Don’t go to Osteria Art if discussing matters in confidence. It’s packed, it’s loud, it’s what you’d expect of a popular osteria. But the buzz is just what sets the tone for bonding over a lunch of lovely plated but classic Italian dishes.
Ascending the short flight of stairs in the office block, one leaves the rush of Raffles Place behind.The beautiful bar with graphic tiles leads into the handsome dining room that is appropriate for either a casual business lunch or romantic dinner. Most diners appear to be relishing the three-course Power Lunch Set all for an attractive $35++ per head, but there are also options off the menu, and a meal here could very well start with seasonal offerings such as a white asparagus with poached egg and crispy parma ham.
It would be remiss to come to one of Beppe de Vito’s Il Lido Group of restaurants and not have a pasta, which they do to perfection. Except for spaghetti and linguine, all pastas are made in-house – from egg, Italian “00” and semolina flour, which are naturally softer in texture and bite.
Ordering a la carte, my dining companion had the spaghetti with octopus and nduja, a riff on the classic Naples o’purp affugat (drowned octopus). The octopus is slow cooked in a rich vegetable broth, before being grilled to a char on the outside, lends a smokiness to the arrabiata sauce. The spreadable salami, nduja, adds a spicy kick.
Another favourite is a twist on the Tuscan pappardelle with ragu. It’s a delicious melody of melt-in-your mouth pork cheek cooked in a rich stock for over 14 hours, that goes with broad, flat noodle. Perfection.
Complementing the food is a good selection of Italian and French wines. If one wants to splurge, there’s always the top-of-theline 1982 Chateau Lafleur for $6,000.
55 Market Street