Sunday, December 22, 2013

Da Mario's Pizzeria 2013

Da Mario has changed, in manners subtle and sometimes not, in the past years since the time they opened up. The menu has changed, settled down and also become less exciting. They're no longer the new kid on the block that people talk about. I suppose it's a symbol of maturity that they're still around knowing what they can do well, calling on what experimental remains from their earlier days to purge and keeping what people like. Doesn't really work for me unless those are really good, but then again, I hardly have the chance to re-visit, much less re-order something during a re-visit.

Well, perhaps not so for deep fried calamari. Or fritto misto. Which is everywhere. Which also basically, almost exclusively constitutes just prawn and calamari here. In this country. I've had good ones and regrettable ones. Da Mario's are one of the better done. Especially those fresh tasting prawns which are really firm and lovely. I would have loved for them to come with something with a little heat. A spiked pomodoro dip perhaps, rather than tartare sauce.

This is pappardelle with Italian sausage, truffle paste and a cream sauce. I'm not sure how Italian it is, but it's definitely become a Singaporean thing. Like ba chor mee. It's appearing in menus everywhere. It might be disguised with another pasta, but it's really just that truffled cream and sausage pasta. I think it works with tagliatelle well, but really, I'm getting sick of them.

I rather liked Da Mario's pizza bianca the last time round, so I thought I'll try another. Like I said, subtle changes happened to them. It used to be green olives, now they're like Kalamata. Chilli flakes brought forth welcomed spikes of heat, there was the soft crunch of artichokes and well, frozen crab chunks. Ingredients were generous. That didn't change. I didn't dislike this, but it all sounded much more tasty on menu because I was probably imagining non-frozen crab. I would like to clarify that I'm unfortunately not so naive.

And I'm not so sure if any of the food here is representative to Abruzzo.

But you know what could bring me back again? It'll probably be the little memory etched in the little corner of my mind after seeing the chef Colombano Miucci Mario hunch over, kneading the dough for my pizza in the kitchen. I'm still impressed by chefs that do the cooking rather than just talk the talking. Someone in honest toil selling their food and still resisting the impulse to put prices over the roof like what almost everyone else is doing. 

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