PizItalia is huge, taking as much space as three terrace houses. At the entrance is their mascot, a T-rex, making very scary RAWRing and wagging its tail and head.
If you sit outside, al fresco, you’ll be dining under the star by the sea, a small piece of the sea anyway.
Luckily, there is a small indoor aircon area which has a very impressive display of wines. There are also private rooms on the second storey.
Melicacy asked me and the hot boys of Six & Seven along for this food tasting. (Thanks, Mel!) Mel and I ordered some starters, wedges ($5.50) and soft soft crab ($8.90), while waiting for the boys’ arrival. (Hot things are worth the wait!) The chef did warn us that the starters are run of the mill but we were hungry.
Another starter we had is the Chef’s Seafood Salad ($9.50) that has romaine, cherry tomatoes, egg, prawns, squid and mussels with a tangy and very slightly spicy Thai-like dressing. To me, salad is salad. It was ok.
The Napoli Crab Cakes ($8.50, pictured above left) , as another starter, stood out among the rest because you can really taste the “crab-ness” and it wasn’t oily.
The chef is very proud of his Masala Fish N Chips ($15.50, pictured above right) which he boasted is one of a kind in Singapore. “You cannot find it anywhere else!” He also said that he uses special ingredients so that the fish would remain crispy even after 30 minutes. We tested, and sorry, it isn’t true. But I liked this dish very much; you can really taste the masala; the fresh Pacific Dory was lightly and thinly battered – we all hate thick batter right? However, the other three food reviewers showed less enthusiasm than me. I’d also suggest that the sides need to be improved. The fries shouldn’t be the sort similar to farmland fries and the coleslaw tasted like–Mel and I said this at the same time–“KFC!” Still, I was partial to the fish.
On the other hand, the three food reviewers liked this butter prawn linguine ($15.50) which came with shreds of omelet and Is that curry leaves on the linguine? On my part, I thought it was greasy and too lightly salted. The prawns seemed to have nothing to do with the dish, except that they were on the pasta. For reasons why the other three reviewers liked it, follow their websites.
Cippino ($33.50) is an Italian seafood stew that is traditionally served on Christmas eve. It has fish, prawns, mussels, and squid. In our food tasting, there was crab but I think the chef was being nice. In the restaurant version, there isn’t any crab and of course I’m sure you can request for it and pay the market price for a crab. It was addictive and tasted like minestrone that has been infused by a thousand sweetness from the seafood. We four loved that we tried something we hadn’t tried before.
Italian Chili Crab (market price). It was slightly different than the other chili crab I had; this was much more spicy and less sweet–and I can’t really take spicy, it destroys the tastebuds. But again I seemed to be the minority here; the other three food reviewers couldn’t stop spooning the sauce as we waited for our buns to be fried. Besides the spicy level, we couldn’t figure out what is Italian about the crab? The answer from the chef: “Italian herbs.”
Sexy Saunders asked, “What herbs?”
Chef replied (very shrewdly), “Secret.”
I joked, “Is it McCormick’s Italian Herbs?” Hee hee hee.
To be serious, I think I prefer the original Singapore Chili Crab simply because I can’t take the heat. But the other three might disagree.
We had the mud cake ($5.50), Walnut brownie with ice cream ($8.50, pictured above) and tiramisu ($5.50, left). I have extremely high standards for desserts so I wouldn’t recommend these desserts. The mud cake consists two layers of ice cream and a crust–the ice cream had, Saunder’s words, “shards of ice” within. I can bake better brownie from the pre-mix pack and the tiramisu just wouldn’t do.
Verdict: The food was alright. The Cippino is an interesting crowd-pleaser but I wouldn’t call the food here Italian. It is more skewed towards Singaporean/Asian cuisine. Even the butter prawn linguine tasted like Fujian mian at cze char stall.
There are two main pieces of constructive criticism I want to give. (1) I don’t quite understand the concept. The reasonable pricing and the fuss-free decor–no table cloth!–demonstrate a mid-range restaurant but the ostentatious display of wines threw us off. The eclectic music–ranging from pop, jazz, house music, and rock music–confused us further. What is the target customers? What is the cuisine? What type of restaurant is it trying to achieve? In other words, I think the restaurant needs to re-plan and re-think its concepts. Even minor questions “the T-rex is super fun and cool but how does it fit in with the restaurant?” matter. Every minor detail matters.
The second piece of constructive criticism is the location. Before the hot boys came, I asked Mel, “Why would anyone open an Italian seafood restaurant here when people come here for Red House, Long Beach and Jumbo?” When the hot boys came, they asked Mel the same question. Mel’s reply was, “Why not? Italian food provides an alternative to the Chinese seafood restaurants.” But it’s like people go to Pearl Center to buy cloth, you can’t open a, say, car showroom there. No one goes to Peal Center to buy cars. People come to East Coast Seafood Centre to eat Chinese seafood; how can the Italian restaurant attract this group of clientele?
The food itself–unless it’s super heavenly food–cannot ensure the success of the business. See the rating I gave, I like this place and I say all these because of good intentions–please don’t take it the wrong way–but I’m afraid PizItalia will find it hard to compete with other Chinese seafood restaurants if it doesn’t figure out its selling point soon. But it’s still a very young restaurant and it may grow. It’s bad location and poor concept but acceptable food at a reasonable price with good service.
East Coast Seafood Centre,
1204 East Coast Parkway #01-06
T: 6445 8554
M-F: 5pm – Midnight
S-S 12pm – Midnight
Rating: 3.025/5 RAWRs