When it comes to pizza, make ours Japanese. When you have a breed of chefs who consistently beat natural-born Italians (and other cuisines they put their mind to) at their own food game, it’s really a no-brainer decision. And when Trattoria Pizzeria LOGIC dangles a past winner of the Napoli Pizza World Championship as the star attraction of this new joint in Craig Road, we are soon at its door, wielding photos of a classic Margherita enjoyed in Tokyo, ready to compare – or despair.
Granted, Trattoria Pizzeria LOGIC is not something that would win the Napoli World Championship of appropriately named restaurants. It sounds more like a rice cooker with heating functions powered by fuzzy logic, not a successful chain of pizza joints that originated in Osaka.
While the champion himself – Junichi Shuji aka 2012 world champion, so they tell us – only made an appearance in the first week, he now leaves the pizza-making in the hands of his protege, Jun Takeguchi. He’s the one we see patting his little balls of dough into flat discs and popping them into the blazing wood-burning oven that sits almost discreetly in the kitchen of the spacious restaurant located right beside the long-standing Spanish restaurant Binomio.
The presence of a good number of Japanese customers bolsters our confidence as we scan the menu of both tomato and “white” pizzas, as well as a decent selection of pastas and appetisers crafted by fellow chef Atsushi Terashima. Together, they’re a solid tag team that delivers robust Italian classics with their usual Japanese flair.
We’re not expecting much from the appetisers but the bar is raised when the S$20 plate of assorted antipasto delivers a good value mixture of shaved prosciutto and San Danielle ham, a big ball of buratta cheese, mound of lightly pickled zucchini and a handful of bouncy cold shrimp tossed in a garlicky and chunky broccoli-potato pesto. While we’re more used to lethargic cold cuts and frigid bruschetta, the combination of freshly sliced pink cured hams, perky shrimp and clean creamy cheese add up to the equivalent of a good mood.
Same too with tender-springy ox tongue slices that swim in a baby claypot of sizzling oil that strangely isn’t at all greasy, thanks to the little cherry tomatoes that have exploded from the heat and released its fruity juices to infuse the oil with.
The litmus test arrives – Margherita DOC (S$26) – an impressive flat wheel of dough with requisite puffed edges surrounding the creamy pool of buffalo mozzarella, crushed tomato base, speckled with extra cherry tomatoes and a sprinkle of basil leaves.
If you want to be super picky and compare the puffed edges with that of a Tokyo pizza joint, we’d say the chef here is gentler with the dough. It’s just slightly more dense, without the vicious blistering and puffiness that we prefer. But it’s still very enjoyable – offering the assurance that this is a good standby until your next trip to Tokyo.
Pastas are also prepared with a deft hand. The evening’s special of aglio olio with Shirasu or white bait (S$20) shines with its coating of emulsified olive oil, pasta water and dashi, with a good kick of garlic and chilli. A generous amount of tiny little fish are tangled among the strands for added heft.
If you have extra room, pack in a Quattro Funghi (S$20) and give your jaw a gentle workout as you tear into the yielding pizza dough that’s a mushroom fantasy of mixed fungi and smoked mozzarella.
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Desserts are no afterthought either, as tiramisu (S$10) is the real McCoy – unadulterated sponge soaked in brandy, enveloped in clouds of cream and dusted with cocoa powder. Almond ricotta cake (S$12) is light and sugee-like with a grainy yet moist texture, with a whipped ball of ricotta on top.
It’s a strong start for what’s essentially a chain restaurant, but it does fulfil the general perception that Japanese-led eateries will always have a minimum standard. As long as they maintain this standard and tweak the dough for maximum puff and chew, there’s no reason why Trattoria Pizzeria LOGIC can’t be the go-to stop for your Neapolitan pizza fix. As its name spells out, it’s a perfectly logical conclusion.
Trattoria Pizzeria LOGIC, 20 Craig Road #01-03, Singapore 089692. Tel: 6226 2250