Where: VivoCity, #01-165 to 167
SINGAPORE - Foodies can rejoice as yet another celebrity chef has set up in Singapore.
Jamie Oliver has opened his first Asian branch of Jamie's Italian here, with dishes created by both him and his mentor, Mr Gennaro Contaldo. My Paper was invited to a food tasting last week at their VivoCity branch.
The 210-seat restaurant comes decorated with beautiful chandeliers imported from Britain, as well as red and blue couches that are reminiscent of an American diner, giving it the right mix of class and casual.
An al fresco dining area which seats 40 is available, in addition to the 210 seats indoors.
The signature dish at Jamie's Italian is its antipasti. The dish is served on a wooden board created exclusively for the restaurant.
One can choose from meat, fish and vegetable planks, which are placed on top of two tins of canned tomatoes.
The fish plank ($17) offers a taste of Italy in every bite and has a good variety of vegetables and cheese.
This plank includes beetroot- cured salmon topped delicately with creme fraiche and micro parsley cress, as well as Manila clams and mussels which went well with the restaurant's special Amalfi Lemon and Basil Iced Tea (a glass for $5.50; 1-litre jug, $15).
One cannot go without ordering a bowl of pasta while dining in an Italian restaurant, and Jamie's Italian is more than fulfilling in that aspect.
With its pasta made on site daily, it is no wonder that even a simple bowl of Tagliatelle Bolognese (75g of pasta for $15, 150g for $22) can satisfy with its ragu of beef, pork, herbs and cheese.
The restaurant's wild truffle risotto (a small dish for $16; main course, $24.50) is also a treat. Instead of stock, Jamie's Italian uses salted water and acquerello rice (which has the same nutritional benefits as brown rice) to give this dish a unique taste.
A real hearty meal - I was stuffed by the time I finished it.
But there's always room for dessert, and the folks at Jamie's Italian know how to satisfy a sweet tooth.
I dived readily into their creamy panna cotta ($9) served with fruit compote, and found myself wanting more with every bite.
Usually, I find panna cotta cloying, but I was pleasantly surprised by how light the dessert was, without compromising on the flavour. A must-try.
To me, the experience at Jamie's Italian did not just consist of the flavours of each dish, but also the general atmosphere and the experience of top-quality, yet affordable, food.
Jamie's Italian is open on Sundays to Thursdays at 12pm-10pm; and Fridays and Saturdays at 12pm-11pm.
Get My Paper for more stories.