Old Spaghetti House at Galleria

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Yesterday afternoon, after a day of running around trying to do job interviews and visit the GSIS office for my father-in-law, we stopped by Galleria on our way home to have dinner.  I wasn’t sure what to eat, but I was in the mood for something Italian, so my wife recommended Old Spaghetti House.  I’m glad we went.  The food there is great!  It’s not fine dining per se, but it’s well worth the money.

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I went with the Vietnamese garlic spaghetti with shrimp.  I’m not sure if it’s actually a popular Vietnamese dish.  It tasted really good though!

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My wife decided to have their puttanesca, which is translated literally as “whore’s spaghetti”.  There are conflicted theories about the origins of this dish, but the more colorful one is that it was a dish that prostitutes in Italy’s state run brothels made for themselves out of the odds and ends in their larders.  As a condition of working in the state run brothels, they were only allowed out one day a week, so they were often low on supplies and this light sauce made from few ingredients was the result of their attempts to get by.  More information can be found in the Wikipedia article.

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After dinner, I finally got the chance to introduce my wife to funnel cake.  Funnel cakes are popular at fairs in the US, but they’re pretty rare in Asia.  I don’t recall ever seeing a place with this on the menu in Singapore.  She loved it!  You can see in the photo that they don’t add quite as much powdered sugar as they do in the US, but it came with a choice of toppings which made up for it.

Speaking of Singapore… it seems like you can’t get away from it over here.  I found this stuff on the menu:

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I don’t care for the original Tom Yum soup, so I really don’t think I’d like the way it tastes as a pizza or spaghetti.

Pastamania at Downtown East – GREAT Service

This is just a short note I wanted to write to praise the customer service at Pastamania at Downtown East.

Tonight, we went up there to have dinner and there was a problem with the pizza I ordered.  Within a few minutes the manager came out, addressed the situation, apologized for the inconvenience and made sure that a replacement dish was made.

To follow up on that, he came back to let me know the pizza would be out in a few minutes and apologized again for the problem.

I was happy and impressed with the level of attention that was given to our problem.

When the replacement pizza came we finished our meal and then got up and walked out of the restaurant.

Surprisingly, we hadn’t gone more than five feet out the door when I heard the manager calling after us and running to catch up with us.  He said the problem with the food shouldn’t have happened, apologized for the extra time we had to wait, and that he hoped we’d be coming back in the future.  Additionally, he gave us a voucher for a free pizza.

That’s what I’m talking about!  This manager has a great personality and does his job well.  Pastamania in general has always had a great attitude in regard to customer service.  You can see it in how every cashier, waiter / waitress, and manager handles themselves.  Well, at the Tampines and Pasir Ris branch at least.

Despite there being something wrong with the dish I ordered, I’ll definitely be going back to the same location again.  Good service is worth repeat business.

Trattoria Italian Restaurant at 313 @ Somerset

A few months ago I was complaining that I hadn’t been able to find decent pizza in Singapore, but I think that quest has finally ended.

You may be thinking that Singapore has Pizza Hut, but that doesn’t do it for me.  Even in the US I think Pizza Hut is gross.  The stuff is just too oily.  You shouldn’t be able to see grease dripping from your slice of pizza when you pick it up.  I prefer pizza that’s lighter, where you can taste the flavors of the toppings, not just the grease.

So, I’ve been sampling around, trying to find good pizza.

We did try Pizza Hut once when I first got here but, besides the fact that it’s Pizza Hut, the servings are small compared to how much they charge.  It feels like a rip off for poor quality food.  Also, they have a lot of bizarre (to me anyway) topping combinations, but last I checked (which was quite a while ago so don’t hang me) they were missing some of the traditional ones that I enjoy.  They also didn’t have plain pepperoni.  They had chicken pepperoni (I think it was), but not the real pepperoni.

Canadian pizza isn’t too bad.  It’s like the Domino’s of Singapore.  It’ll do in a pinch!  Still, it wasn’t quite up to par.

