Osteria Mozza

I really wanted to be swept off my feet.

It was a much anticipated meal. KC was back in town from Shanghai and offered to buy me a nice Italian dinner. In true food nazi fashion, I did my research and narrowed my choices down to either Osteria Mozza or No Menu. A quick toll on Facebook turned up a resounding “Mozza of course!”, so reasonably assured, I made the reservations.

We were a bit early so we had a quick drink at the bar first. Very good ambience, I love the dark wood d├ęcor and semi-dim lighting. The restaurant was busy enough to create a buzz but quiet enough for a proper conversation. They seated us at one of the best tables in the house – happy! The service staff were also very warm and attentive, full marks for that.

The wine list was intimidating. It was extensive yes, but fwahh pricey. Even though KC was buying and he asked me to splurge, I couldn’t bring myself to order from the menu. Instead, I (ok, very “uncool”-ly) requested the sommelier to recommend us a bottle of red under $200. He brought us a bottle of 2004 Gattinara, Antoniolo. Made from the same nebbiolo grape as Barolo, the wine had a nice nose with notes of almonds and cherries, medium-full body – quite a good choice for the food, it turned out, but eh, markup is too high lah.

After choosing the wine, we turned our attention to the food. They had served us bread (choice of white and multi-grain) but this was cold and unimpressive. The amuse bouche of ricotta on crackers too, was mediocre. Hmm, we hoped the other food would fare better.

We ordered two starters to share – the Grilled Octopus with potatoes, celery & lemon ($25) and the Bufala Mozzarella with prosciutto di Parma ($25). The octopus was nicely charred and soft inside, but though tasty, it was way too salty. I had to wash it down with a lot of wine and water. I liked the parma ham with the mozzarella - fresh and flavorful – we should have skipped the octopus and just ordered this because it was quite a sodium overload.

Next up, the mains. KC’s main of Linguine with clams, pancetta & spicy chiles ($29) was recommended by the waiter and it did look good when it was presented. Unfortunately, they were too heavy-handed with the spices and poor KC didn’t look like he really enjoyed it.

My main of Duck al Mattone with pear mostarda & corn ($55) fared a bit better. The serving was huge and I liked the nice crispy skin. The meat could have been juicier but the pear mostarda helped some. The corn was slightly spicy and I thought that gave a nice kick to the dish. I would suggest ordering this to share though.

I was stuffed after the duck but KC looked unsatisfied so we ordered the Piccolo Budino Caldo di Cioccolato with candied almonds & bourbon gelato ($17) to share. This was probably the best dish of the night. Then again, the desserts I had at the Pizzera the last time were excellent too – loved that olive oil gelato.

The bill came up to around $300, not as bad as I thought but seriously, it wasn’t worth it. I’ll be back at the Pizzeria but the Osteria just doesn’t cut it. It was lovely catching up with KC though, the last time we met was a year ago when I was back in Shanghai on business. Glad to see you doing well, Mr M