The Place When Chef Drew Nocente announced the closure of Salted & Hung, it surprised the foodie world. Fast forward few months later, Cenzo restaurant opened in the buzzing Club Street. Located in a charming shophouse, Cenzo is Chef Drew’s take on Italian cuisine with Australian touches together with AC Concepts (also behind restaurants like Kulto, Lumbre, and Kilo Kitchen & Bar).
Upon entering the restaurant, I was greeted by a cosy bar area, followed by the main dining hall which exudes a stylish dining ambience with a skylight over the space. For greater privacy, there is also a dining section right at the end of the shophouse space. The semi-open kitchen also allow diners to feel the energy of the kitchen crew while waiting for your food.
The Food If you are looking for a fine-dining experience like Salted & Hung, you will be disappointed. Instead, the menu at Cenzo takes on a more fun and causal approach as shared by Chef Drew where the dining concept leans towards sharing plates and communal-style dining. Bread & Snacks, Small Plates, Pastas, Mains, Vegetables and Desserts – there are a few dishes under each category and the best way to enjoy a meal here is to share the dishes (and calories).
From the snacks section, I started with the Pickled Mussels (S$12) and Parmesan Chips (S$10).
Highlights from the small plates include the Raw Blue Prawns, Wakame, Sourdough (S$25); Scallop Tartare, Radish, Apple (S$20); and Veal Tongue, Tuna, Herbs (S$22). The portions are generally good for sharing for 2-3 persons, and I do like the Wakame (seaweed) sauce with the raw prawns, which is also a perfect dip for the sourdough bread.
The veal tongue sounds exotic and adventurous, but it is quite an approachable dish as it is well-marinated with the herbs and mix of tuna.
If you love your sandwiches, then the House-cured Beef Pastrami Sandwich (S$22) will not disappoint. Crispy toast with a nice oozing cheese within the beef, that is a sinful but satisfying treat.
Pastas are homemade here at Cenzo and the Caserecci, Cacio e Pepe (S$22) is a simple presentation of the pasta with cheese. No fancy toppings, just a comforting pasta option to go with some white wine.
The Bucatini, Spanner Crab, Smoked Trout Roe (S$30) is a more luxurious pasta option which comes with fresh heaps of shredded crab meat topped with trout roe for an added burst of flavour. Expect an al dente texture for the pastas.
For mains, the Porchetta, Salsa, Celeriac (S$48) is a pork belly dish with a crispy and crackling skin along with tender and juicy pork meat. The celeriac helps to balance the richness of the pork belly, which can be a tad greasy.
For sides, I highly recommend the Roasted Cabbage, Macadamia Tahini (S$14) where the cabbage is soaked in a delicious macadamia tahini sauce.
Finally for desserts, the Panna Cotta, Lemon Sorbet (S$12) is a refreshing option which almost tastes like a palate cleanser after the series of heavy dishes. Of course, there is also the classic Drew’s Tiramisu (S$14) for a more sinful finish.
Rants It took a few moments to sink into me that Cenzo ain’t Salted & Hung. There is no more fancy presentation for sure, and if that is what you fancy more from Chef Drew, it is not the case at Cenzo.
Will I Return Again? A relaxed dining space in the CBD for some hearty Italian dishes with an Australian take on it. It is best to come with a group of people to enjoy the sharing plates concept and take on a variety of dishes. I would say, a charming new addition to Club Street.
This was an invited tasting, though all opinions expressed are our own.
Taste bud: 4/5
Hole in the pocket: 3.5/5
Overall Experience: 4/5
81 Club Street
Tel: +65 9155 8374
Monday to Friday: 12:30pm to 2:30pm; 5:30pm to 10:30pm
Saturday: 5:30pm to 10:30pm
Closed on Sunday
Ranted by The Ranter