We were invited twice to Atmastel at South Beach for tastings but we rejected both times, preferring to visit the Italian restaurant anonymously so we could write a honest and fair review. Reviews from invited journalists, bloggers, and instagrammers are favourable but when we were there, we were disappointed.
To be fair, on their website, they used to write that “The culinary team is helmed by Andrea Tarini, an Italian chef with a 3-Michelin-star background,” but this line has been removed and I suppose that the chef has left the restaurant, and the previous reviews were written when Tarini was still around in early 2017. Also, to be even fairer, we did not order the pizza, for which Atmastel is famous.
According to some reviews I read, many ingredients are flown in from Italy and they knead their pizza from stone-milled flour (you know, as opposed to ready-made crust from Cold Storage). But really, for any restaurants to sell pizzas at this price, they shouldn’t order ready-made crust, so it’s really not that impressive to hand-knead a pizza.
When we were there on a Tuesday, it was almost full house. There were two long tables of more than 10 people each, here after their work. It is almost always reassuring to see a crowded restaurant. With the happy hour promotion, we first ordered a dozen of oysters ($20.30). They are New Zealand oysters, very plump and juicy at a very good price. So good we ordered a second round, half dozen ($10.20) this time.
The pastas are handmade, as emphasised by almost every description of every pasta dish on their menu, ranging from $18.90 to $32.90. We wanted a simple pasta that day, their aglio olio ($18.90)–sorry, their homemade aglio olio spaghetti comes with prawns and is tossed with chilli, extra virgin olive oil and garlic. It is pretty mediocre; I find the overall taste cloying.
For the tomahawk ($129.90, 1.5kg including bone, which can feed 4 to 6 people), we ordered it medium rare. But when it came, it was still bloody. I always order my steaks medium-rare but this was scary. This was still so rare I swear the steak asked me how do you mooooo? It was still so bloody it was running across the lawn with a knife in its D-cup breast after receiving a telephone call saying, “The call is coming from within the house.”
We asked the chef who confirmed that it was medium-rare. Perhaps for tomahawk, the piece was too huge and the heat from grill could not penetrate it; although I have big cuts of steaks before at medium-rare in many steakhouses and they never turn out this bloody. Let’s take it that we have different interpretations of what medium-rare is.
In any case, the chef was kind enough to cook the steak and we settled the issue amicably. When it returned, it seemed more medium than medium-rare. Unfortunately, it lost flavour and wasn’t as tasty as before. One of my eating companions said that he won’t return because he had better steaks elsewhere. For sure, there are better steaks but I guess Italian food isn’t known for their grills, and perhaps we shouldn’t have ordered the steak.
We ended the affair happily with a fantastic tiramisu ($12.90). The ladyfingers are soft and light. There is a layering of temperature, a cold Mascarpone cheese covering a mountain of other ingredients at room temperature. Strong and bold coffee with enough Kahlua liquer. One of the best tiramisu in Singapore.
We paid a total of $245 for four persons. Although my companion said he won’t return to the restaurant, I think we may have ordered the wrong item and I may give it another try when I have a craving for pizza.
South Beach Avenue, 26 Beach Road, #B1-22 Singapore 189768
tel: +65 6581 0085
M-Th 11.30am – 2.30pm, 6pm – 10pm, F & Sat 11.30am – 2.30pm, 6pm – 11pm, closed Sun & PH
Price / value: 6/10
Decor / Ambience: 6/10
You may be interested in…
–Forlino, Fullerton: No Big Names but an Easy, Excellent Fine-Dining Meal
–Senso Ristorante & Bar, Club Street: Sunday Prosecco Brunch Starting from $68++ (So Worth it!)
–Caffe B, Club Street: New Location, New Chef, Itameshi Better Than Before
–Amo Restaurant, Hong Kong Street: Excellent Pizzas and Sharing Plates, Best for After-Work and Adult Gatherings
Written by Dr. A. Nathanael Ho.