The new multi-concept Monti restaurant is like that hot Italian guy dressed in a sharp suit. He is good looking and stylish, but his moves are oddly boring and a little too slick. The new Italian concept takes over Catalunya (the Spanish fine dining establishment once fronted by the alumnus of El Bulli) at the iconic Fullerton Pavilion dome. The breathtaking Marina Bay view remains the same, but interiors have been remodelled to boast rich jewel-tones, velvet furnishings, geometric hand-painted murals, and polished copper bartops. Executive chef Luigi Calcagno plates up sophisticated versions of regional Italian cuisine. Come for dinner and drinks, and stay on to party till the wee hours as the place transitions into a nightspot with live DJ sets.
To accompany our breads, there are three types of olive oils (from Liguria, Italy) available at every table: fruity with slightly spicy notes of wild vegetable, aromatic with medium fruity overtones, and bitter and spicy with notes of artichoke and unripe tomato. There is one for every type of palate— Goldilocks would be pleased.
Is it worth it to pay thirty-five dollars for a plate burrata with Culatello cured ham and hand-torn basil leaves? Absolutely, when the burrata tastes like soft, fresh cream. This simple appetiser was easily one of our favourite dishes of the evening. The Burrata cheese from Andria, Puglia, is flown in twice a week.
The Venere ($38) features sauteed Black Venus rice, purported to be the most expensive rice in the world, had a nutty flavour and texture that reminded us of slightly uncooked black glutinous rice. It is served with squid ‘pasta’ in pancetta and chilli.
The Invertiti Ravioli pasta ($34) or what I like to call Italian ‘wanton’ dumpling is filled with wonderfully flavoured braised veal ossobuco, and enlivened with a cream of bone marrow lemon zest. A thin wrapper of tender dough (made in-house using Italian Mancini OO flour and organic hens egg) is cooked till perfectly al dente. Arranged along the edge of the plate, the ravioli resembled lily pads floating in the pond.
When asked for recommendations, the server proudly announced that this dish was highlighted in the Singapore Michelin website as a ‘dish to try’. The swanky Italian version of the ‘Surf & Turf’, the Signore Monti ($52) consisted of monkfish wrapped in Italian bacon (pancetta) served with Springtime ratatouille and rosemary sauce. Monkfish is sometimes described as ‘poor man’s lobster,’ and indeed, it does have a delicate lobster-like texture.
We visited on a day when an event was happening and the noise level was annoying—but we stayed for desserts anyway, and thankfully they didn’t disappoint. Venturing beyond predictable tiramisus, Monti also offers grown-up affogatos with Baileys espuma. You can also order the Prezzemolino E Mentuccia ($18), a refreshing and savoury combination of olive oil gelato ice cream drizzled with honey mascarpone and bits of fluffy parsley and mint sponge cake.
82 Collyer Quay, The Fullerton Pavilion. Tel: 6535 0724