Taking over Barossa Gastrobar at level 1 of Esplanade Mall, Dopo Teatro (or “after theatre” in Italian) is the latest dining concept from Creative Eateries and aims to provide patrons with a taste of traditional Italian cuisine combined with premium Japanese ingredients.
For antipasti, the cured lardo introduces flavour to the creamy Japanese Sakoshi Bay oyster (half dozen for $34++, dozen for $60++). To balance the strong flavour of the lardo, the oyster is paired with yuzu and cucumber granita which adds acidity to the dish. Perhaps it was an isolated incident but my friend and I felt that the oyster was rather fishy.
The Fisherman’s catch ($20++) consists fried calamari, tempura shishamo, soft shell crab, kawa ebi, tsukemono pickles served together with mentaiko aioli. Even though the items are deep fried, they are not oily and have a satisfying crispy mouthfeel when eaten together with the savoury mentaiko aioli. Good grub to go with beer. We would love the dish more if the amount of salt sprinkled could be less generous.
Much has been touted about Dopo Teatro’s signature pizzas which are made in-house from dough that has been fermented for 36 hours. I am happy to report that the efforts and time spent to prepare the pizza did not go down the drain. The crust of the al funghi pizza ($22++) has a nice char to it, slightly chewy and billowy – a testament due to the fermentation. The substitution of mozzarella, usually used in pizzas, to halloumi imparts more flavour as it is brined.
The sugo al granchio ($25++) is a pasta dish (using the same dough that was fermented for 36 hours). Squid ink is mixed together with the dough to make tagliatelle and tossed in a spicy marinara sauce; served together with kani (japanese for crab), herb pangrattato (italian for breadcrumbs) and wild rocket. The crab pasta is decent but nothing memorable. I appreciate the generous servings of crab meat but the squid ink does not give flavour to the pasta.
The highlight of the meal is the snapper acqua pazza ($26++), a medley of capers, olives, cherry tomatoes, ice plant and fregola (semolina pasta; a specialty of the Sardinian region of Italy) in tomato nage broth. The savoury ice plant, where the leaves and stems can be eaten raw, is crunchy and juicy (similar to the texture of lettuce). The broth is light but very flavourful – I am guessing the snapper is also poached in the liquid and finished off with white wine.
To round off the meal on a sweet note, the signature tiramisu ($16++)and pistachio cannoli ($16++) are recommended. For the tiramisu, there is hardly a taste of alcohol or coffee. The cannoli has brownie points for a crunchy biscuit-like texture but some parts are burnt and taste bitter.
The prices here are reasonable and the food is decent (although I would not recommend coming here for the desserts, at least not for the tiramisu and cannoli).
You may be interested in…
–Caffe B, Club Street: New Location, New Chef, Itameshi Better Than Before
–Monte Risaia, Duxton: New Itameshi (Japanese-Italian) Omakase by Marusaya group
–Terra, Tras Street: Serving Itameshi (Italo-Japanese) Cuisine, Or As the Chef Brands it As “Tokyo-Italian”
–Buko Nero, Tanjong Pagar: A Perfect Italian Meal From Bread to Dessert
This was an invited tasting.
Written by Vanessa Khong. Vanessa is someone who enjoys checking out the local food scene. She believes the way to her heart is through her stomach.