- By "nice," I'm referring to somewhere that sits in between fine dining and smart casual.
- Somewhere that is kid-friendly but not too scruffy (yes, we could have left the Munckin at home but I copped out last minute - blame it on working mum guilt).
- Better if the restaurant was within the Orchard vicinity as that would fit in with our plans in the morning, which included an ultrasound and haircut.
- Japanese wasn't an option as we just had Sushi Kuu the weekend before.
- It had to be somewhere NEW.
By a stroke of luck, I chanced upon La Strada, which checked off our checklist effortlessly. From fine dining to trattoria, the mood was family-friendly but far from childcare-chaotic. And to top it off, the food was pretty good too.
As the focaccia is only available during dinner, we had a simple tray of baguette to start with. Warm and crusty, paired with EVOO and balsamic vinegar. Really hard to nitpick.
Starting off light, I chose the Hokkaido scallops as my starter. Half a dozen thinnish but supple scallops lay prettily on my plate, complimented by the sweet tanginess of rhubarb confit and crunchy endives.
[I HAVE NO IDEA WHERE THE PICTURE OF THIS DISH DISAPPEARED TO!]
The pork belly confit was a contender but I eventually went for the Black Angus striploin - can't say "no" when there's steak on the menu. Quite frankly, I was amused by the clumsy appearance but other than the tubby-ness, it was a comforting dish of meat, potatoes and carrots. Might sound plebeian but I relished every bite and the arugula pesto was a sprightly delight.
There weren't any alternatives for dessert but luckily I got something that was interesting enough. The orange fritters were a little dense but the whole ensemble with vanilla bean ice cream and plum marmalade was a merry dance through autumn.
While I went for the set, KW opted to go ala carte.
The portobello starter had his birth name stamped all over it. The portobello itself was fiercely battered and deep-fried, almost to the point of being burnt but to be honest, we didn't quite mind it. Plus half the battle was won with a beautifully cooked egg and crunchy bacon strips.
Saving the best for last! Creamily unctuous, I will continue to dream about the lobster risotto. Every spoonful of sweetish lobster and al dente risotto made me swoon with pleasure. It is incredibly indulgent yet utterly befitting of a celebration!
Not usually taken with Italian food (other than pizza), I could definitely see us returning to La Strada when we are feeling semi-indulgent.