Italian Food Review: Pasta Fresca da Salvatore at 30 Boat Quay, Singapore 049819

Did you know that there's an Italian establishment in Singapore that specializes in handmade pastas since 28 years ago? I did not, until I was invited to try out Pasta Fresca da Salvatore at Boat Quay. Turns out they started out as a small pasta shop at Bukit Timah selling pastas before it became a restaurant when Mr. Salvatore's mum started serving them. Then came a period of expansion, with the second outlet at Boat Quay (and another at Siglap). Now the Pasta Fresca brand has even expanded to China! With a retail side that supplies to hotels and gourmet shop inside the Siglap and Bukit Timah branch I'd say fresh pasta indeed has its demand! With flour that's imported from Italy and chefs from the south of Italy, Pasta Fresca da Salvatore's pastas are made fresh at their central factory daily.

Our tasting that last week started with a postcard view of the riverside on the top floor of the classy restaurant with tiles brought over from Italy and wooden panels reminiscent of Japanese screens. Lovely!

Do you also know that Pasta Fresca is the only Italian restaurant that allows you to choose whatever sauce you prefer to go with whichever pasta available? No rules! Typically though in Italy, seafood sauce will go with long pasta like spaghetti or fettucine (never meat-stuffed pasta) while meat or vegetable sauce will go with short pasta (like macaroni). Squid ink pasta will go with vegetable sauce and not meat sauce. They are rather strict about their sauce-pasta pairings. And apparently meatball bolognese is an American invention - they don't have it in Italy! I found it super interesting that there are such unspoken rules in Italian pasta.

The first 3 starters were pretty delightful, though I must say that the Burrata Contadina (S$20.50) blew me away. Having just returned from South America, I was craving for authentic Italian food, and freshly made burrata with 3 variants of buffalo mozarella just topped it. The ball of cheese was so smooth, juicy and all sorts of yum. 5/5

The Melanzane Parmigiana (S$14.80) was ok. I don't really like eggplant because of their texture, but that's really personal preference and nothing against the dish. 3/5

The cold cuts and cheese platter with various types of ham/salami and parmesan/blue/sheep cheese, Tagliere Misto (S$26.90) was also decent but overshadowed massively by the burrata. It's probably good for those looking for a light bite while sipping some wine overlooking the river. The sweet Gorgonzola (blue) cheese was really smooth and delicious though, not too overpowering or smelly. 3.5/5

For mains we tried 4 pastas with different sauces and pasta shapes, as well as an Italian crepe. We also had a pizza and steak (more on that later).

In order of preference from worst to best for the mains:

1. Crespelle al Funghi (S$20.40), which is Italian-style crepe filled with sautéed mushrooms, onions, parmesan cheese and oven-baked choice of tomato or cream sauce. It was overall quite a weird dish that you don't normally see in Italian restaurants, and probably with good reason. When it got cold (which is did invariably with the photo taking) it took on quite a mushy texture and flavours were muted. It's also too much for 1 or even 2 people to have as a main. I'll say avoid! 1.5/5

2. Fusilli All’Amatriciana (S$19) - A combination of bacon and onion, sautéed and simmered in tomato sauce. This was really simple for someone hankering for a tomato-based pasta. Perhaps a little too simple for my taste. If you are in a pasta restaurant, don't get something you can make at home easily. Or get it, if you feel like comfort food. I wouldn't recommend it though! 3/5

3. Conchiglie Mare E Monti ($21.70) - Crabmeat and button mushrooms sautéed with white wine in pink sauce. We had a pasta identification game before dinner to try and fit the different pastas into their names.

The conchiglie was the cutest among the lot because it really looked like a seashell!

When cooked with crabmeat and mushrooms, it became quite the seafood feast on a plate with the rich flavours. However because of its delicate shape, the pasta had to be carefully cooked so it does not fall apart. That gave it a slightly harder, undercooked taste. The sauce was delicious though. I would say this is one of the more unique pasta dishes I've tried. It'll have gotten a higher score if not for the hard texture. 3.5/5

4. Ravioli Di Burrata E Tartufo Nero ($25.90) - Homemade ravioli with burrata cheese and black truffle stuffing, tossed in creamy porcini mushrooms sauce and topped with parma ham and truffles caviar. Have you ever ordered ravioli, and have about 3-4 pieces come back to you? I have. So when I saw this dish I was really pleased. It was a generous portion with high quality ingredients. Really good, this. Must try if you're a ravioli fan! 4/5

5. Panzerotti Mushroom Alla Pastora ($18.90) - Shepherd’s inspired sauce of bacon and mushrooms sautéed in olive oil, garlic & chilli. My favorite dish among all of them. The panzerotti is a crescent half-moon pasta, much like a super mini calzone. The sauce here was done so perfectly and the pasta shape definitely enhanced the flavour. I would go back and order this again! 4.5/5

For the non-pasta/crepe dishes we had a Tagliata Di Manzo Con Rucola Al Rosmarino (S$36.90) which is sliced beef tenderloin in rosemary oil served with mixed grilled vegetables and rucola. For those looking for some protein, get the steak. The meat was tender and flavorsome, very beefy. 3.5/5 However if I am in a pasta restaurant, I would get the pasta. I'll spend that 30 odd dollars somewhere else for a steak.

We also tried two flavours of pizza on one (too much food otherwise!) The Pizza Rucola, Mozzarella Fresca E Pomodorini ($21.90++) which features signature pizza with cherry tomatoes, mozzarella cheese and rucola as well as the Pizza Mascarpone ($22.50++) with mascarpone cheese and parma ham with rucola and tomatoes. I really liked the crust on the pizzas and found them to be of no complaints. The ingredients were generous, the tomato sauce plenty, just the way Italian pizzas should be like. 4/5

For dessert we had the delicious Tiramisu Al Mascarpone E Caffe (S$10.90) which was really soft and rich, though it could have a stronger liquor taste. Still I'd imagine this to be a hit with the ladies and children. 3.5/5

The creamy Panna Cotta (S$10.90) had hints of almond when you scoop some into your mouth, due to the amaretto liqueur and vanilla that went into it. I found it a little weird for whipped cream to be served with the panna cotta and rather it be some raspberry coulis or caramel sauce, really! The pudding was also a little too soft for me. Get the tiramisu instead. 2.5/5

Pasta Fresca da Salvatore really impressed me with their quality pastas and ability to stick to authenticity even after being in Singapore for so long. It brought a taste of Italy to the far shores of our island, and I'm grateful for that. I'll definitely be back for the burrata, panzerotti and tiramisu.

Pasta Fresca da Salvatore
30 Boat Quay, Singapore 049819 
+65 65326283
Mon - Thu 11.30am to 12.00am (Last orders at 11.30pm)
Fri - Sat 11.30am to 2.00am (Last orders at 1.30am)
Sun 12.00pm to 12.00am (Last orders at 1.30am)

Thanks to FoodNews PR and Pasta Fresca da Salvatore for the invite!

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