Dinner @ La Bottega Enoteca

November 21, 2021 in Italian by thywhaleliciousfay

Before Italian restaurant La Bottega Enoteca was born (in Joo Chiat), chef-owner Antonio Miscellaneo started off with his private dining outfit Casa Nostra (in his home at Katong). Oh yes… I had been following his pizza creations since early 2017 when my Instagram feed was taken over by pictures of his paper thin stretched pizza dough. Some even used the word ‘silk’ to describe its beauty. I mean, just check out Casa Nostra geotag on Instagram. It’s truly amazing.

But the thing about private home dining… Securing a reservation is a real challenge. There weren’t many slots to start with at Casa Nostra; Offered only twice a week. And even if one managed to secure a slot, the bookings were for big groups. I gave up the idea of being able to dine at Casa Nostra before leaving for my overseas work stint (in July 2017) because of the difficulty in so many forms.

But luck had it that chef Antonio planned to open a restaurant. It got even better when it’s learnt that his restaurant La Bottega Enoceta would open in August 2021. Such great timing cause it’s the month after I returned from my overseas work stint. Perfecto!!!

But it wasn’t until early November that I finally dined at La Bottega Enoceta. A friend, out of nowhere, mentioned his craving for good pizza. I suggested 3 places, and we eventually decided on La Bottega Enoceta. That’s also when we started stalking their website daily because there wasn’t much information of their reservation system. It was pure luck that one night, my friend visited their website shortly after seats were released for the following week. Yeah! And between the 3 seating options (alfresco, counter and dining room), we booked ourselves for the dining room and first seating at 5.45pm. And when we were making our reservation, it’s mentioned the table was to be returned after 2 hours 15 minutes.

With our dinner happening on a Friday night, I thought I would be winding down from work by 4pm. But it wasn’t so that Friday. Work dragged. I ended up bringing my work laptop from home, onto the taxi, and to the restaurant to continue a work discussion. Well… To be exact, I stood outside the restaurant and trusted my friend to make good food choices for our dinner! And I’m intentionally mentioning my pre-dinner hiccup because that made me better appreciate restaurants that spared no effort in decorating their spaces to create authentic ambience. No thanks to work, it’s no surprise that my mind was ‘everywhere but ready to feast’. But the physical act of stepping into La Bottega Enoceta which exuded rustic Italian street vibes, I left my work worries at the door. My mind switched from ‘work mode’ to ‘holiday mode’ as I felt I was teleported to Italy. And yes, we were told chef Antonio imported most of the furniture and decor pieces from Italy. Impressive.

While there’s 2 menus (fixed & a-la carte), everyone had to order the fixed menu. So we commenced our dinner (fixed menu), $139 with:-

(A) Dish #1 – L’Antipasto (above) – 3 options to choose from, we were to select 1 for the entire table. Among beef bresaola, pan fried cheese and porchetta, my friend and I went with the ‘Dolomitic pan fried cheese’.

  

(B) Dish #2 – SuperCrunch (above) – And for this, we could choose one flavour per diner from the 4 flavours. We went with ‘mortadella, ricotta, parmigiano reggiano’ (left) and ‘homemade anchovy, smoked burrata, tomato, aromatic herbs’ (right). But do read the menu properly as it would indicate if one’s given a slice or a bite for the respective flavour. And with my first bite, what struck me immediately was the crust. It was nothing like what I had before. Though I too admit my knowledge of pizza is (very) limited. Quoting what’s shared on Casa Notre website… “SuperCrunch is a one of a kind crust that delivers a unique lightness and crunch. The secret lies in the use of ancient grains such as “Grano del Miracolo”, high hydration, and a fermentation of over 48 hours, including pre-fermentation.” Indeed, the crust was light and crunchy.


  

(C) Dish #3 – Newpolitan Pizza (above) – Similarly, there were options for us. And for the half-half pizza, we went with ‘sardine & shallots / pachino tomato & parmigiano reggiano’. And the crust of Newoplitan was distinctly different from SuperCrunch’s. I really enjoyed this!!! Still light, this was chewier and less oily. Less oil also meant it wasn’t meant to be crunchy like SuperCrunch. And again quoting what’s shared on Casa Notre website… “My signature crust inspired by the Neapolitan tradition, but with my own techniques applied to it, for a completely different feel of airiness and lightness. The secret lies in “Tipo 0/1″ flours sourced from artisan mills, and my very own fermentation technique spanning across 72 hours end to end.”