We also tried pizza in the New York New York restaurant.  I was hoping that a restaurant named after a city that has incredible pizza would live up to its name, but I was disappointed.  It was incredibly oily and very bland.  The sauce was spread so thin it might as well have not been there at all.  I didn’t even finish it.

New York New York Restaurant’s Pizza

In the US, I’d gotten spoiled on great pizza from pizzerias in New York City.  Notably, Mariella’s.  That stuff is just good!  Good enough that it draws celebrities sometimes.  Plus it’s a good price.  For about 3 bucks, depending on what you order, you get a slice of pizza that’s so big you almost have to hold it with two hands.  Here’s a photo:

Mariella’s Pizza in New York City

When I wasn’t in New York City I would go for thin crust pizzas from Papa John’s.  Depending on what toppings you order, they are really good and the cheese, garlic butter, and marinara dipping cups you can get along with your pizza are great.

Sunday my wife and I were checking out 313 @ Somerset, the new mall on Orchard Road.  On the ground level just across from the escalator that leads down into the MRT station is a restaurant called Trattoria.  It’s very nice looking.  The decor is very well done and the menu looked good, so before heading home we stopped by to give it a try.

Getting seated was a bit confusing.  The staff is obviously new.  When we first walked in I asked the first person I saw if we have to go to the counter to order.  He directed us to a register.  When I got there the cashier asked me for my receipt.  I told him we hadn’t ordered yet and we were then directed to a table.

Complimentary appetizer at Trattoria

After that, the confusion didn’t end.  We ordered a pizza and two raspberry Italian sodas.  While waiting on our order, another server came by and dropped off a plate with a complimentary appetizer.  It was good and it reminded me of Italian restaurants in the US.  In the US you’re typically served a loaf of fresh bread and a type of butter while waiting for your meal.  Sometimes it’s plain butter, sometimes cinnamon, honey, or even garlic.  It depends on where you go.  What we were served was a bit different but still a pleasant surprise.  After we finished it a third server took the plate and a few minutes later a fourth server dropped off another plate of the appetizers.  I think they didn’t realize we’d already been served an appetizer.  I’m not complaining that I got something free, just noting that the servers were a bit unorganized.

Raspberry Italian Soda, before stirring

Shortly after that one raspberry Italian soda showed up at our table along with a receipt marked with one pizza and one soda.  I had to get up and tell a server that we’d ordered two, not one.  It took about 10 minutes for the second soda to be prepared, despite the fact that only four tables in the restaurant were in use.  The soda showed up at the same time as our pizza, but we never got our receipt back which made the check-out process a bit more annoying later.

Trattoria’s Pepperoni Pizza

The pizza more than made up for the questionable service.  The crust was thin and crispy along the edges, which is just how I like it.  A regular crust pizza gets you full on bread and you can’t enjoy as much of the sauce or toppings!  The sauce on this pizza is what stood out the most.  It tasted really fresh. It wasn’t sweet and they didn’t overdo the seasoning.  Typically I hate an aftertaste, but all the way home on the MRT I savored the lingering taste of that pizza sauce.  The pepperoni on the pizza tasted a lot like what I’m used to in the US as well.  The pizza was light, with a balanced amount of toppings and was a great overall dish.  I could’ve eaten the whole thing by myself and still craved for more.

I can’t really hold the shaky service against Trattoria.  It’s a brand new restaurant and the servers looked inexperienced.  They weren’t even serving everything on the menu yet.  Also, it was about 10:30 PM.  The end of the day is always kind of rough in a restaurant.  I’m sure that aspect of the Trattoria dining experience will improve over time.

That aside, the pizza was excellent.  The raspberry Italian soda tasted great!  I’m curious as to how their other dishes taste, but I’ll probably just go back again for more pizza.  Thanks for satisfying my craving, Trattoria!  See you soon!

Oh and by the way, the Vespa on display is a really nice touch!