Friday, 3 April 2009

Pampered night

I've been known to make decisions in every area of my life, from simple household decisions to business ones. Even the doting CH lets me choose the restaurants for our friday dinners. Last night, he suddenly took things into his hands and reserved a table for us at Porta Porta - a little Italian restaurant tucked away in Changi North that serves good and robust Italian food.

Some time ago, our plans to go to Porta Porta was thwarted by something that I can't remember now. Seeing that I have been busy and slightly distracted lately, he wanted to give me a nice treat. His plan worked of course because no matter how independent a woman is, it feels good to be pampered every now and than.

Upon entering the small restaurant with burgundy walls that are lined with the owner's art collection and knick-knacks, I felt like I was transported back to a trattoria in Italy.

I was seated next to this naked baby statue. The 'cloud and blue sky' ceiling panel lends an interesting touch to the otherwise boring ceiling.

The restaurant prides itself in serving nothing but authentic Italian cuisine. We've read some pretty good reviews, so the best way to sample their food is to order the house menu where the chef chooses what you get to eat. The servings are small but good enough for two to share.

In addition to that, we ordered an ala-carte dish - squid ink pasta which was cooked to perfection.

The antipasto comprised mushroom, zucchini vinaigrette, capsicum in olive oil and egg plant.

The home-made bread was of the yeasty and crusty variety. I piled mine with a little of everything. Yum!

Next up, chicken broth. Nothing much to shout about except that it was clear but flavourful with bits of chicken and vegetable pieces in it.

The squid ink pasta arrived soon after. This must be the best one we had tasted so far. The pasta was al-dente with enough spring in every bite. We found small pieces of squid which add even more texture and taste to the flavourful dish.

CH was eager to show off his inky black teeth. Let's just say this isn't the best dish to order when you're out on a first date. One piece fell on my dress and left a black stain.

The tortellini in pesto sauce was excellent. I'm not a big fan of cheese but this was so well made, I'm sure it would even convert a non-cheese eater like YK.

The chef certainly knows his stuff. I was really impressed with the vongole pasta. I cook this very often at home, yet with the freshest ingredients (live clams), I still cannot come close to the flavours that he had managed to achieve. I'm sure there are some secret ingredients in there, he must have used rich seafood stock to blanche the clams in.

The calamari is simply fried in a very light batter sans seasoning to allow the sweetness of the fresh squid to come through. The pieces were tender and succulent, in other words, perfect!

By the time we had eaten all the food above, I was feeling quite stuffed. The waitress came by to ask if we preferred chicken or mutton, I picked mutton because I like how CH loves the meat. Wise choice. The mutton was tender with a melt-in-the mouth texture, it must have been cooked for hours.

Finally, dessert! To be honest, that was what I looked at first on the menu. I'm glad they served tiramisu, my favourite Italian dessert. It didn't disappoint of course. We could taste the liquor in the sponge buried beneath the layer of mascorpone and cocoa powder. The apple pie was a tad too sour for my liking but I liked the buttery crust.

It has been a while since we had a memorable dinner together. Last week's dinner at Sentosa was crap, so this really made up for it. We left the restaurant very impressed with the food and level of service bestowed upon us. Thank you CH!

For those who are interested, Porta Porta is at 971 Upper Changi North Road at Changi Garden. Tel 6545-3108.


Fresh Fry aka 福星 said...

looks good! rustic, not showy like many fake "atas" italian restaurants out there. hehehehe......

i like antipasto of artichoke, olives in feta. wonder if they serve there.

how much did CH paid for the 2 of u?

Blur Ting said...

Fry - I don't remember seeing that but I'm sure they would have something like that and would serve it at your request. They're really very homely and friendly type. The owner is an Italian man and his wife works there too.

The house menu is $39.50. The pasta around $25. Total cost including orange and lime soda was about $85 .

Anonymous said...

CH completely came through for ya! You are one lucky lady to have CH. Kudos to CH as well for making all the plans... ha ha.... next time I'll be the thumbnail in your date and tag along... LOL!

Fresh Fry aka 福星 said...

very reasonable price for 2!

k@Ye_ said...

I m hungry already!

Amel's Realm said...

GREAT choice for CH! And indeed a woman needs to be pampered every now and then. :-D

The World According To Me said...

Good choice CH! The food sounded and looked delicious. And you wore your cute dress!