Several doctor friends have recommended me La Ristrettos, a cafe on the 8th floor of Novena Medical Centre. I guess now golddiggers know where to go to find a rich sugardaddy or mommy.
When we were there recently for a minor operation, we dropped by.
Ristretto refers to the concentrated form of an espresso, with the same amount of caffeine but half the water content.
Pardon me, my Italian is half past 6. But “La Ristrettos” is incorrect, right? I assume the etymology of “ristretto” is Italian since “espresso” is Italian. Both “la” and “le” refer to “the” in the feminine form. But “la” is used for singular nouns whereas “le” is for plural. Since “ristrettos” is the plural form, then it should be “Le Ristrettos,” si?
In any case, we were charmed by the decor. Although there is al fresco sitting, everyone chose to squeeze in the tiny, cozy, homely, rustic room, dominated by a long communal wooden table with a huge flower arrangement as the epergne. (Although why communal tables exist in Singapore beats me. Singaporeans are the unfriendliest bunch and we don’t talk to each other. It’s sitting awkwardly with a group of strangers.)
You know what they say about cafes… Once the decor is charming, it’s half the battle won.
It seemed like opposite day because I liked what Mr Fitness ordered, while he preferred what I ordered. So we swapped plates in the end.
The crab angel hair pasta ($14.90) comes nicely al dente but I wonder if it’s too light that the crab comes across as “fishy”. The dish appears rather effortless to me, and I couldn’t figure out the base sauce. (No, it isn’t aglio olio because it does not have the fragrance of olive oil.) Maybe white wine? But for the same reason I didn’t like it, Mr Fitness liked the light, sourish dressing, which comes across as healthy.
On the other hand, Mr Fitness was pissed off at the breakfast bruschetta ($15), which consists of back bacon, a poached egg, chicken breast on a piece of sour dough, drizzled with aged balsamic.
“Like that also can sell at $15?!” he exclaimed.
Actually, I liked it because it presents a complexity missing from the crab pasta: it’s sour, and sweet. The fattiness of the bacon–I love it that they use back bacon, which is more meaty and less fatty than streaky bacon–offsets the tender chicken breast, which is seasoned tastily.
The coffee here is organic and free-trade. To name the cafe after a coffee means they are serious about the coffee, and perhaps even more so than the food. But the iced americano ($4.50) is too thin and way too sour, almost like the bitterest Chinese herbal tea without the enjoyable aftertaste of a dry sweetness.
To be fair, the flat white ($5) fares much better, and is tasty. The addition of milk gives the thin coffee volume, and although there is still an underlying sourness, the tongue may obfuscated the flavor with that of the milk’s, and be more accepting.
On the whole, the experience was very pleasant for us. The menu is rather extensive; I guess items are slowly added on the menu over the years. Which means that we can visit it repeatedly and won’t be bored. Yes, there will be repeated visits. We paid $40 for two persons.
10 Sinaran Drive, #08-37 Novena Medical Centre, Singapore 307506
T: +65 6397 7165
M-F 8am-6pm, Sat & PH 8am-2pm, Closed Sun
Service: NA (you order at the counter, they deliver it. Contact with service staff is minimal.)
Written by A. Nathanael Ho.