Tag Archive | Pietrasanta

Robust Italian feed in suburbia

Last Saturday, I went back Pietrasanta — this time with my regular travelling companions to celebrate the birthday of one of them, HTK, our regular treat bank for unusual meals, as have been recorded in various posts on this blog.

HTK had turned 49 a few days earlier. Which led EC to remark that time had flown and it seemed almost like yesterday when we were marking his 40th birthday at Da Paolo in Neil Road!

That got all six of us into a reflective mood, recalling that DP’s boss lady, Julie Scarpa, had shown us around the restored shophouse after our dinner.

Well, Da Paolo has moved on from their Chinatown roots while my group of fellow diners have moved on too, at least for our annual birthday bashes. Don’t think we’ve been back to any same restaurant in the past decade, except for GOTO.

Last Saturday’s choice was quite a departure from where we went in recent years: Gunthers at Purvis Street; GOTO at Ann Siang Hill and Fifty Three @ Armenian Street to name a few.

Price-wise, the five “hosts” paid just $140 per head for the latest celebration which added up to a total bill of $700 for a group of six when at Gunther’s, each host had coughed up close to $300, and IMHO we didn’t receive any more particularly memorable food or service.

Worse, EL recalled that we had been “scolded” at Gunthers, something I overlooked. She remembered we were told to be less noisy!

Well, below is what we ate at Pietrasanta, washed down by a magnum of agreeable Sicilian cabernet sauvignon. We were quite restrained with our wine because at a nearby table, one couple shared the magnum between themselves!

Everything was robust but decent on the palate and wallet and while service was a lot more patchy than I had experienced on previous visits, it could be forgiven since it was a Saturday night and the aircon section was packed (where we were) as was the back alfresco section (as diners emerged after eating), and probably the front alfresco section too, though we didn’t checked.

let e feasting begin!

3 shared this T-bone

EC n I each went for boneless bream

everyone had c-food soup

Ink pasta tasting portions for all

Shared parma ham n rocket pizza

desserts n candle

what's left of gratis chocs from restaurant owner

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Road to vegetarianism

Although there are many species of meats and seafood I don’t eat — duck, goose, beef, lamb, veal, deer, turtle, to name but a few — I’m not a natural vegetarian.

I do like meat and seafood, most times.

Despite this, I’m all ears when a conversation turns to vegetarians and vegans, as it did last night.

Some friends and I were having a hearty meat and fish dinner at Pieterasanta, that delightful Italian restaurant in the heart of Portsdown Road. More about that dinner in a future post.

For this post, it’s about the train of thought triggered by HTK, one of my dining companions, who in turn turned to the topic because I started talking about one of his ex-colleagues I had run into recently.

That started him talking about another ex-colleague who had turned vegetarian in preparation to become a Buddhist monk. But that wasn’t the thrust of his spiel. Instead it was about the good value and service of the $25+++ set lunch served by Seven on Club.

He extolled Seven on Club for being so service oriented that it was prepared to cobble together a vegetarian set lunch for his ex-colleague, even though it wasn’t part of the daily deal — and charged nothing extra for it.

Besides making me want to visit Seven on Club sooner rather than later, HTK’s story also caused me to think about the vegetarians and semi-vegetarians I’ve known, who took their meatless route for different reasons.

There was my dad. He became a vegetarian when he was 19 and according to family folk lore for no reason than that he fell sick every time he ate meat. And so he continued his meatless regime till he passed away at 87.

Then there is this friend from Kuala Lumpur who made a vow to go vegetarian for life if her desperately sick older sister could survive her heart operation. Her sister did and my friend has been a staunch vegetarian for over a decade now.

A new young friend who came into my circle recently — via the chair yoga class — is also a vegetarian.

She’s a jet-setting professional who just returned from a 3-month working stint in a Namibia manufacturing operation. She’s healthy and full of life and when asked whether vegetarian food was available in South Africa (I’m quite suaku), declared it wasn’t a problem at all.

And of course there is my old school mate, the indefatigible Betty Khoo — mother of motivation guru Adam Khoo and also best selling author of the Cancer Cured and Prevented Naturally book.

She has in recent years gone vegetarian, for the environment and health, though I don’t think she’s as strict about it being a wholly non-meat meal at all times.

A close relative of mine who after a family tragedy a couple of years ago has gone vegetarian too but, like Betty, not in a fussy way. Eat vegetarian whenever he has control over his meal.

A long-time Indian friend is vegetarian for a few days every week. He reminds me of the time when my mum ran a hair-dressing business. She and her staff used to go vegetarian for 10 days every month, and in certain months — the 3rd, 6th and 9th month according to the Lunar calendar, if I remember correctly.

In those days, staff were given board and lodging as part of their employment package. So some workers who weren’t into vegetarianism used to complain that that was a cunning way for the boss to save on her workers’ food bills.

Of course that was decades ago when veggies were cheap and meat expensive. Now both run neck and neck!

Generously feted again

by those two friends (who asked not to be named) whose Chinese New Year dinner some three months ago I wrote about here.

These are two friends who continue to remember all the special occasions, whether we work together any more or not; whether I’m able to contribute to their business or social orbit or not.

Last year it was to the Cathay Restaurant which is their perennial old fav. They celebrated my very special occasion for me there with gusto; and as always our get-together ended  with a good bottle of drinkies handed to me with best wishes when they dropped me home.

Special occasions always roll round only once a year and so on Monday, they hauled me off for dinner — this time to Pietrasanta, the Italian restaurant at Portsdown Road which continues to draw the crowds, despite being off the beaten path and Italian restaurants sprouting in Singapore like mushrooms after rain.

They had taken me there on another occasion and I thought I had posted about it but maybe not, since a search of this blog didn’t turn up that post.

This time, I post haste to post  be4 layers of other celebratory meals bury my memory and enjoyment of the Pietrasannta meal.

a pizza to live for: heavy with parma ham resting on a bed of rocket

all mine to bite into!

We also had halibut enrusted in herbs; the black squid ink pasta with crab meat (which, like parma ham pissa, is a Pietrasanta special) and a large garden salad. After which we managed only to share a slice of solid white chocolate cake with a heavy dusting of powder chocolate.

This is because portions are super-generous at the restaurant, with perhaps the black squid ink pasta. The tastes are robust and rustic and the setting homey, with mainly Ikea furniture. The kindly service from boss to the various waits makes one think one is at an old and good friend’s home: hence, one tends to gorge a bit on the early dishes so that when it comes to dessert, there’s usually little room!

Perhaps that explains why the dessert list is a bit limited compared to its extensive menu of all the dishes that go be4!