Osteria Mozza Singapore

恭喜發財, or Happy Chinese New Year, and welcome to the Year of the Rabbit. Here in Singapore, I asked the taxi driver about the significance of the rabbit and he said that come May, people will start behaving like rabbits in order to give birth sometime in 2012 when it will be the Year of the Dragon!

Joe Bastianich and Mario Batali have recently opened Osteria Mozza and Pizzeria Mozza in the spaceship-like Marina Bay Sands complex, which comprises of a hotel, casino, hundreds of shops and numerous restaurants from other international chefs including Guy Savoy, Tetsuya Wakuda and Wolfgang Puck. The designers have done a good job shielding the Osteria from actually feeling like you are dining in a shopping mall, with lots of dark wood and even darker lighting.

The wine list is great, all Italian with an impressive selection of the big b’s in Barolo, Barbaresco and Brunello. But, this being Singapore, and next to a casino, you’ll need a win at the tables to afford the top names. Sommelier Paul steered us towards a 2008 Rosso di Montalcino from Talenti which was superb with our selection of dishes, showing juicy red fruits, fine tannins and refreshing acidity.

A glass of Nino Franco Prosecco is poured from a magnum to get things going, a nice touch that looks great and sets the scene for the evening. I love the ‘affordable magnums’ that have become a La Mozza feature, why don’t more restaurants in Australia do this? We started with some antipasti: grilled octopus and a unique take on the humble Tuscan classic, ribollita ‘da Delfina’. This version was reheated in a pan to form a thin crust and served whole like a small frittata. It’s only February, but an early nomination for favourite dishes of the year.

Next was a selection ‘from the mozzarella bar’, something I’d really been looking forward to eating, and they didn’t disappoint. We had burrata with bacon, marinated escarole and caramelized shallots on crostini: the rich, creamy burrata balanced with the salty bacon and tart shallots. Burricotta, a combination of mozzarella and ricotta, came with spiced walnuts, honey and fried rosemary. Finally, mozzarella served with a do-it-yourself selection of pesto, tapenade, capers and romesco. More than enough ideas for my next shop at Carlton’s La Latteria. The pasta, only 15 to choose from!, is all made in-house and you can even have a pasta tasting menu. My dish of corzetti, coin shaped pasta, came with a rustic sauce of eggplant, olives and buffalo ricotta. If you are in Singapore, I’d highly recommend going and make sure you say g’day to Sommelier Paul.