By: Katie Roberts
21/23 Boon Tat Street
Osvaldo Forlino is preparing tapas with fresh, air-flown Sicilian tomatoes and burrata cheese in a tiny hawker-style kitchen resplendent with Peranakan tiles. It sounds like a clash of cuisines and cultures, but in fusion-mad Singapore, it’s as it should be.
No Menu Bar is another independent venture for the chef who made his name at high-end restaurants such as Forlino. But this casual, open-air Italian eatery which opened in September, near his highly regarded four-year-old No Menu Restaurant, is different. The short menu of tapas, pasta, salads and several mains made with the freshest ingredients relies on Osvaldo’s honest, traditional Italian cooking – but with a twist, inspired by the hawker-style premises.
Osvaldo’s hard-working daughters, both of whom work in the family business, suggest a carafe of the house white: Gavi Valditerra 2011 (250ml $13, a bottle $38) – a quaffable wine made near his hometown of Giarolo in northwest Italy. Beer, cocktails and an extensive list of Italian wines by the bottle are available too.
Osvaldo brings us a selection of tapas ($12) and so begins a parade of tiny, flavoursome treats: Serrano ham and peach, homemade sausage with spicy tomato, a wicked mozzarella in carrozza, pan-fried anchovies with fresh capers, poached eggs with asparagus, ham and parmesan, as well as pizza (from $18).
The commitment to homemade, quality food is exceptional: Osvaldo makes his own salami and sausages. Every morning he and his wife make foccacia, cake, ice cream and desserts ($10); the crème brûlée and tiramisu (made without alcohol) are standouts.
Must-try dish: Sicilian tomato salad