Monday, April 19, 2010

Porta Porta: cozy Italian

with Eddie and Prof. Massi

Porta interesting name for an Italian restaurant...meaning door to door...its a bit unusual too...until we discover that the owner, an Italian chef married to a Singaporean Malay lady started as caterers...and suddenly, it becomes clear.

I first at at this restaurant some 10 years ago, when my office was just around the corner at Loyang. I returned recently to sample the delights when I visited foodie friend, whose office is around the corner at Changi North.

This cozy little Italian restaurant is a gem. Home style cooking done almost perfect!

Even the decor is homey and very tasteful. The entire restaurant perhaps sits no more than 25 pax. And for lunch, they serve only a set menu...choice of either seafood, meat, or vegetarian. Eddie elected to do the seafood, and both Massi and I went for the meat set.

We started with soup.

Eddie's seafood soup:

A hearty soup, with hints of fish flakes within the broth, and generous servings of seafood. I took a small sip, and it was delicious. Very good.

My soup was a beef clear soup:

Very nice too...a distinct beefy flavour. The level of salt was just right, and there was a slight tang which lifted the beef taste.

A plate of deep fried chicken balls were next served.

Clear winner! superb taste, and flavour. The exterior was deep fried golden brown...crispy, and gave way with each bite to a soft, tender ground chicken. Very good, almost good enough to return just to sample this.

Then came the Permier Plates of pasta. Eddie's clam spagetti:

Very fresh clams, stir fried with al dente spagetti in a white wine and garlic sauce. Very nice. The spagetti was true al dente, firm to the bite, and yielding to each chew.

I had the beef lasagna:

Very nice beefy flavours here. The sauce is just right in balance of paprika which gave the bite, the tomato which provided the acidity, and the beef which sets the base umami. I found the pasta to be slightly too soft, but other than that, I cannot find fault with the taste. Excellent.

The main course for Eddie was fried calamari:

This was an eye opener. A dish this simple has no business tasting so good. In my mind, this is an incredible simple dish to prepare...super fresh squid, lightly coat with batter, quickly deep fried...a slice of lemon. That's it. The secret is in the freshness of the squid, the batter's ingredients, and the control of the cooking to be just right...slightly crispy outside, but chewy...not too much, just right, and still very tender inside. Superb dish!

Massi and I had the chicken:

This dish was rather more complex. The sauce is a cream based me, tasted very rich, and must be rooted in Northern Italy. The chicken breasts were coated in batter, fried, and coated with the creamy sauce. The roasted, and lightly sauteed vegetables provided a counterpoint to the rich tasting chicken. I rather liked this dish too, but in all accounts, not nearly as special as the calamari.

Dessert and coffee followed. I was looking forward to the home made tiramisu, but the owner came and apologised that the batch just made is not quite ready, and served us some chocolate gelato.

A superb gem, still excellent after so many years of not visiting. I hear their black squid ink pasta is out of this world...this is the true style of making squick ink pasta...regular pasta, cooked true al dente, and a sauce made of cream and black squid ink. One of my favourites, and not quite so easy to find a good example in Singapore, so I will be back to sample this another time. Served only during dinner.

Porta Porta
971 Upper Changi Road North
6545 3108
Tue–Fri: 12pm – 2pm, 6.30 – 9.30pm
Sat–Sun: 6.30pm – 9.30pm

No comments: