inITALY Bar Ristorante by Mario Caramella

Setting

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Interior of inITALY
Since July 2012, inITALY Bar Ristorante (“InITALY”) has taken over the former space of Amo Gastro & Wine Bar at Craig Road, just steps away from the balmy Duxton Hill dining precinct. At the helm is Italian chef-proprietor, Mario Caramella, former Bali Hyatt head chef and, most recently, chef patron of Forlino. Since ownership changed hands at Forlino, Caramella has stepped down but instead of retiring, he is seeking greener pastures as his own boss at inITALY. For his maiden debut, Caramella has given the space a fresh coat of ‘distressed’ paint, put in place beautiful textured marble pillars and added heaps of glossy faux leather seats – all the better to give the restaurant a sparkle of rusticity. Yes, you will still see Amo’s sexy long bar upon entry, but this is now overhung with Caramella’s ‘vintage’ bicycles – whilst these may not add depth to the Italian décor, its Caramella’s way of welcoming you to his new roost, which also includes a welcoming alfresco dining space at the outdoor courtyard.
What to expect?

Squid ink linguini in a spicy toss with garlic, prawns and bottarga

Caramella’s signature of gran bollito

“I serve casual fine-dining Italian cuisine,” says Caramella, a Milan native, in reference to the affordability of his cuisine. Indeed, prices are alluring at inITALY where starters are capped at S$18, pizzas and pastas at S$22 and mains at S$28. But with Caramella calling the shots, you can expect more than just affordable prices. Ravioli di brasato (S$18++), parcels of beef-stuffed ravioli in Chianti sauce, is intensely savoury and a ‘must have’ Caramella fixture; as is squid ink linguine (S$18++) in a toothsome, if somewhat spicy, toss with garlic, prawns and bottarga. For mains, Caramella brings to the fore well-made – though rarely seen – Italian classics like gran bollito (S$28++), beef, veal, chicken, pork and veal tongue with capsicum, carrots and potatoes in a robust meat stock served in a marble hotpot with a quartet of dips; and cotechino (S$22++), rounds of sliced pork sausage served with peperonata (stewed tomatoes) and balsamic vinegar. These, plus formulaic starters of chilled straccietella (S$18++), straccietella cheese crowning a layer of sweet and sour stewed eggplant, and rucula e raspadura (S$14++), lashings of rocket leaves with Italy-imported cherry tomatoes in a simple toss of olive oil and balsamic, put In Italy firmly on the radar for affordably-priced Italian fare that’s undeniably rustic. Did we mention Caramella’s one-of-a-kind Parma-inspired deep-fried beer bread served with a salsa verde dip?
inITALY Bar Ristorante | 38 Craig Road | Tel: 65-6423 0918 | www.initaly.asia

For picture story, visit facebook.com/bibikgourmand

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© Evelyn Chen 2013

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