Across from Clarke Quay Central, Amo Restaurant at Hong Kong Street is opened by restaurateur-chef Beppe De Vito of the ilLido Group which houses other Italian restaurants such as the one Michelin-starred Braci, &Sons, Aura at National Gallery, and Osteria Art. In terms of positioning, Amo is closer to &Sons apropos of the vibe and target crowd; an afterwork, casual restaurant with chic molecule lamps.
House-cured meats and cheese platter ($38, serves 2)
But the major difference between Amo (pronounced as “angmo,” I kid you not!) and &Sons is that Amo’s menu comes in sharing portions and these portions are seriously huge.
We started with the charcuterie and cheese platter (pictured above) and the calamari ($22, below).
The calamari is outstanding, probably one of the best in Singapore. The batter is merely dusted thinly. It is fleshy with a fat-like texture. If you blindfold me, I would have guessed I was eating tender and fatty pork belly. It comes with a sumac and sundried tomato aioli, packed with umami.
The pizzas, ranging from $22 to $35, are among the best in Singapore; they won’t be on my top 3 but they would probably ranked 4th or 5th. Reasons the pizzas are so good: two of Amo’s chefs trained at the best pizza academy in Italy and they did 2 years of research.
Made from semolina, natural leaven from an aged mother starter cultivated in-house, and extra virgin olive oil, the sourdough undergoes a long, temperature-controlled leavening process. Then the pizzas are baked under four minutes in an Italian-made stone wood-fired oven using imported almond wood which gives the pizzas a nutty aroma.
The crust is marvellous. It’s not those thin, crispy type (which I dislike anyway); it’s airy, fluffy, and slightly chewy. Best to be eaten hot, or it may become slightly tough.
Out of the three pizzas, the best is the traditional one, stracciatella, prosciutto, rucola and fig vincotto ($29, pictured below). It sounds pretty ordinary. Just ham and cheese pizza, right? But the chopped arugula gives off an earthiness, enhancing the flavour profile. Umami? No you mean Umaxmi.
Mr Fitness dislikes the off-the-menu pizza, homemade Nduja, mascarpone, charred eggplant & buffalo mozzarella ($32), but I adore it. I love Nduja, which is spiced pork salumi grounded to a spread. Such a complex taste.
He, of a person with expensive taste, prefers mushrooms, truffle, mascarpone and Tuscan pecorino ($35) but I think it’s such… a plebeian pizza. I mean, it’s nice, no complaints, but it’s common. I dunno, maybe when I ate it, it had turned cold from photo-taking, so I couldn’t appreciate it for what it was.
All the three mains are incredible. I couldn’t believe a whole butter roasted golden chicken goes for only $58++. The menu states that it serves two persons, but really, I think it means two persons who don’t order any starter or sides. It’s too much for two persons, but this is a happy problem because it’s extremely delicious. I took the chicken breast, which is moist and tender, and the rosemary jus is simply delightful. The skin is also crispy and savoury. Fantastic.
Mr Fitness, on the other hand, said, “Meh, chicken lor.” But there is much craft in cooking such an excellent chicken. Seldom is chicken cooked so accomplished.
See what I mean by big portions? The spaghetti chitarra with Boston lobster and tarragon ($98, serves two) was shared between 8 of us, granted that we each took only two coils of pasta and a piece of lobster. A note on the pasta: it’s homemade with eggs and Italian durum wheat semolina using a traditional bronze die, and then it is slowly dehydrated over several days at a very low temperature.
The sauce is slightly spicy, which is excellent in bringing forth the sweetness of the lobster.
That day was opposite days for Mr Fitness and me. His favorite main, black cod with crab cioppino and fregola ($38), is my least favourite. He said the cod is superb, which is true, but the ingredient itself is good. It’s unlike the chicken which is great because the culinary skills shine.
Oh one more recommendation: please please please get the hand cut fries with rosemary & truffle mayo ($12). Or maybe don’t order it because it’s irresistible.
For desserts, skip the ricotta cheese castagnoles with moscato sabayon ($15), which are Italian fried dough balls, and opt for the tiramisu ($18). The ladyfingers are soaked in coffee and put to dry for three days, intensifying the flavours.
The food is freaking fantastic. One of the best restaurants we have eaten this year. Probably will be on our Best Restaurants list at the end of the year.
33 Hong Kong Street, Singapore 059672
tel: +65 6723 7733
12pm-3pm, 6pm-11pm daily
You may be interested in…
–Pizza Express, Scotts Square: Fantastic Feasts and Where to Find Them
–Ristorante Luka, Tanjong Pagar: Excellent Italian Food by Japanese Chef Takashi Okuno
–FOO’D by Davide Oldani, Victoria Concert Hall: Michelin-Starred Italian Restaurant Comes to Singapore
–Il Cielo, Hilton: Reach for the Stars
Written by Dr. A. Nathanael Ho.
Categories: $40-$60, Clarke Quay, Italian, Large Group
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