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I’m going to let you in on a little secret. Did you know when you go to an Italian restaurant here in Singapore, at least 90% of the time the pasta you order will have been pre-made by about one of five companies? Frozen pasta! Have you ever wondered what REAL Italian pasta tastes like, freshly made? Cooked by Italians, served in a restaurant run by Italians? Then you need to head on down to the Singapore river and check out Cugini Restaurant & Lounge Bar.

Aside from having one of the coolest intimate lounge bars, they also serve up some seriously delicious Italian cuisine. I popped in one quiet Saturday afternoon and met two of the owners, cousins Gerri Sottile and Mauro Muroni and discovered this new fashion concept restaurant can really dish it out.

Feeling a little hungry and wanting to whet my appetite, I opened a bottle of Chianti Reserve, Chianti being a must-have with any decent Italian meal. The starter was a good sign of what was to come, a Beef Carpaccio with Truffle Oil and Shaved Parmigiano, and this is not your typical carpaccio, frozen and then sliced thin.

No, this was the real deal… thin strips of beef, pounded by hand until tender, the way it’s supposed to be made. Another starter I highly recommend is the Foie Gras with a Balsamic Vinegar reduction, absolutely delightful and savoury…

For a main, I sampled Fillet of Kobe beef with a Red Onion Marmalade, tender and succulent, almost as much as the Tagliolini (freshly made, I might add) with lobster and asparagus, each flavour a note in a symphony of taste.

The lobster was tender and I thought I’d tasted paradise until the next dish came, a rich Ravioli stuffed (pictured above) with truffles, potatoes, walnut butter and parmigiano, succulent and worth visiting Cugini’s for by itself, if it wasn’t for the desserts.

The pastry chef here is a man with a passion for his craft, and his creations would look better in a museum than a lot of what I’ve seen in the museums… If you’re on a date, bring out seduction on ice, the Semi-frozen Ricotta Cheese and Shaved Chocolate with a Citrus Sauce (also pictured above), topped with a caramelised sculpture of sugar that is pure artistry, guaranteed to be the perfect ending of a fine meal, and a great start to a long happy night.

Cugini Restaurant & Lounge Bar: Unity Street #01-27/28 (next to BarCelona on Roberston Walk), Singapore 237995, Tel: +65 6836 954, Fax: +65 6836 9785, www.cugini.com.sg

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