Burlamacco (Singapore) by Gabriele Piegaia and Paolo Colzani

Setting

Interior of Burlamacco (Photo courtesy of Burlamacco)

Singaporeans love a good Italian (referring to food, not men).

Sussing out the good from the mediocre is a breeze. Set your sights on the men running the show – ideally a hot-blooded Italian chef helming the kitchen and a suited Italian with slicked back hair running the floor.

Burlamacco’s facade at Amoy Street

Enter Burlamacco, a Tuscan-inspired Italian eatery by Gabriel Piegaia (a Senso alum and former executive chef of Alkaff Mansion) and Paolo Colzani (former General Manager of Iggy’s and Operations Managaer of Garibaldi). After working their way across Singapore and abroad, this enterprising Tuscan duo struck out on their own with a modest 60-seat shop house space along Amoy Street last November.

Its moniker is a nod to a clown mascot in the town of Viareggio in Tuscany and Burlamacco’s setting takes on this festive theme  with hanging lamps in black and orange shades, walls adorned with colourful paintings and red banquette seats in an unpretentious space decked out in wood furnishings. To the right of the entrance, a glassed-in wine cellar houses 140 labels of Italian wines (plus Champagnes), Colzani’s pride and joy. If you want to knock back a few glasses at the end of a stressful day, Colzani is on hand to offer suggestions.

What to expect

Banking on Piegaia’s Tuscan heritage, Burlamacco serves up a menu of Tuscan classics augmented with pan-Italian favourites and these are enlivened with touches of contemporary flourishes.

Don’t know where to start? Like us, go the fail-safe way with Piegaia’s signatures peppered throughout the menu of appetizers, pastas, fish, meats and desserts.

Stewed beef tripe, a Burlamacco signature, is rustic and downright hearty

Chopped tuna tartare with avocado is equally delicious and deserving of a spot on the signatures

Meltingly tender stewed beef tripe (S$18) arrives doused in a piquant parsley-flecked tomato sauce with melted cheese and heaps of shredded carrot. Rustic and downright hearty, it’s one of my favourites at dinner but guests on a no-offal diet may wish to veer off Burlamacco’s signatures with the starter of mustard and Tobasco-infused chopped tuna tartare crowned with avocado (S$24). Suffice it to say that this tartare dish is deserving of a spot on the signatures.

Trio of gnocchi (purple potato, squid ink and spinach) in tomato sauce with Australian scampi is another winner

Pasta choices are abundant on the menu but if you ask Piegaia, he may steer you towards his signature, the Florentine-style squid ink risotto (S$26): a blanket of jet-black risotto enrobed in umami-packed squid ink and melted Parmesan topped with a gold leaf and luscious – albeit petite – chunks of lobster meat. Coming up soon on the menu is another winner: pillows of light-as-cloud purple potato, spinach and squid ink gnocchi bathed in a creamy tomato sauce topped with Australian scampi. It’s sumptuous save for the anorexic scampi that yielded only a sliver of flesh.

 

For mains, the signature list suggests a traditional Tuscan fish and seafood soup (S$38) that arrives chock-a-block with chewy bits of chopped-up lobsters, seabass, and cuttlefish, amongst others. The thick and robust broth is to-die-for but we would have preferred freshly cooked seafood that has spent less time steeping in the brew.

So-tender-it-cuts-like-butter beef short ribs on a bed of mashed potatoes drizzled with Marsala wine sauce

The signature meat dish of slow-cooked beef short ribs (S$38), on the other hand, is better than sublime. Piegaia cooks the ribs via sous vide for two days in a marinade of apple jus and other goodies. Completely tenderized, the ribs are briefly seared, then oven-grilled before being served on a bed of mashed potatoes. Finished with a drizzle of Marsala wine sauce, it leaves a lingering sweetness that complements the beef perfectly. We reckon this easily ranks among our favourite beef short ribs in town.

Semi freddo

For sweets, the menu suggests the signature tiramisu crafted with a recipe handed down by Piegaia’s mother. We had the semi freddo in caramel sauce (S$12) instead and left happy, if a little high from the wines that Colzani indulged us with.

Even then, we did not leave without a shot of homemade limoncello. It’s on the house from Piegaia and Colzani.

Gracias!

Burlamacco | 77 Amoy Street | Tel: 65-6220 1763 | www.burlamacco.com.sg


Photos are courtesy of Diana Kwek

For photo story, visit www.facebook.com/bibikgourmand

© Evelyn Chen 2013

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