‘La Barca‘, Italian for ‘boat’, was purposely so named in view of its boat-shaped indoor dining area. Owing to that, you can already expect the restaurant to be cheeky yet very intricate. The establishment does not only serve Italian fare, but also aims to produce a European touch, with the decor reminiscent of Milanese chic, and the chairs by a famed Viennese furniture maker, Michael Thonet. Helming the kitchen is Chef Michele Sorrentino, and together with other two Italian Chefs, they specialize in Tuscan favorites.
This October, the Make-A-Wish Foundation Singapore, in partnership with some twenty over leading restaurants in Singapore, is back with its Wish Dish Campaign. In short, this month-long campaign encourages the entire community to make a difference in the lives of children with life-threatening medical conditions. It is as simple as you ordering the respective ‘Wish Dish’ of a restaurant. Even though restaurants already pledge to donate a minimum sum of $3,000 to the Foundation, it works such that the more you eat, the more they donate. So if by enjoying sheer good food, you get to be involved in a charity, there is no reason to turn it down. La Barca Ristorante & Wine Bar has identified their ‘Wish Dish’ as the Traditional Fiorentina served with Roasted Potato, and Cannelini Beans with Sage & Fresh Chili.
Warm Chicken Terrine ($28++) :: While being served with Fried Quail Egg and Shaved Seasonal Truffles sounded exotic yet promising, it fell a little short in that it was a rather light dish as opposed to what I’d expected of fragrant and powerfully-flavored starter. It was nothing to yell about and it’s either the truffles were not laid evenly or that it was just not strong enough.
Warm Spicy Octopus Salad ($26++) :: Living up its name, this Naples-style prepared Octopus Salad is rich in taste. The broth that came along, with the help of chili, was sharp, which really helped in being an appetizer. And the fact that it chose to be warm rather than cold makes the dish just that more comforting for the night. Some parts of the octopus, however, were too soft for my liking. I like them to be springy, chewy but still able to cut through them after a few more bites.
Tomato, Mozzarella & Mushrooms Pizza ($24++) :: The pizza ranges somewhere between average to above average. I was still disappointed, and had expected a little more from this widely-successful restaurant. The melted mozzarella was perfectly done and was still moist on the pizza, and the mushrooms were fragrant and again, not over-cooked, making the entire pizza a very aromatic one. I thought then, the downfall had to be the crust. While its thickness was just alright, it had no wow-factor and was ordinary at best, acting like just another support of flour.
Traditional Fiorentina ($12++ per 100g) :: Well, having the need to document down whatever we’ve eaten, we had to have our entire steak presented to us (and photo taken) before the Chef brings it to the carving station for an open-door surgery. I say go with a 2 – 3 other friends, because there’s a minimum order of about 1kg of the steak (depending on the stock in the kitchen). The four of us had a kg but had no problem finishing it up despite the preceding appetizers and pizza and succeeding pair of desserts. It’s a Grain-fed Beef from Rangers Valley in Australia, with a doneness of medium-rare and marbling score of 4. It’s admirable the pride the Chef has of its food: a hot plate is placed on the table, just in case you want something more than medium-rare doneness. We questioned how the Chef feels when he sees someone using the hot plate, and he exclaimed that he would feel sad. I feel him, because really, don’t have your meat medium-done.
Dark Chocolate Tart with White Chocolate Sauce ($18++) :: Notwithstanding that we were already filled to the brim, we willingly and happily emptied the dessert plates. I especially love this tart; a good balance of crumbly tarts and smooth chocolate fillings, and of dark and white chocolate. I’m glad it wasn’t overbearingly sweet. A must-order.
The Little Red Dot ($18++) :: Again, the Chef aced it on their desserts. This name that we all hold so close to our heart, is actually of dragonfruit gelatine on lychee mousse and pistachio ganache centre, with almond cream sauce. It sounds a mouthful but they came together surprisingly well. The fruits used were definitely not your everyday consumptions, and thus coming across as fresh and brave. It tastes slightly tangy, but very smooth surface all-round like a panna cotta. Bet you don’t know, but Chef created this in conjunction with Singapore’s 48th Birthday earlier this August.
Especially if you are an addict of off the beaten track dining places, La Barca would fit your bill. I’m a huge fan of their desserts, and their steak, the ‘Wish Dish’, is just as reasonable. The ambience and furnishings are a check, complemented with perfect service.
A noteworthy mention to the 8 Days Team for generously agreeing to host all dinner sessions with the media for Make-A-Wish Foundation Singapore. The selflessness is commendable.
Special gratitude to Sue Jean, Pearly, Audrey and the 8 Days Eat team, and Chef Michele Sorrentino and the La Barca Ristorante & Wine Bar team for the hospitality and hosting the invited tasting.
Address: 90 Goodman Road, Block C Goodman Arts Centre,
Telephone: 6346 5813 (Reservation taken)
Opening Hours: 12pm – 2.30pm, 6.30pm – 9.30pm (Tue – Sun); 11am – 2.30pm (Brunch on Sat & Sun); Closed on Mondays.