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[Singapore] Porta-Porta

Porta Portapo
Authentic  & yummy Italian food at Porta-Porta

Recently I discovered Porta-Porta (thanks to my friend kisetsu who told me about it) and it is now my to-go place if I’m craving for Italian food. I first went to the place in June with B and I then I went back again in September to celebrate my friend’s (W) birthday. I like the place for the cozy ambiance and the wide variety of bite-sized sampler dishes (if you go for the surprise menu aka “Faite”, which I did).


Decor

Porta Porta
I heart the decor of the place: Bohemian and eclectic charm

The decor of the place is unique and I think it deserved special mention. I think the decor reflected their food quite well: homely and nice. The place, like its food, shy away from the typical cookie cutter and contemporary interior design of many eating places. There’s a quaint, bohemian feel in the way the place was done up which I think is really charming. I went at night on both occasions and love the warm lighting (though a nightmare for taking photos). For the ambiance and the type of food, I think this place is romantic and suitable for dating! :] The place is really tiny (with just a few tables which sits about 20 people) so you definitely have to call to make a reservation. On both occasions I went, the restaurant was full-house and the diners typically ate till closing time, so the chance of walk-in is too risky. Because of the small size of the restaurant, the tables are relatively near to each other. So if you’re unlucky and sit next to a noisy table with kids (yup, I kenna that on my second visit), it will totally kill the ambiance and dining experience. I think the best two places to sit (for two persons) are (1) upstairs or (2) the table near the cashier. These two tables are slightly away from the main tables.

Porta Porta

Porta Porta

First Visit

Now for the food. They are well known for their “surprise menu” (“Faite”). Basically you just tell them what you don’t eat and they will whip up surprise dishes from the kitchen. There is a cheaper surprise menu at $30+ and a more expensive one at S$52.50 (before service charge). Being the glutton that I am, of course I opted for the more expensive one as it comes with more food. The waitress warned me that the bigger menu has A LOT of food, but I was game for the challenge as I was starving. I thought I can tabao for supper in the event I can’t finish the food. But to my disappointment, there’s nothing to tabao because we gobbled up everything! :p I guess I can really eat a lot when the occasion calls for it keke The thing I like about the surprise menu is that there is a wide variety served in small portions so you get to try a bit of everything. This is my surprise menu, in the sequence they are served, for my first visit. The cost of the meal for 3 persons is S$173.25 after service charge (so about S$58 per person). May be a tad expensive but I indulge in this type of eating only once in a while, plus I think it is quite reasonable given the type and amount of food we had.

Porta Porta
This is the starters with 4 different types of vegetables drenched in olive oil, which I like.

Porta Porta
Another photo of the appetizer plate. There are mushrooms and eggplants. I think the red & yellow thing are peppers.

Porta Porta
Next, herbed tomato slices with olive oil. They make such a simple dish so beautiful.

Porta Porta
I like this! Some ball coated in squid ink.

Porta Porta
Chicken nuggets. The nugget is made of real chicken meat (not from processed junk) like how nuggets should be made.

Porta Porta
Bruschetta with mashed chicken liver. I like this though B finds it a bit weird.

Porta Porta
This one is good. Some egg plant thing wrapped with cheese.

Porta Porta
Soup of the day. Some tomato vegetables soup, similar but not quite minestrone, I think.

Porta Porta
This is another eggplant dish, this time with tomato sauce and cheese.

Porta Porta
Mussels

Porta Porta
This is the pasta of the day: Spaghetti alle vongole. This is one of the best vongole I have eaten, feel inspired to try to cook this at home :)

Porta Porta
Ravioli in creamy sauce

Porta Porta
Taking a bite of the ravioli

Porta Porta
Deep fried seafood in light batter. At first glance, I thought the batter looked so light it probably will taste quite bland, but it turns out to be salty and flavourful.

Porta Porta
For the meat dish, I requested no mutton because I don’t like mutton. So we got some stewed chicken which is quite nice and the meat was tender.

