The Place Offbeat is the new black. Enclaves like Goodman Art Centre that are situated in residential areas, slightly off from the polished streets and shops of the city area now boast as cooler weekend hangouts, quieter chillax places, and overall much more fun.
La Barca is one such place. Nestled in a corner of Block C in Goodman Arts Centre, this longstanding restaurant with Michelin-starred chef Michele Sorrentino will delight your tastebuds. Delizioso!
The Food We will never tire of good Italian food. Expect full-flavoured, well-balanced hearty food good for sharing from starters all the way to dessert, and enjoy a handpicked selection of artisan beers and wine. Chef Michele is entirely dedicated to sourcing for authentic ingredients from suppliers he personally knows in Italy, and is also famed for his frank outbursts of passion, sharing extensive stories about his love for food, and preference for specific ingredients.
Burrata with sliced tomatoes and ham is a staple for me whenever I dine Italian, and this time is no exception. This exquisite ball of creamy goodness is my idea of heaven. Sourced directly from a personal contact in Italy, this burrata is much lighter, creamier and delicate in flavour than any other burrata I have tried before. Co-owner David shared that this cheese can maintain such a unique standard because the milk used is only heated till 40 degrees, and is not pasteurized, thus maintaining its fullness of flavour.
Not done with this dish yet. The thin slices of ham are cut cold – machine cutting heats the meat and changes the taste, wisdom from Chef Michele – and is surprisingly understated, none of the biting saltiness I have become used to when enjoying this dish. Well well well. Guess who had three servings? Not me, I ate everything while you weren’t looking. #winningatlife
La Barca offers a tasting menu at S$100++ per person which has 8 courses, and the starters are just plain rad.
If you want to order the starters a la carte, Veal Tartare with Truffle Shavings, Mesclun Salad and Pickes served on Toasted Bread and Dehydrated Egg Yolk ($30) is a bold start to a full meal, giving that extra oomph while being succulent and juicy. A surprising dish for me, because I don’t usually go for tartare…Actually, I would have given this dish a miss, but I mistook it as vegetables. Happy mistake!
Whipped Salted Cod served with Potato Cream, Spicy Paprika Sauce and Filo Pastry ($30), which is whipped to unusually light perfection, and is gentle on the palate, a good start to wake your tummy up.
For the pastas, expect only the best. The chef’s handmade Fresh Homemade Tuscan Pici with Chef’s Pork Rib Ragu ($32) is chewy and great for that hearty scrumptiousness characteristic of authentic Italian fare.
You must eat the Fresh Homemade Pecorini-filled Tortelli with Parmesan Cream and Seasonal Truffles ($45). Like, it’s compulsory. This one is formed with layers of pasta cooked just right, topped with sufficient cheese to melt your heart, and enough truffle shavings to your delight. You must try this.
Another must-eat coming up. The Traditional Florentina Steak Served with Roasted with Truffle Sauce, Served with Roasted Potatoes and Sauteed Spinach ($22 per 100 g, for sharing) is a signature dish at La Barca. I genuinely scoffed at the prospect that we could possibly finish a total of 2kg worth of servings of it – so much meat! How to eat!
We cleaned both platters.
The beef comes from grass-fed and grain-fed cows specifically from three farms in Australia, and is painstakingly cut everyday by the chef. I cannot rave about this dish enough. Bursting with juice, brimming with flavour, and simply a joy that lingers and lingers. The hot stone slab means everyone gets to eat their meat how they like it. Have this alone, or with the truffle butter sauce. Amazeballs either way.
Finally, the desserts. How can anyone possibly live life without loving desserts? When the chef asked which dessert I liked…I pointed at the La Barca’s Traditional Tiramisu ($18), Citrus Custard with Brown Sugar Gratin ($18), Dark Chocolate Tart with White Chocolate Sauce ($18), Rum Baba with Custard and Whipped Cream ($18), Lemon Tartlets with Whipped Cream and Strawberry Sauce ($18), Apple Puff Pastry with Honey Sauce and Vanilla Ice Cream ($18)…Yea. Everything. Just accept the calories, and order it all. I promise you that you will not regret it.
The Dark Chocolate Tart with White Chocolate Sauce ($18) has luscious chocolate that is just sweet enough, with the delicate crunch of pastry that is kinda like macaron, and helluva good. Of the portions we sliced, I ate the paiseh piece.
Lemon Tartlets with Whipped Cream and Strawberry Sauce ($18) is superbly goody. There is enough tangy flavour to freshen your palate, and some dense biscuit to balance with chewy goodness. Whipped cream and strawberry sauce for the background sweet treat. All round winner.
Citrus Custard with Brown Sugar Gratin ($18) – I am no friend of fancy stuff, and its back to basics for this one. Part crème bulee, part panna cotta, this unassuming dish is as simple-looking as it is extraordinarily good-tasting. (Is that even a thing?) (Well it now is.) (Trendsetter.)
La Barca’s Traditional Tiramisu ($18), in its origins, had no alcohol. Imagine that! This one is from the very original of originals. Really, really, really good. Really. Did I mention really?
Apple Puff Pastry with Honey Sauce and Vanilla Ice Cream ($18) is so well-plated my heart died and went to paradise. This one is just the right amount of sweet, has both hot and cold, is great for sharing, and also quite a feat to cut. Expect some minor messiness, but a sweet sweet one.
Rum Baba with Custard and Whipped Cream ($18) may sound unfamiliar, but it is exquisitely plated and also really delicious, an apt punchline to an amazing meal. Part dense cake, part sliced strawberries, part well-paced cream, this one stole our hearts unexpectedly and brought it for a rainbow spin. #happydance
Rants As most items are based on truly authentic Italian food, you may find some of the items a departure from what other Italian places may have modified to suit local tastes. The bread soup wasn’t a hit with any of us three. For the Ranter, the dessert was also too sweet and full of cream for his liking.
Will I Return Again? Is that a real question?
Make your reservation instantly at La Barca here.
Taste bud: 4/5
Hole in the pocket: 4/5
Overall Experience: 4/5
90 Goodman Road
Block C #01-21
Goodman Arts Centre
Tel: +65 6346 5813
Tuesdays to Fridays
12pm to 2.30pm
6.30pm to 9.30pm
Saturdays and Sundays
11am to 2.30pm for brunch
6.30pm to 9.30pm for dinner
Closed on Mondays
Ranted by the RanBee