Bacaro = A traditional Venetian gastrobar, where people stop to enjoy a drink together with little plates of food (cicchetti is similar to the Spanish tapas, but think of it as a regional variation).
This idea of casual dining seems to be increasingly popular, with Morsi and Sorsi launched by Lino Sauro of Gattopardo not too long ago; and now &Sons by Beppe de Vito of il Lido. Opened last December in China Square Central, &Sons seems to already have a pretty strong following. I’ve been there quite a few times, and they are always packed to the brim. Then again, with a wonderful ambience, affordable delish cocktails, and absolutely stunning cicchetis, why wouldn’t they be?
Proscuitto di Parma & Melon (S$12++)
Proscuitto San Daniele, Pickled Pears (S$12++)
There are features that distinguish both kinds of cured meats. However my unrefined taste buds aren’t accurately able to decipher anything. That aside &Sons cures their own meat, and judging by their proscuitto they are really good at it. The pickled pears are an absolutely ingenious pairing, adding a tinge of sour to the commonly sweet and salty combination.
Burrata, Asparagus Cream, Hazelnuts (S$15++)
Lightly dressed greens, a generous portion of fresh and creamy burrata cheese, rounded of with grounded hazelnuts and a drizzle of olive oil – perfection in a plate. The quality of the ingredients lends to a fresh and appetizing dish.
Grilled Smoked Caciocavallo, Avocado (S$15++)
I was really surprised when I found out that what I ordered was simply cheese! Meaty and chewy, the caciocavallo was deceivingly similar to perfectly grilled calamari. The charred exterior gave the smoked cheese an interesting contrastive texture, hitting the simple ingredient up many notches.
Tagliolini, Crab & Nduja (S$9++)
For those who don’t know, I first fell in love with contemporary European cuisine after an amazing dinner at il Lido. I was most impressed with the pasta I had, which so happened to be their then Lobster Tangliolini. So this dish was an absolute throw back in time. Al dente noodles, perfectly executed sauce, balanced by slightly tangy crumbles of cheese. Wonderfully executed.
Spaghetti, Sea Urchin Carbonara (S$16++)
This carbonara perfected the fine line between decadent and overly creamy. All mixed up, the sea urchin cream just barely coats the al dente noodles. It’s like a good aglio olio, where the olive oil is just enough to make it really savoury and falling short of oily. With sea urchin being naturally creamy, &Sons achieved the perfect balance. Of course it also helps that there was a copious amount of crispy bacon bits.
Tagliatelle, Truffle Pesto (S$12++)
Wagyu Beef Tagliata, Salsa Verde (S$26++)
The wagyu was nicely seared and tender; a decent dish. Compared to the other dishes it was not much to scream about.
Baccala Cakes, Sea Urchin Sabayon (S$13++)
These entirely charred balls are actually cod cakes. Break into it, the fresh, sweet cod pairs wonderfully with the creamy sea urchin sabayon. It is odd though that it’s so burnt on the exterior; wonder if that’s intentional?
Foie Gras, Pumpkin Cream & Roasted Onions (S$18++)
An unexpected combination, this dish is yet another culinary surprise. The usual apples or citrus pairings are absent here; instead &Sons uses another textually similar complement. Yet it works. The sweet pumpkin cream and the roasted onions paired really well with the buttery foie gras.
Gelato – Pistachio (S$5++)
Creamy, fragrant and bold, this is the real thing. &Sons’ amazing Italian gelato is a must-have.
Salted Caramel Strawberry Jubilee (S$12++)
A rather ambiguous name, this is rather like an Italian’s eton mess: meringue, ice cream and strawberries all jumbled up into a sinfully delish dessert. The plump and fresh strawberries were the highlight. Not exactly salty nor adding a slightly burnt and smoky dimension, the salted caramel however fell flat. It would have been perfect if the salted caramel was more pronounced.
Raspberry Zabaione (S$12++)
A light custard, this classic Italian dessert is presented similar to a creme brulee. Flame-torched with handful plump tart raspberries, it is a wonderful way to end the dinner.
&Sons may be new, but being set up by people well established in the F&B industry it is definitely the new kid to look out for. They have recently launched their lunch promotion, offering wonderful pastas (a much bigger portion) at S$8. With the nice ambience, wonderful service and great food, it’s definitely a must to dine at if you’re around the CBD.
China Square Central
20 Cross Street