How many restaurants can last more than a decade in Singapore? It’s a sobering answer: not many. Yet, those who manage to endure the passage of time have also become iconic testaments to quality cuisine and service – with some updates, of course.
Since 2004, OSO Ristorante has prided itself as an authentic Italian restaurant. Originally located at Tanjong Pagar, it later moved to a much larger space at an elegant stretch of 1920s conservation shop houses at Bukit Pasoh. But that’s 13 years ago. Now, OSO offers a much more elevated experience. It has returned to Tanjong Pagar, but relocated to the 27th floor of Oasia Hotel. The interiors have caught up with the times and trends as well. Exposed brick walls are adorned with floor-length mirrors and industrial light fittings. The wide windows offers a glimpse of the city’s skyline. The restaurant boasts two private rooms – one is a cellar with a capacity of 25 guests, and the other is a smaller space that fits a party of 10. Business partners Stephane Colleoni and chef Diego Chiarini weave their collective artistic spirit into the contemporary restaurant with an assemblage of vintage paintings and sculptures.
Still, for those looking for that bit of nostalgia from the ‘old days’ of OSO will be comforted to see that the restaurant now features two menus: the ‘Classic’ and ‘Today,’ which would please both regulars and first-time diners. Regulars can still get their fix of signatures of stracci pasta with wild boar or truffle risotto. But if moving to a new location is a sign of restaurant’s goal to reinvent things, they have done a good attempt to introduce modern plating and classic flavours through its ‘Today’ menu.
From its starters off the newer menu is the timballo, a baked sponge bread stuffed with toma cheese and a broth with black truffle on the side: an ‘old-fashioned’ dish, as Chiarini describes, but comforting. The squid-ink risotto is a must-try, with prawns cooked in chilli for a spicy kick alongside marjoram herbs. Another noteworthy dish is the acqua pazza (crazy water), a traditional dish of fish poached in seawater (though now, salted water is used). Chiarini takes the artisanal route with this one, using filtered saltwater from Puglia resulting in a tender, juicy poached sea bass. Its also a preview of the kitchen taking more steps to push for newer cooking techniques, such as aging meats from New Zealand and a new grill section, using oakwood imported from Piedmonte.
OSO focuses on seasonality of ingredients, so it’s recommended to go for the chef’s surprise menu (diners can choose between five to eight courses) which will grant a richer experience of Chiarini’s modern take of dishes. Only a few days into its new location, OSO is already seeing a good, steady crowd. It’d be easy to fall back on long-time favourites, but take the jump and go for the modern ones: you’ll be sure to find new comfort.
Oasia Hotel, 27th Floor. Tel: +65 63278378