Laid back Italian gem
We have so many Italian restaurants here that some fall through the cracks.
I didn't know of the existence of Capri Trattoria & Pizzeria until I was invited to try their new menu.
The restaurant opened in 2011 and when Milan-born owner Fabrizio Anzolin took over in February last year, the menu was revamped.
There is nothing fancy about Capri's decor. It's a warm, friendly place that, to me, reflects the laid-back casualness that defines its cuisine.
Service is personal. Ask for recommendations, but I suggest you let the restaurant serve you whatever they want. I think Capri does seafood better than meat. And you won't go wrong with its pasta.
Mr Anzolin, together with his executive chef Domenico Truglia, has a range of dishes from different regions of the country, resulting in a menu that is interesting and diverse.
But what made Capri stand out is the obvious pride, passion and enthusiasm he has for the food.
The star dish at Capri is the Tuscan offering of Cacciucco alla Livornese ($28). The tomato-based sauce is a robust explosion of seafood flavours and the bowl is filled to the brim with mussels, shelled prawns, squid, clams, crayfish and cod. I ate this a few weeks ago and I'm still mesmerised.
I was undecided after my first taste of the Pasta riccia all'nduja ($25). I found the sauce too spicy and overwhelming. But after a few more mouthfuls, it mellowed out into this deep enticing sauce (made with pork, herbs, chilli and ricotta). It's not for the faint-hearted.
BOLD & BEAUTIFUL
Another example of how Capri does great seafood. The Gamberi e cappesante alle erbe ($20) from Venice has prawns and scallops in a blend of Mediterranean herbs. I am in love with the bold flavours - and it makes for such a beautiful picture.
LIGHT & BRIGHT
From Abruzzo in South Italy, the cannarozzi allo zafferano ($25) is a bowl of tube-like pasta in a saffron sauce, ricotta cheese and bacon. The dish, while light, is so yellow that it's like getting a bowl of Minions.
The only fail for me was the Cotoletta alla Milanese ($48). Three hundred grams of veal is lightly pounded before it is dipped in an egg wash, then coated with breadcrumbs and deep fried. After the exciting seafood dishes and the delightful pastas, this seems dull and heavy-handed.
WHAT: Capri Trattoria & Pizzeria
WHERE: 3, Binjai Park
WHEN: Tuesday to Sunday, noon to 2.30pm, 6pm to 10.30pm