick order.

Starters & soup

Porta Porta, breadPorta Porta, antipastiPorta Porta, capresePorta Porta, pizza
Porta Porta, bruschettaPorta Porta, aranciniPorta Porta, musselsPorta Porta, fish soup
Beside the bread basket that featured a hard, olive oil flavoured and dense crusty loaf, there was a wooden platter of marinated vegetable antipasti. Followed by caprese with some smoked cheese instead of the usual mozzarella, some cold unexciting pizza, marinated eggplant, freshly toasted bruschetta, deep fried risotto balls with cheese, some fresh tasting plump mussels cooked in a spicy tomato and garlic broth and a rich savoury fish bisque.

I hardly know how to begin with this much food. The soup and mussels stood out pretty well in terms of flavour. The shellfish on the first serving had a weird smell so we requested for a change. A new bowl of freshly cooked mussels was brought back and was soft yet firm with a good bite. The densely flavoured brown fish bisque they brought was better fish soups I've ever tasted. I didn't even mind the mild coriander taste in it.

Two tastings of pasta

Porta Porta, ravioliPorta Porta, prawn tagliatelle
The pastas were a pesto ravioli stuffed with cheese and spinach and a very tasty tagliatelle with prawn cream sauce. Both pastas were had good textures even though they weren't the best we've had. The savoury prawn cream sauce was rich and good that I didn't mind the mild coriander taste in them. Something I'd look forward to if I ever return to Porta Porta.

The meats

Porta Porta, meatPorta Porta, meatPorta Porta, fritto misto
The meats was for me we the least interesting. There was a braised beef (no beefiness) that was sweet with the onions it was cooked with and a stringy piece of chicken in some cream sauce.

The fried seafood deserved mention. The batter on the squids were tissue paper thin that they almost weren't there. All there appeared to be was a light dusting of batter over the piping hot and fresh tasting squids. Despite appearances, the prawns were also delicious. They were unseasoned and tasted like the steamed variety from Chinese restaurants with sweetness in the crunchy meat. The shells were a tad difficult to remove though as they were a slightly stuck to the meat.

Desserts

Porta Porta, sorbetPorta Porta, tiramisu
Dessert was a lemon sorbet and a tiramisu. With the myriads of standards in tiramisu these days, I kept expecations low. This one served in a Chinese tea cup turned out very robust with the expresso. On top, a very light and well beaten mascarpone cream.

On the whole, I thought that the seafood scored better than the meats. The bill included just a service charge, no GST. This place is definitely worth re-visiting. I'll probably head for the one at Stanley Street the next time to see what's up with that branch.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

I wholeheartedly agree with the author, i have only been there once but that one occasion was memorable for the sheer amount of food served, the lovely warm service (my wife told me to stop staring at the young girl who was serving) and the homely, down to earth, good ole style italian food.

We're looking forward to going back there again.