Pizza is the Western roti prata. Don’t believe? Check out two-time winner of World’s Acrobatic Pizza Championship Chef Pasqualino Barbasso twirl and swirl at World Square (open space next to Palio Restaurant) for free from 29 Jun to 8 July at 5.30pm-6pm. In his performance, he will attempt to break his record by creating a 2-metre-wide pizza. (His current is at 1.9m.) The event is part of RWS’s Global Gourmet Kitchen to bring the world’s best chefs to Singapore every three months.
Highlights of Acrobatic Pizza by Chef Pasqualino Barbasso
There are also pizza acrobatic shows cum hands-on pizza-baking classes at affordable prices. For kids, 1, 2, 7, and 8 July, 3-5pm, $25++, including 1 medium pizza you bake. For adults, 29 and 30 Jun and 5 and 6 July, 3-5pm, $35++, including a large pizza you bake. Call the restaurant to find out.
Jasper (aka the Masseur) from Six and Seven massaged the dough: “Gurl look at that body. I work out.”
It’d be awesome if we could eat the 1.9m kungfu pizza but, to Chef Barbasso, his acrobatic skills are secondary to the quality of pizza: his acrobatics is to draw people in but what gets people hooked is the taste of the pizza.
Appetizer: Caprese ($20, Italian buffalo mozzarella cheese, tomato, basil). (Photo shows sampling size.)
Pastas (from $24 onwards)
Served on a plate with a bucolic scene of Italy, linguine all’Aragosta (or Boston lobster linguine in spicy tomato Arrabbiata sauce, $45) is the restaurant’s bestseller. Fun fact: “Arrabbiata” means “angry” in Italian but this rendition isn’t too angry. While we thought it could be more daring, the al-dente pasta and fresh lobster are pleasant. Ultimately it’s a conventionally delicious dish. (Note: this is a tasting portion, which is half a usual serving portion.)
Wood-fired Pizzas (from $22)
The pizzas are quite extraordinary because you’d never find them anywhere else in Singapore: none of the three pizzas we sampled have a tomato- or cream-based sauce! They are more like bread with toppings, which is, according to the PR, the traditional Italian way. Different but very good.
Arrotolata ($34): artichoke-stuffed pizza topped with parma ham, shaved parmesan cheese and rucola salad. While it may be a little too starchy and thick for some–this is definitely not the thin-crust pizza many people prefer–the favors are fantastically complex. The way to eat is to use your hands and take a bite of every ingredient in proportion, including the arugula. The favors in the mouth transform from one to the next: sweetness of dough, nutty earthiness of artichoke, saltiness from cured meat and cheese, and eventually, a sudden burst of pleasant and refreshing bitterness from arugula.
Unlike the other two pizzas which may take some getting used to, Bolero ($34), which is focaccia bread boosted with burrata cheese, arugula, cherry tomato, bresaola (air-dried beef) and aged balsamic vinegar reduction, is instantly orgasmic. While the thin crust could be crisper, the intensely and delightfully sweet reduction holds the ingredients together. A noteworthy aspect is that that bresaola hasn’t a pungent, revolting taste which many charcuteries suffer from. This is the media tasting group’s favorite.
The first bite is so-so but as we eat into Cenerentola ($32), it seems like we are moving towards a place of happiness. Starch on starch, roasted potato-and-mozzarella embedded in the pizza may be carb-overload but the density is balanced with lightness of ricotta cheese and cherry tomato. Caviar is the diamond of the sea, tastes of the ocean. The clean kind, not the polluted one. The pizza grows on you like a Sun Ho song.
Given that so many places have tiramisu, the tiramisu here is criminally delicious: the right amount of coffee and sweetness and the beautiful textural balance in mascarpone and ladyfingers. We finished it in two bites.
Palio makes a very smart move in the menu choices. For Singaporeans, or even people in general, who like familiarity and predictability, the lobster pasta pleases. But for the bold and adventurous, people with open minds that can look at things objectively, the pizzas trump indubitably. 3-course set lunch menu at only $18+.
8 Sentosa Gateway
Level 2, Hotel Michael
T: 6577 8888 / 6577 8899
Snacks (Pizzas only): 2.30-6.30pm
Rating: 3.407/5 kungfu pizzas
PS: We thank Tania, Wendy and Stephanie for the invite.