Traditional Vegetarian Italian at its Best – Radici Italian Restaurant at Tanjong Pagar: Review
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Radici means roots in Italian. A newly relaunched Italian restaurant in Tanjong Pagar, it is indeed an ode to its name. From the brick walled interior, to the menu options and choice of ingredients, the restaurant is rooted in traditional Italian simplicity and authenticity.
In fact, my meal here transported me back to Florence where Italian vegetarian is not limited to merely Arabiatta and Spaghetti Aglio Olio, but makes use of a variety of different vegetables; colourful and flavourful.
The setup at Radici is very upscale, yet down to earth with brick walls and an open bar. It is located bang in the middle of Tanjong Pagar where all the action is. The best part is that while the menu appears concise, I was told that almost everything can be customised to be vegetarian / vegan and the chef is happy to even create dishes not on the menu.
We started with a traditional Parmigiana Di Melanzane (S$18). Eggplant and tomato sauce is one of my favourite combinations, and this rendition of the dish is beyond brilliant – perfectly baked layers of Eggplant, Mozzarella and homemade Tomato Sauce with a hint of Basil come together beautifully. What stood out for me was the moistness and balance in the layers; nothing overpowering and with just the right amount of sauce. This is a definite must-try dish here.
Next up was the Insalata di Spinaci (S$16), and did we enjoy it! This is one super-fresh bowl, and delicious at that. Crisp Baby Spinach leaves are brought together with Fresh Figs, Roasted Walnuts and delicious smoky Ricotta shavings, all tossed together in a light dressing. A nice and light way to dive into a heavy meal.
While the starters were fabulous, the main course bowled me over further. The two dishes we had were simply superb. The Risotto alla Zucca (S$26), a traditional Italian favourite, is Italian rice slowly cooked with fresh pumpkin purée and topped with Broccolini and Mascarpone. Creamy, warm and cooked just right, this risotto was everything I could have asked for, and more. This delicious dish scored big points with me and will definitely have me coming back again.
Accompanying the rice for the mains was the house special, Penne alla Bietola e Pesto (S$20). Beet burgers I’ve had one too many, but Beet Pesto, now this was an absolute first. The bright red pesto concocted with Beetroot, Light Cream, Parmesan and Dry Ricotta was a treat not just for the tastebuds but also for the eyes. With a hint of walnut for texture and cracked black pepper for spice, this dish is a novel combination of ingredients and flavours. I had it with Penne Pasta (eggless). If you are looking to taste something different, this is the dish to go for.
Last up, the pizza – made with handmade dough and baked in a brick-lined oven, straight on an authentic pizza stone. I requested for a half and half of a Vegeteriana (Zucchini, Eggplant, Mushrooms) and a Funghi Porcini e Mascarpone (Mozzarella, Porcini Mushrooms, Mascarpone, Truffle Oil.) While the Vegeteriana had a tomato sauce base, the latter is based on a white sauce. Both are good options if you are looking for a classic favourite. There is a really nice bite to the crust and the pizza comes nicely done. I can also vouch that the pizzas stay well as leftovers and re-heat nicely for next day’s lunch.
Other noteworthy vegetarian items on the menu include Radici’s homemade raviolis and fettuccine and assortment of cheeses. Radici also does a lunch special with a ‘1 for 1’ on an assortment of main course pizza and pasta dishes.
All in all, if you are looking for a twist to standard Italian fare, a laid back ambience and especially if you have a large group with varied tastes, Radici with its truly umpteen options of customisable dishes is where you should be headed.
Radici: 27 Tanjong Pagar Road, 62216761 Singapore. P: +65 6221 6761
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Aruna Rao is a nomad at heart, always on the lookout for new adventures, be they related to food, places or experiences. A full-time working mother to 3 gorgeous kids, she’s lived in 4 countries and declares that ‘home is where her kitchen is’.