I won a couple thousand dollars from Marina Bay Sands Casino in Singapore. I had three days left on my trip and I needed to find something to spend this money on. So I thumbed through the pages of the information booklet in my hotel room looking for a celebrity chef restaurant in town. Then…GOLD. Former Iron Chef Mario Batali has a restaurant in Singapore!
Osteria Mozza on Bayfront Avenue sounded perfect. I called a buddy, made reservations, and we were off to dinner.
I had browsed the menu on their website before we went – it was all in Italian. When we got there, I was too embarrassed to ask if they had an English menu – so I got the one thing I could pronounce correctly, the “Pasta Tasting Menu.” The pasta tasting menu came with 7 small courses. I felt like an Iron Chef judge, a friendly Filipino waiter brought out another tiny portion after eating the previous tiny portion. Rest assured, after 7 small plates of pasta, we were both full by the end of the meal.
The pasta tasting menu cost $98++ per person. Despite my casino winnings, I opted not to get the accompanying wine because it cost an additional $150 per person. Every petite plate of pasta was good, cooked perfectly, and it was fun trying to identify individual ingredients in the ragus and sauces. I particularly liked the sweet potato mezzalune with Amaretti. It was a unique, sweet pasta, but the sweetness didn’t overpower the dish. On the other hand, there was one dish that tasted like mac-and-cheese. Nevertheless, everything was delicious.
The ambiance worked for me. Osteria Mozza, Singapore is located in an upscale galleria-style mall – but it’s still a mall and it feels like a mall. Some of the mall-feeling comes from its conjoined partner restaurant, Pizzeria Mozza. Pizzeria Mozza is a less refined Mario Batali joint, which was full of families and happy-hour stragglers when we were enjoying our pasta tasting. There were some different kinds of people at Osteria Mozza from obvious tourists to local couples and businessmen. There didn’t seem to be a dress code; my buddy wore a t-shirt and jeans, but there were people in suits too. While the setting may diminish Osteria Mozza’s sophistication for many, I found the familiar atmosphere to be comforting.
Osteria Mozza is unpolished elegance. The pasta tasting menu might be slightly overpriced, but it is worth it to feel like a respected culinary critic for the evening. The atmosphere isn’t very romantic, but there is enough happening around the restaurant to quell any awkward silence. If I ever come into some quick money in Singapore, I will definitely go back.