(D) Dish #4 – Piatto Principale (above) – And among options of pork ragu pappardelle, sardines linguine and pork ribs, we went with ‘linguine “Pastificio Graziani”, wild fennel, sardines’. It was a clear choice for us to skip the pork ribs because we were ordering another meat dish from the a-la carte menu. Would have loved to try the pappardelle but I tend to steer away from ragu. Just a personal choice.

(E) Dish #5 – Il Dolce with options of:

i) Tiramisu (above) – Be careful with this! I scooped a really big piece with my spoon and ended up inhaling a large amount of the cocoa powder as I attempted to consume it. I ended up coughing. But luckily I had the sense to suppress it by coughing with my mouth closed. Else it would have been disastrous… That said, I had better tiramisu elsewhere.

ii) Pistachio semifreddo (above)

It’s unfortunate one could only order items from the a-la carte menu in addition to the fixed menu. That wouldn’t have been a problem if we didn’t have the COVID restriction of maximum 2 diners. There were a handful of dishes I would loved to try, but my friend and I had to practise much restraint as we were also pre-warned by friends that it would be a very filling meal. “Carbs overload”, they said. And from the a-la carte menu, we (only) ordered:


1) La Focaccia di Recco, $48 (above) – Stracchino cheese, olio extra vergine “stoica”. I really enjoyed how we were exposed to so many different types of pizza in 1 meal. And the taste of this somewhat reminded me of prata cause of its savoury (and oily) pastry.

2) Pluma e Capperi, $42 (above) – Iberico pork loin end grilled on the charcoal and served with Sicilian capers. They were certainly too generous with the capers. Judging by the amount given, I thought each slice of pork was to be paired with 4 to 5 capers. But that made everything too salty. Stick to 1, or maximum 2 capers. That would allow a beautiful burst of flavours in the mouth.


3) Il Tartufo della Bottega, $12 (above) – 2x chocolate truffles with Casa Gheller prosecco.

My friend and I left the restaurant very happy. It’s no surprise we were blown away by the food. Particularly the pizzas. And the service? It was top notch! We had so much fun. Thank you Summer!!! Summer certainly made our dining experience memorable; She brought to the table her high level of bubbliness and her undeniably joy and passion for La Bottega Enoteca’s food and beverages (Ask her for wines recommendation)!

So while the move from private home dining to restaurant meant more people had access to chef Antonio’s food, it also meant one could no longer experience the ‘personal touch’ that only a private home dining would bring. Although my friend and I were seated at the dining area, our table was just beside the counter. So we had full sight of the open kitchen. We noticed chef Antonio was running around the restaurant. That made us wonder if any of the pizzas we had were personally made by him especially since we specially came to try his creations. But! To give benefit of doubt, since my friend and I don’t have our eyes on the open kitchen all the time, chef Antonio might have been stretching his dough when we were busy eating. I guess to have a definite answer to that, booking counter seats for our next visit is a must!

And yes, I recommend La Bottega Enoteca. I got to admit my eyes popped when I received the bill as it was on the high side. But I say it’s worth it. How should I put this….. One could find a good pizzeria in Singapore. But to find one that offered so many types of crusts to enjoy in 1 sitting, that’s hard to come by. My friend and I were also lucky to have great staff attending to us which made our entire dining experience so enjoyable! Chef Antonio also came by our table towards the end of our meal, and that’s when my friend and him got into a very technical discussion. Yes, about pizza dough! They lost me with the ‘pizza language’ but it was definitely nice to witness chef Antonio’s passion. I only managed to catch some pizzas were baked at really high temperature. As high as 550 degrees!

Also heard La Bottega Enoteca will be changing their menu soon. Am definitely keen to know what’s in store! And a little more information of their reservation system… Please sign up for their newsletter. The staff shared it’s through the newsletter that they announce when they’ll be accepting reservation for the following week, with at least 1 day’s notice given.

LA BOTTEGA ENOTECA
346 Joo Chiat Road, Singapore
Overall: 8
Opening hours:-
Food/Beverage: 8
Tues – Sat : 18:00 – 22:30
Ambience: 8
Sun : 11:30 – 15:00
Value: 7
Service: 8
* Closed on Mon