As Italian as you can get from the moment you call to make a reservation. Walk into Italian Osteria and be greeted immediately by a sea of Italians from service staff to chefs. And if that’s not convincing enough, the smell of Italian cooking will have you go mamma mia! Already winning the hearts of many of their own countrymen and Singaporeans alike, IO is always crowded if not full but service is efficient and prompt regardless! The atmosphere is casual, warm and friendly… but really, its the exceptional food we all come here for. It’s impossible… I can’t stop myself from ordering, over and over again, two of their specialty starters.The Traditional Roman Schiacciata is to die for! You tell yourself not to stuff your face as you reach for seconds. It’s crazy good😝! Crispy on the outside, soft and flavorful on the inside. Bite into oozing goodness of funghi, cheese, truffles and fluffy bread. This is a MUST order!Another irresistible baby is the amazing Porchetta! A rolled up stuffed pork belly with super duper crackling and fork-tender meat. Any fats once present have melted away contributing to the succulence of the meat. It’s wonderfully flavored and goes perfectly with a touch of mustard! I am so drooling just thinking about it! The Dolce Salato, a fresh green salad with cheese and dried berries. The salty cheese, sweet berries and tangy balsamic crema goes perfectly with the bitter salad leaves.
IO’s daily Chef specials have never failed them. The Ox Tongue is mildly spiced, cooked to a soft melting texture, sliced and piled up high like a tongue tower! If you’re trying tongue for the first time, let it be this😄! It is gorgeously done!The squid ink risotto (another special) was a sea of glistening black aborico cooked to perfection. Accompanied by sliced squid and mashed peas which was an interesting touch. I ate them separately and kinda like the sweetness of the peas in between mouthfuls of savory rice. Only for pea lovers I guess? But you know, when it’s a well made risotto, rice is all you need. And IO’s risotto was pretty damn well made!We all know a lasagne.. Soft pasta sheets layering rich ragu meat sauce and lotsa cheese. Sounds rather straight forward, even easy (if you cook) and most restaurants do a decent ragu meat sauce. IO’s meat sauce is not just any meat sauce! It is meaty, rich and robust. Layered between soft lasagne sheets and generous amount of cheese and baked til golden brown. This is a dish all Nonnas could cook with their eyes closed back home. I just gotta spot her at IO’s kitchen!IO’s pastas are just as impressive and never quite the run of the mill. What’s built like a Calzone was in fact a pasta! This pasta pillow is stuffed with ham, cheese, mushrooms, then topped with more cheese and baked to a soft, gooey, slimy, cheesy piece of heaven! This, my friend, is a filler! And it’s worth every inch on your waist!“Pasta, prawns, aglio olio.” That’s all we heard when Fede, our server, described another pasta special. Hard to go wrong with those ingredients. It turned out to be a trofie kinda pasta with diced prawns and garlic cooked in a semi thick sauce. We were really expecting a straight forward aglio olio with prawns but we should’ve known IO doesn’t do straight forward! Anyhow, this was a very interesting pasta.. There was bitter aftertaste which grows on you. We polished the plate trying to figure out the bitter and narrowed it down to white wine.
IO has a beautiful range of homemade cakes but it was the not-so-classic tiramisu that wowed.It was rich, silky and creamy with bursts of crushed pistachios in every spoonful. Served in glass jar that’s good for 2 though I doubt anyone would be sharing it😄!With daily specials, you don’t have to repeat your choices at IO. And that’s a good enough reason to come back over and over. Now if only I could bring myself to not repeat the same starters 😅!
Italian Osteria @ 4 Hillview Drive #02-01 Hill Shopping Mall Singapore (667979)