If I asked you about Italian food, images of pasta, pizza and risotto are probably the first few items that come to mind. But Italian cuisine goes way beyond the few common staples we have come to know and love.
A new F&B entrant, PerBacco, is a good place to get acquainted with the less popular dishes in Italian cuisine, or more specifically, Northern Italian cuisine. Located along the highly competitive F&B belt on Craig Road in Singapore, the 45-seater PerBacco hopes that its unpretentious, well-executed traditional Italian fare and 90-listing long wine list are enough to keep guests coming back for more.
Northern Italy dishes features creamy butter-based sauces as opposed to the familiar tomato-based ones from the South. Due to its proximity to the mountainous terrain, the Piemonte and Lombardia regions of northern Italy are known for its high quality cattle, which explains why beef stews and veal dishes are so popular in this part of the country. One of the recommended dishes include the flavoursome stewed veal cheek (Guanciale di Vitello Brasato, $34). The dish is marinated overnight in red wine and slow-cooked till fork-tender. If you’re not a beef lover, try the milk stewed codfish. The Venetian-Italian dish is slow-cooked in milk, onions and anchovies (Baccala’ alla Vicentina, $32).
The kitchen is helmed by Chef Marco Fregnan who is from Northern Italy himself. He has worked at restaurants such as the highly-rated Ristorante Ca delle Anfore, Ristorante Pizzeria “Da Valerio” and Michelin-starred Ristorante Gelliusin Italy. According to Chef Marco, his grandmother has a big influence on the flavours of his signature dishes.
PerBacco also puts its own spin on classics like the Gamberi in Saor ($24), a starter of sweet and sour prawn wrapped in parma ham and served on a bed of slow-cooked onions, sweet raisins and pine nuts. Another standard Venetian dish is the Sarde in Saor, prepared with sardines. Other starters include warm octopus salad (Insalata di Polipo Caldo, $22), Wagyu beef carpaccio (Carpaccio di Manzo, $19) and grilled vegetables and Mozzarella strudel with cheese fondue (Fonduta di Formaggio, $18).
One of the dishes we really wanted to try at PerBacco is the gnocchi with Gorgonzola and walnuts (Gnocchi e Fonduta al Gorgonzola, $26). The potato gnocchi are made in-house daily and served with a creamy gorgonzola cheese sauce topped with a sprinkle of walnuts for textural contrast. And after having some really bad risotto at a popular Italian restaurant at the South of Singapore recently, we are hoping that the classic Venetian green pea risotto (Risi e Bisi, $20) at PerBacco does not disappoint. The risotto dish is made from Acquerello Carnaroli rice from Piemonte and is cooked to al dente in a vegetable broth with green pea puree and finished with a drizzle of mint-infused oil. Other familiar classics include Tagliatelle with Beef Bolognese (Tagliatelle Fatte in Casa alla Bolognese, $22), Spaghetti Vongole (Spaghetti alla Vongole, $23), and Lobster Linguine Carbonara (Linguine alla Carbonara di Astice, $28).
For desserts, highlights include the Ricotta Cheesecake, $15 served with peach compote and Chef Marco’s signature Hazelnut Panna Cotta, $12, served with caramelised whole hazelnuts.
PerBacco, which means “of Bacchus” in Italian, pays homage to the mythical God of wine and merry-making. This explains why the restaurant carries a good collection of Italian and French wines from the famed Nebbiolo and Barbera grapes from Piedmont in the north. Other options here include wines made from Corvina grapes from Veneto and Sangiovese from Tuscany, to the lesser-known Montepulciano grapes from A’bruzzo. You’ll also find wine made from Primitivo and Negroamaro grapes from Puglia in the south of Italy.
“We seek to create an inviting, unpretentious and affordable Italian restaurant, marrying both the food and wine elements together in equal portions. Much attention has been paid to the curation of the wines which we have conscientiously selected and priced affordably, suitable for imbibers of all budgets and appetites.” say the owners.
For most value, head to PerBacco during lunchtime where they are offering a three-course lunch menu at $29.90 with coffee or tea.
Address: 20 Craig Rd, #01-03 Craig Place, Singapore 089692
Tel: 6635 7130
Operating Hours: Monday to Saturday: 12pm -2:30pm, 6pm -11:30pm, closed on Sunday