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Restaurant review: Michelangelo’s on Jalan Merah Saga, Singapore

44 Jalan Merah Saga
Holland Village
+65 6475 9069

By night, Michelangelo’s is the brightest spot on the Chip Bee block, and not just because it has the most diners. It also boasts “the tree”, an iconic piece of greenery looming over the alfresco space, and wrapped tightly with twinkling fairy lights. The resulting glow delivers ambience in spades, helped by a recent refurb of the 15-year-old restaurant.

All of which is good news for me, since I haven’t taken the missus out for a romantic meal in ages. Perhaps fearing another long wait, she very quickly tucks into a starter of duck confit ($20), served with mandarin segments and port-wine syrup on a bed of bitey rocket. Equal gusto is given to a piquant spinach salad ($18), tossed with warm bits of bacon and walnut, and crumbles of feta.

We skip the page of pastas: they make for excellent reading, but we’re forever cooking pasta at home, so it’s time for something different. The name of my main, Quarantaotto, is Italian for 48. It refers not to the price (not quite: it’s $40), but to the number of cooking hours invested in this fantastic dish of braised beef short-ribs. Eight boneless squares of stunning tenderness are served in a broth, with sides of rustic mash and mustard.

It’s proving a particularly meaty evening: the wife chooses harira ($28) as her main; Moroccan-style lamb shank that tumbles off the bone and into a stew of tomatoes, lentils and spices.

Thanks to these robust dishes – and a good splash or two of Chianti – we’re forced to wave away the dessert menu. Michelangelo’s tiramisu and lemon-tree tart will have to wait until next time (which, my wife suggests in a tone that sounds perilous to ignore, should be sooner rather than later).