Summer sensations at Da Paolo
One of the most gorgeous meals I had lately came from Da Paolo Dempsey Restaurant & Bar, the new concept from the Da Paolo Group.
The bright colours and summery plating of the food delighted the eyes, as did the decor. It is a perpetual summertime vacation with olive trees, lemons and terrazzo tables.
The outlet features a restaurant, cocktail bar and retail space, so you can nip in at lunchtime and do a few things at once.
The opening of this outlet coincides with the group's 30th anniversary, which is an amazing achievement considering the volatility of the local restaurant scene.
The food, as expected, is unabashedly Italian, and there is much to choose from, especially on the carbs front.
The best carbonara I have had was at a small eatery in Rome, but the carbonara calabrese ($30) here ranks pretty high too.
I love that there is that touch of spice lurking amid the creaminess, courtesy of the nduja (a spicy pork salami) and the cracked black pepper.
The sauce coats each strand of the pasta, instantly giving it a sense of luxury.
This dish is a winner and one I'll return for.
The vegetarian option of tomato and burrata risotto ($34) is another winner.
Burrata cheese is one of the best foods in the world, and this creamy dish highlights it. The tomato sauce is just the right amount of tart to balance the heft too.
And although I do not have a picture of it, if you are a blue cheese lover, the gorgonzola ravioloni ($28) is divine.
Gorgonzola is a hit or miss for some, and it is not a pretty dish, but the explosion of umami when you bite into it is one of the best things ever.
The spicy lobster tagliolini ($36) is pretty and the flavours are what you would expect. But it is not memorable and does not stand out among the exciting offerings.
I'm not a big fan of the butternut pumpkin mezzelune ($25) because I find it too sweet. It does fill you up quickly, and the sweetness is more delicate but too persistent.
It's not all pasta here, though it is excellent. Give the pizzas a chance too.
The Spilinga pizza ($34) is a Naples-style pizza baked in a custom-made wood-fired oven.
The splash of colours is enticing, as is the savoury spicy-salty combo.
Less pretty but equally tempting is the eight cheese pizza ($35). The cheese selection changes daily, but when you get eight cheeses in one dish, the result is an umami bomb that leaves one craving for more.
At Da Paolo Dempsey Restaurant & Bar, one certainly needs to exercise a lot of self-control so as not to get knocked out by the amount of carbs you'll consume.