I had the pleasure of joining Chef Jeremy for lunch, a couple of days before I went to KL for my volunteer trip. Chef Jeremy helms the kitchen at Vita Italiana, at 38 Mosque Street, Chinatown (very near to Chinatown Point). He doesn’t look like a local but I’ll tell you a secret – he’s 100% Singaporean! And the food served here is so good too! Allow me to take you through my favorites:
Appetizers: Eggplant, and Mushroom Soup too? 😀
I love eggplant, and cheesy eggplant is the best! 😀 And I was also given a sampling portion of the Creamy Mushroom and Porcini with truffle foam. I like that there is no diluting of their mushroom soup that is made with 4 kinds of mushrooms and truffle oil, so that great taste is retained.
The humorous chef calls ravioli “Italian Wanton” and let’s just say this is the best wanton ever! The ratio of pasta to filling is just right and the sauce is so yummy! You’ll not want to share this dish with anyone else. 😀 Vita Italiana serves homemade pasta, and they serve homemade bread too, and dining here is just like dining at a friend’s home.
You’ll be most surprised at how their small but well-equipped kitchen manages to churn out all these fabulous dishes. But the secret is in letting the chef design the kitchen, which ensures maximum efficiency.
1 Pizza, 2 flavors: Carbonara and Bismarck
Chef Jeremy recommends getting a half-and-half pizza (just pick your 2 favorite flavors) so you can share the food with your friends, and not get jelat from eating it all on your own – “just tickle your tastebuds”, he says. 😀
Though they’ve been in business for just about 4 months, business has been good as the restaurant caters for corporate events too and the chefs can also be hired for private chef events. The menu can be customized according to your budget so you can get interesting dishes like arugula salad with poached pears, crabmeat ravioli, cod done sicilian style, and more, all in the comfort of your own home!
Craft beers and organic wines
And what you definitely must have together with your meal are the organic wines and craft beers. I tried this one you see in the picture above and it was amazing! I’ve never had such yummy craft beer before. I don’t really know its name, but you can show this picture to the server if it helps! 😀
Chef Jeremy also shared with me that he adds beer into the pizza dough (imagine that!) as it helps the yeast develop the dough. So the pizza you saw earlier is not just any ordinary pizza ya! 😀
Blue Cheese Lava Cake
And to further prove my point about how the chef is just really playful when it comes to food, I’ll show you what we had for dessert first. Here you see the blue cheese lava cake. Yes, blue cheese (one of those things I refuse to eat). I’d wanted regular chocolate lava cake… but the chef insisted that this is worth a try. And it was! It actually tastes pretty good. Chocolate lava cakes are usually pretty sweet, but this one is tempered by the blue cheese and so, it’s just yummy without being cloyingly sweet. Quite a cool combination, and great for scaring your friends with when you insist that they order blue cheese lava cake. LOL!
Chef Jeremy also makes lasagna with stewed pulled pork instead of beef. Just the sound of that – pulled pork – and I can imagine how tender it must be. *I’m hungry now* But when I asked him what is “comfort food” to him, he shares that it’s carbonara, tiramisu, and calamari with a beer. And speaking about tiramisu… check out my review of the tiramisu in a bit. 🙂
Homemade Herb Fettuccini
While the chef’s first love is pastry, the pasta he makes is a dream too. Take the homemade herb fettuccini, for instance. You can see the herb in the pasta, and taste it too!
Ask him who inspired him to be a chef and he’ll quickly tell you that both his grandmas were his inspiration. He has an Indian-Eurasian dad. His Eurasian grandma never eats out – she is very proud of her heritage so she cooks at home. And he also has a Peranakan-Chinese grandma on his mom’s side of the family. No wonder he’s a chef!
At the tender age of 10, he was already making scrambled eggs – with extra milk so it’s more creamy. And he turned out to be the only boy in the cooking class when he was studying at Bedok South Secondary School. 😀
And the passion for Italian food? It’s because Italian cuisine is about the family, it’s rustic, home-cooked, informal, and not orderly like the French. And at Vita Italiana, it’s all of those things and more. The ambiance is great, the wait staff are happy and friendly, and most importantly, I get good beef. 😀 This is what the chef calls “Umami on a plate”…
Grilled 100-day Grain-fed Beef
I have no complaints about the beef… and even the potatoes and the mushrooms are delicious. And speaking about potatoes, the Chef shared that as a trainee, he was frustrated by the time he had to spend doing ‘prep’ as the chefs would not allow trainees near the stoves. So you have to peel potatoes and onions, and ‘prep prep prep’ but in the process, “you learn skill, speed and (all you need to know about) the product.”
And now, for my favorite dish at Vita Italiana… the dessert that I’ll hardly order anywhere else because few pastry chefs get it perfect.
This tiramisu is amazing. It contains 4 kinds of liquor (kahlua, rum, coffee liquor, marsala wine) and the texture is so soft, and of the melt-in-your-mouth variety! Definitely not for sharing! 😀
What I took away from this gastronomic experience is that when you cook from the heart, you’ll serve up wonderful plates. And this Italian restaurant even encourages customers to ask for something that’s not on the menu! As long as the ingredients are available, the chef will whip up something for you. All they ask is that you lose yourself in the food and the ambiance in this restaurant where they believe they are selling happiness, and not just food. 🙂
Vita Italiana is located at 38 Mosque Street. Call 6220 0093 for reservations.