Osteria Mozza @ Marina Bay Sands
Tis the season to be jolly! Marina Bay Sands has decided not to go with the traditional christmas trees but with reindeer that light up at about 7pm.
Headed to Osteria Mozza after two visits to the Pizzeria. Reservations for this did not come without a hitch. They claim any form of customizations for a birthday cake had to be done a week in advance, are dead adament about only providing a candle and well, came straight up to the birthday girl to wish her when it may have been a planned surprise for her. Gosh, learn from Morton's a thing or two about surprises please.
Table lined for the greedy.
Leather bound (for confusion).
The vase of posies that got us all staring at it.
Complimentary bread - walnut and normal bread. The request for butter never arrived but came with balsamic vinegar and olive oil. Both had really tough crusts which were great for dipping in the mussel broth yet eating on its own could be hard to chew.
Amuse bouche with compliments from the chef - totally lost in the accent of the waiter. These are similar to the parmesan crackers served over at Mozza Pizzeria just that these are morsel sized and topped with a slew of cheeses. Liked the creamy finish for this.
Crispy Pigs Trotter with frisee, apple and mustard ($17)
I kid you not. What was supposed to be crispy pig trotters came in a pork cake. Honestly, it was not misrepresentation and here's why;
crispy = breaded crust
pigs trotter = mashed into a pork cake
One of those jawdropping moments that leave you with absolutely nothing to say for a good 10 seconds at least.
With a pork cake that barely filled the size of my palm and a pile of greens to make a salad to fill the plate - screams rip off and was most certainly so. In all the gummyness, I could barely make out what went into the pork cake. Pigs trotter? I WISH.
Steamed Mussels with tomato, chilies and herbs $21
The other appetizer that redeemed itself by continents. Fresh mussels soaking in a broth so tasty, these buttered toasts worked wonders with it.
Burrata with bacon, marinated escarole and caramelized shallots ($25)
A must order given that the menu for burrata lasted at least 10 items long. They do have a limited edition burrata much larger in portion is not on the menu. Two portions of this - miniscule to describe. Not puny to the extent you can pop the toast into your mouth without looking unglam yet not enough to fill a lady's tum.
The marinated escarole and shallots were doused too heavily in vinegar but the burrata with bacon was incredible.
One thing to note about their mains is - there is an option of ordering it in primi portions (READ: appetizer portions). Prices start from $20+ for a fistful of pasta which they term primi and secondi portions are much bigger, served in casseroles. Changes to the choice of pasta is not permissible.
Orecchiette with sausage and Swiss chard ($55)
Described as ear shaped pasta with sausages. I was not expecting a deconstructed sausage per se.
Here's it sprinkled with bread crumbs.
Delicious I must add, though these are not as dense as gnocchi. Deconstructed sausage or not, the meaty bits were rich in flavourful and so very addictive.
Garganelli with ragù Bolognese ($25)
A primi portion of this was ordered. Simply rolled maltagliatti with a hearty bolognese sauce. Unlike the usual bolognese pastas that I have eaten, this was on the dry side.
Maltagliati with duck ragù ($57)
Sprinkled with freshly shaved parmesan cheese. This is a tasty delight as well though on the whole their pasta dishes do miss out on the wow factor that Italian restaurants have nailed so well.
Grilled Quail wrapped in pancetta with sage and honey ($48)
Quails like pigeons are like smaller than spring chickens. The most amusing bit of this quail dish is the way the mini thighs were twisted - as if the quail was made to sit cross-legged.
Stuffed with diced marinated vegetables, this looked completely fresh off an episode of Master Chef USA. In all honesty, the quail meat was tender yet there was this gamey smell to it that got increasingly stronger with every bite. Baffles me most that the texture of the meat was strangely rubbery and tasted like foie gras was rubbed all over it.
Grilled Red Snapper with herbs and extra virgin olive oil ($50)
Here's another that is strongly recommended by the waiter. He probably only highly recommends quail and red snapper for price reasons I guess. Every other clueless table seemed to have an order of both.
A full fish stuffed with herbs. I thought it was on the whole fresh but there were parts were the fishyness could not be masked by a squirt of lemon or herbs.
By normal standards, with dinner proper being this uninspiring would have nudged us to try dessert elsewhere but somehow we were all too lazy to move off.
Blackberry Jam Crostata ($22)
Blackberry compote and vanilla gelato
A gf who headed to Osteria Mozza told me this was good - an overload of berries! Yet the blackberries were there for a good reason - to negate the sweetness of the chewy jam tart. Vanilla gelato here was too watery and melted down to compliment the tart.
Gelati Trio ($22)
Caramel, Frutti di Bosco and Mint Chip
One of the few gelato presentations that catches the eye. Was most expecting three scoops in a martini glass.
Caramel reminded me of caramel copetta from Mozza Pizzeria - still as rich and indulgent!
Frutti di Bosco was a berry gelato with meringue embedded within and what looked like whipped mascarpone cream. Did not fancy this icy fruity gelato much, was on the sour side.
Mint Chip quite literally. Melted away too fast to make out what really went into it. The gelatos are in general very light with the exception of caramel. I suppose the absence of milk exacerbated the melting process hugely.
Huckleberry Marmellata and Vanilla Gelato
Had we all known these was just a dessert with fried donuts, berry compote and vanilla gelato with lemon curd, we probably would not have ordered. Flavours did not come together very well. Too many berries and vanilla gelatos by this point.
As you would have guessed, this meal did not end that greatly. Pizzeria over Osteria anyday. Still as noisy though not to the extent of not being able to hear yourself. Ambience is great though walking out smelling like your dinner is almost inevitable. Service is terribly contrived - boo. Food has alot for improvement and returns are not so likely as yet.
To cut it some slack, this ain't entirely Italian but American-Italian. Head for the pastas than mains if need be. Time to explore other dining options within MBS.
Marina Bay Sands