When veteran Italian chef Gabriel Fratini gave up the DOMVS restaurant space at Sheraton Towers months ago, many lamented the loss of the hallowed Italian dining institution that’s been opened since 1985. Luckily, the man behind the ‘grande dame’ returned with another concept — one more intimate and casual – and this time, on Amoy Street.
The menu at Solo Ristorante is comparatively smaller, and while Fratini has since left the restaurant to work on other projects, he’s left it in the good hands of Olindo Donadio, who has worked with great chefs like Giorgio Locatelli in his Michelin-starred restaurant Locanda Locatelli, and later with the Disney cruise line – famous for its top-quality food. An open kitchen occupies the first half of the 40-seater shophouse space, where there are a number of counter seats for better interaction with the kitchen team. A chalkboard above lists the week’s specials, from angel hair pasta with Boston lobster in cherry tomato sauce to grilled tiger prawns served with an orange salad.
Donadio’s cooking style is also shaped by many years in some of France and Spain’s most talked-about Italian restaurants. Opt for an omakase-style degustation special (three-course lunch for S$58 or eight-course dinner for S$98), which includes tasting portions of the chef’s daily seafood catch, butcher’s cut, special pasta, and desserts, or just order off the menu. Even the à la carte dishes aren’t set in stone, rotating regularly according to the season’s peak ingredients.
Any self-respecting Italian restaurant should have a good Burrata (S$28), and Solo doesn’t disappoint. Their cheese is heavenly, the delicate creaminess balanced by gentle acidity from some fine 20-year-old balsamic vinegar, roasted asparagus, and nutty parma ham. Next comes a long plate of Polipo E Caponata Bianca (S$28) — octopus leg that’s first tenderised, grilled, and served Sicilian-style with a white eggplant caponata. Donadio’s version is slightly oily and intensely flavourful, relying on fresh plum tomatoes to brighten the dish.
Our mains arrive. The Orecchiette All’anatra (S$30) is yes, orecchiette, with duck and orange ragout. The pasta is firm to the bite and filled with a heaping spoonful of rich slow-cooked duck, its natural sweetness elevated with orange zest. There’s also Agnello Al Pistacchio (S$40), or rack of lamb that’s been crusted in a crunchy breading of toasted pistachios. Plated with spinach and limoncello sauce, the lamb is tender and juicy, and we’re told it’s a customer favourite here.
Solo is an Italian restaurant, so naturally most of the wines here are Italian — a small number being French champagne. With some 120 Italian labels available, you will see bottles like a La Tunella Sauvignon Blanc 2011, a lightly-spiced white with hints of honeysuckle, or the luscious Amarone Della Valpolicella Classico 2015, ripe with red fruit aromas and great complexity.
The latter in particular is good to pair with Donadio’s daily special dessert, a doughy Apple Pie that takes 12 hours to settle down after baking. More spicy than sweet with a soft hint of cinnamon, it’s the best non-crumbly ending we can hope for.
Solo Ristorante is located at 45 Amoy St, Singapore 069871, p. +65 6260 0762. Open daily 11.45pm – 2pm, 6pm – 10pm.