I’m currently experiencing a food coma from a truly indulgent steak dinner, but I shall try and battle it while giving you a run down of the heavenly food I had the honour of tasting this past Monday afternoon.
If you’ve ever been to Italy (for the record, I haven’t), a typical trattoria would provide affordable local food in a casual and cosy setting. This makes sense to have the first franchised Segafredo Zanetti Trattoria café restaurant in the world set up shop here, in tropical Singapore. The weather makes for the perfect al fresco dining setting, and we sure do love our cafés. It also helps that they’ve consistently exceeded the high quality standards expected from the brand with the present café bars that are currently in business here.
This inaugural café restaurant abroad for Segafredo Zanetti Trattoria is located at Robertson Walk and feels very much like dining in an Italian piazza (i.e. public square). Their menu fits the dining experience you’d expect from a homely eatery, with dishes that come from closely-guarded recipes. Authentic Italian produce and ingredients are always used where it can be easily obtained, for the cooking process.
The café restaurant prides itself in its coffee, maintaining the same standards as the original café bars in Italy as well as offering locals a wide selection of bottled drinks and alcoholic beverages from well-known Italian brands. Their food menu includes favourites like pizzas, panini, pastas and risotto – all freshly made-to-order in the open kitchen. If you’re going for something a little sweeter, they serve tarts, cakes (also freshly made daily) and even in-house made gelato. With an extensive menu to please all palates, you’ll be glad to know much thought and hard work went into planning the dishes; 6 months’ worth of dedication, to be exact.
Now, all that sounds dandy, but how did the food really fare? Well, first we had a taste of their Zucchini Soup as a starter, made with fresh zucchinis and no added cream. This was a surprise for me because the texture was velvety smooth and I swore they added cream to thicken it up. It was good, not great, considering it was a little too salty for me. Next, we had a bite-size serving of Portobello Mushroom, baked with extra virgin olive oil, sea salt and pepper. I love that it you could taste the seasoning even in a very small bite, making it the perfect starter to open up your appetite.
Moving on to the mains, we started with Chicken Ravioli, made with handmade ravioli stuffed with chicken meat, drizzled over with a lemongrass, butter and sage sauce. The minute I bit into the ravioli, the warmth of the meat (hey, no dirty thoughts now) was a welcome and the taste of the lemongrass was definitely noticeable but not too overpowering. Definitely a great choice for a main if you’re going for something light. Next up, we had the Chicken Asparagus Risotto which is made with top grade Carnaroli rice, simmered with chicken and asparagus. The flavours and aroma of the risotto brought me back to homely meals and was something I would go for on rainy days or when feeling under the weather. Then the pizzas came in, with the well-loved Quattro Formaggi (meaning ‘four cheeses’ in Italian) and the Barzini Pizza.
Both pizzas were handmade with the former topped with Italian tomatoes, Gorgonzola, Parmigiano, Mozzarella and Provolone cheeses, and the latter sans tomato sauce, having instead a white base with mushroom, cream cheese, garlic and bacon. I only tried the Quattro Formaggi as I don’t consume pork, but it was enough to take me to dairy heaven (or some mythical place similar). I’m not usually one to order a cheese-only pizza because most places overkill it with way too much cheese and lacking in actual flavour. Segafredo’s version is served piping hot, with the cheese melted all through and stringy, with the taste of each cheese still detectable on its own, while packing in a harmonious blend of flavours. I have no idea how they do it, but they do it really well.
We then had a taste of their Anatra, which is fettucine with duck, olive oil, garlic and crispy prosciutto. I requested mine without prosciutto and it was enough of a delight for me. Not being an avid fan of duck, I’m guessing the olive oil and garlic balanced out the “gamey-ness” of the duck meat, making it an easy main course to polish off. Ah, but the next one, which was their Granchio Pasta, was my absolute favourite. I usually lean towards ordering tomato-based pastas when I’m eating out, and an amazing seafood dish would easily make me a happy diner. Their Granchio Pasta, with crab meat in Italian tomato cream sauce didn’t disappoint. The tanginess of the tomato peaks in that first bite, then the sweetness of the crabmeat kicks in, rounding off a mouthful with a great balance of flavours. I only wished we were served a full portion.
Soon after they asked if we wanted to order any choice of their coffee drinks, and I picked a chocolate, mocha iced coffee drink. To be honest, I was afraid it would be overly sweet and lacking in coffee taste, but Segafredo lived up to their coffee reputation. The drink didn’t make me cringe, which is the face I usually do when something tastes too much of one flavour (be it sweet, salty, bitter). It made me sit up, and sip a few good gulps before I commended the staff for their great hospitality thus far. Then it was on to show us how they made their gelato in-house FROM SCRATCH! 🙂
I don’t want to bore with you with the details but they definitely take pride in investing in heavy machinery and training their chefs well to make the best gelato possible. We even got to try some gelato as it just came out of the machine, like the ones they usually dispense soft serve ice cream from. It was so damn good, I could’ve just sat there with a tub in my lap and have everyone leave me and my gelato be.
It was definitely a great way to spend a Monday afternoon, and by the end of it all I was satisfyingly stuffed. Simon Seah, who holds the exclusive Singapore franchise for Segafredo Zanetti Espresso café bars was a welcoming and well-informed host who made us feel more than just a bunch of food tasters, and Nessi and her team from Flame Communications were great at answering any queries we had regarding the establishment. Overall, the food wasn’t at all pretentious, the ambience was homely and it was a very cosy dining experience. The menu’s price points are a draw too, with the average price for a single dish ranging from $12+ to $25+, which is very average if you’re eating around the riverside area.
Oh , and they are also one of the few eateries that sell cigars, for customers who enjoy them. I would definitely return here to try out other dishes from the menu, or maybe just come back for more of their Granchio Pasta. 😉
11 Unity Street
#01-12 Robertson Walk
Opening hours: Daily (including public holidays), 10am to 11.30pm
Tel: 6235 4049