78, 79 Boat Quay
+65 6438 2482
Whenever my local Japanese friends welcome a new face or say goodbye to a repatriating friend, they gather to celebrate over Italian food. “Why always Italian?” I ask. “Japanese people absolutely love Italian food.” Everyone? “Yes, everyone,” they chime.
So it isn’t a complete surprise that Singapore’s first Japanese-owned Italian restaurant, L’Operetta Enoteca, recently opened its doors to a legion of excited fans. This sophisticated eatery is a diamond in the rough amongst Boat Quay’s dark pubs and local hangouts.
A former opera student in Florence and Verona, owner Katsumi Mizutani has a passion for everything Italiano. This is not fusion food. It is true blue modern Italian – yet prepared with the precision and dedication to fresh, quality ingredients that put Japanese food on the map.
Chef Seita Nakahara honed his skills in Piedmont, Tuscany and Sicily and delivers a risotto ($28) so good you’ll want to grab your spoon and scrape every last bit from the giant Parmesan wheel from which it is served. The astonishingly tender, baked scallops with aromatic butter ($28) are imported from Hokkaido (“scallops from warm seas never taste right,” says Katsumi). And the beautifully executed prawn fettuccine ($28) is infused with hints of curry spices – a nice touch.
L’Operetta’s mozzarella, olive oil and wine are imported from Italy, as is the flour used to create the chewy crust for their selection of 14 pizzas. This restaurant’s dedication to recreating authentic Italian is serious – the wooden pizza oven was shipped from Naples.
And you never know – if you catch him in the right mood, you may be able to convince Katsumi-san to channel his inner Verdi for a romantic moonlight serenade by the river.