And that vital component is often missing in Italian joints found in Singapore. Far too often, Italian cafes and trattorias push out dishes by the numbers with nary a thought about the soul of Italian cooking.
Save for a rarified few in Singapore, Italian fare in Singapore is often reduced to a pedestrian mill of endless pastas and risottos that lack heart in their presentation and in their execution.
Capri is none of these. In fact, stepping into the comfortably sized eatery along Binjai Park, you will be forgiven to think you have been transported away to an Italian bistro in the south of Italy.
Warm decors and lights fill the spacious restaurant that will look more homely than forbidding. Beautiful pictures of Italian landscapes adorn the wall and the beautiful smell of Italian herbs will draw you further into its classic Italian charm.
Then, there is Fabrizio. The owner who is a superb cook on his own, runs the front of house with the charisma and friendliness of a classic Italian host. Chatty, humorous and always engaging, it is an experience just to be in his presence.
|Homemade Pizza Bread|
You always start an Italian meal with homemade bread and an excellent olive oil dip. The pizza bread was so aromatic and fresh that you knew it was wonderful even before you could even break the bread.
A classic Italian appetiser of home-cured cold cuts with aged cheese and rocket salad. Finished off with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and sundried tomatoes, this was a refreshing dish to begin with.
The pancetta was perfectly cured and full of beautiful meat flavours that will make your palate dance with joy. Classic simplicity that is warm and delicious without any extra pretensions.
|Gamberi e Cappesante Alle Erbe|
Seafood lovers will rejoice at this hearty and tangy dish of beautifully sautéed shrimp and scallops. Presented beautifully on a bed of sundried tomatoes and olives, there was a light and slightly tangy sauce to coat all the ocean protein that brought such a refreshing balance to the entire plate.
A couple sprigs of herb to perfume the dish was all that it took to perfect this beautiful dish. Full of the flavours of the sea, the freshness of the produce and the straightforward but immaculate cooking elevated everything else into a perfect culinary kaleidoscope.
|Cannarozzi Allo Zafferano|
After enduring the umpteenth time of horrifying versions of Carbonara elsewhere, it was a welcomed sight to see an Italian classic done right and as it should be. Not exactly a carbonara per say, but a heady and rich concoction of smoky bacon in a creamy ricotta sauce that had been laced with a touch of saffron.
Extra shavings of parmesan are sprinkled atop the tube like pasta and the dish was an utter delight. The savouriness of the bacon beautifully countered the richness of the cream and ricotta, but it never went too far with the cream and managed to retain a healthy balance of richness and savouriness.
|Pasta Riccia All'nduja|
Capri is committed to bringing different regions of Italian cuisine to its diners, and one of the lesser known southern regions of Italy has a lot of spicy and fiery dishes that spices lovers here will enjoy.
Homemade pasta is tossed with the nduja sauce that is a mix of pork, garlic, chilli flakes and olive oil. The resultant dish is a hearty and feisty dish that will challenge your tolerance for spicy food but will equally leave you entranced with the delicious meaty flavours of the pork and seasonings.
|Cacciucco Alla Livornese|
A classic Tuscan dish that reminded me of a bouillabaisse with its scarlet coloured broth and heaps of fresh seafood. The sharper tones of the tomato sauce with a more Italian influenced herb base stood out from its French counterpart, and again it was another hearty and comforting dish that is perfect on a cold, rainy night.
Coupled with more home made bread to dunk into the rich and flavourful broth, it is one of those dishes that makes you feel the immense passion and soul that has gone into its creation and execution. More than just simply delicious, it is exquisite and heartwarming.
|Homemade Lemon Cake with Cream|
As for desserts, nothing beats a homemade Italian cake that was made with pure lemons and a touch of Limoncello liquor. The pastry was perfectly light and moist and the flavours beautifully judged. Not too sweet nor too sharp, the natural flavours of lemon wondrously accentuated and thoroughly appreciated by this reviewer.
The prices here are very friendly too, considering the pedigree and the quality of the food that is being served up. But even if it's pricier, I would have gladly part my money on this establishment.
Fabrizio is a such a charming and passionate host that you could feel his every enthusiasm resonating throughout his restaurant. The food is undoubtedly classic and exemplary. and it is the kind of fare I crave for these days.
It is also a lesson that other eateries should take heed from. Stop all these nonsense with fusion fare like bananas and sous vie eggs on burgers etc. Stick to the classics first before you innovate. If you can get the basics nailed down, then you can start to introduce newer and bolder concepts.
As for Capri, there is no need to innovate. What works beautifully here is the adherence to classic Italian philosophies and integrity. Fresh produce, faultless execution and infinite passion are the order of the day. Capri has all of these, and it is your privilege to dine here.
Capri Trattoria & Pizzeria
3 Binjai Park