|Home made gnocchi with tiger prawns and pesto Salentino|
You know what it’s like when you’re smitten with something – you think about it all day (and all night). And you toss and turn in bed, ruminating about its existence.
That’s how it was after I dined at Noti Restaurant & Bar (“Noti”) at Club Street.
No, I’m not infatuated with the northwards-depilated Toni Rossetti, chef-owner of Noti, who happens to be happily married to a lovely lady from Singapore. In case you haven’t heard, Rossetti last held the position of assistant F&B director with Grand Hyatt Singapore after a whirlwind 24-year hotel-culinary career that brought him from London to Paris, and then to Singapore, where he met his the love of his life.
But yes, I’m drawn like a moth to a flame to Rossetti’s hearty Southern Italian creations; not least his home made gnocchi.
Crafted with a recipe that has been passed down from his mama, who used to run a restaurant in Otranto village (Southern Italy) where Rossetti spent his formative years, the gnocchi, priced at S$26 a plate, transcends many others I’ve had.
Simply described as homemade gnocchi with tiger prawns and pesto Salentino on the menu, Rossetti’s gnocchi looks every bit as formulaic as any other gnocchi I’ve had. But the little pillows of dumpling take on a more defining persona on the palate – light yet yielding a gratifying bite that is curiously addictive.
The goodness doesn’t end with its light-as-cloud texture for Rossetti knows just the way to pack-in maximum flavours without the use of butter or cream.
“We don’t just boil the potatoes and knead them with flour and egg,” says Rossetti as he proudly fields his potato dumpling dish. “We roast the potatoes in the oven with olive oil, garlic and rosemary,” explains Rossetti, “this process infuses the potatoes with lovely aromatics.”
“Before serving, we sauté the gnocchi with prawns and an anchovy-infused pesto sauce made with basil leaves and garlic,” says Rossetti with a sparkle in his eyes. “It’s my sister’s recipe.”
“Growing up, we had abundant supplies of walnuts in our family’s plantation, we always use walnuts instead of pine nuts in our pesto sauce,” says Rossetti. “It’s what we grew up with.”
Before you dash off to replicate Rossetti’s recipe, hear him out.
“The extra virgin oil we use for cooking is harvested from my family’s olive plantation in Puglia,” says Rossetti as he points to the photos-on-canvases of his family’s olive farm that adorn the darkish brick walls of his restaurant. “It’s this olive oil that gives my gnocchi the unique flavour.”
|The black wing @ Noti|
|The white wing @ Noti|
To savour these delightful dumplings at Noti, be sure to reserve a table well in advance as the eatery fills up quickly even on weekday nights. As the restaurant occupies 2 units of shop house space along Club Street, be specific about where you want to sit: the “black wing” is more formal – if romantic – and features black-swathed brick walls, low lights and leather banquette seats while the “white wing” is decidedly more upbeat and casual with whitewashed brick walls blanketed with mirrors.
Noti Restaurant & Bar | 54 & 56 Club Street | Tel: 65-6222 0089
© Evelyn Chen 2013
Please note that the reviews published in this blog are sometimes hosted. I am under no obligation to review every restaurant I’ve visited. If I do, the reviews are 100% my own.