Porta Porta
Now come the best part of the meal: the lemon sorbet! Really love this one. Very refreshing. Wish they serve this at the end of every course to cleanse the palate. I must learn to make this too.

Porta Porta
Last but not least, how can you visit an Italian restaurant without trying out the tiramisu? Their tiramisu is served in small ramekins. Hmm, personally I thought it was ok. B and shameless me both thought my home-made tiramisu tastes better (not shy) :P

Porta Porta
The serviette

Porta Porta
And oh, when the meal started, they will provide a basketful of bread. And they will clear this just before serving desserts. I’m not a bread person so I barely touched this at all. B loves it.

Second Visit

We went back again last month because it was my friend w’s birthday, and I know w love western food and it just seem like a good place to bring him (as in not too cheap, lol!) So again, we ordered the surprise menu. W is a pescetarian (he only consumes seafood and vegetables, no meat such as chicken and pork) The food is largely the same (same appetizer platter, deep fried seafood and desserts but no squid ink balls or nuggets) as the first time I went, so I think their “surprise menu” is quite fixed. So anyway, here are the food that’s different from the first time:

Porta Porta
Bruschetta with tomatoes. B likes this more than the chicken liver bruschetta we had on our first visit. It’s nice and another thing I will try to make at home :p

Porta Porta
I can’t remember what this is. Some mushrooms, eggplant thing in olive oil & herbs.

Porta Porta
We had two pastas this time round. The first is tagliatelle with mushrooms.

Porta Porta
And the second one, tagliatelle with a creamy prawn sauce. I kind of like this but I think it will taste quite “jelak” in huge quantities. Reminds me a bit of mentaiko pasta.

Porta Porta
They took some time to whip this up. Basically a seafood stew with clams and calamari. The boss told us they had a hard time thinking of what to cook since we specified “no meat”. I think they don’t have much seafood variations because it looks suspiciously like the ingredients for their other seafood dishes. But the salty clam broth was not bad. After this we are served the lemon sorbet and tiramisu.

Service

A mention about their service – They kind of leave you alone, but they still top up your drinks regularly. For example, when they serve a dish, they don’t really tell you what it is unless you ask. If you are the type who likes your waiter or waitress to fuss over you, this type of service may not meet your expectation. But I prefer this kind of unpretentious service because I am quite anti-social anyway and I think it makes the place more cozy and relaxed, like their decor and food. Anyway, they are friendly & polite when you ask them questions. I’ve seen them chatting with regular customers.

Porta Porta
Sent B & W outside to help me take a photo of the exterior

Porta-Porta (Changi)
Address: 971 Upper Changi Road North Singapore 507668
Tel: +65 6545 3108
Opening Hours

Opening Hours: Tue–Fri: 12pm–2pm, 6.30–9.30pm
Sat–Sun: 6.30pm–9.30pm
(Closed on Mon)

   

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4 Responses to “[Singapore] Porta-Porta”

  1. pigpigscorner — October 10, 2010 @ 8:58 am

    Love the decor, so homey!

    Reply

  2. HoppingHammy — October 15, 2010 @ 1:42 pm

    Ahhh! I just now remembered to check out the newly added sections of your website. :P Anyhoo, it’s so interesting to read restaurant reviews and wow you all had a lot of food….LOL! *steals bread basket since you don’t want it* I have never heard of a “surprise menu” before.

    Oh, and your photos show the cozy atmosphere well!

    Reply

  3. Geraldine — October 16, 2010 @ 9:21 am

    How I miss this place, Nino and Rosie…and the FOOD! ;q’ They’ve been around for many years. Started with selling take-outs through their back windows. :)

    Reply

  4. Vanessa — February 7, 2011 @ 9:23 am

    I’m so glad I chanced upon your website via my friend’s post on face book. It is sincere and unpretentious. Love your candid writing, comments and lovely pics! You have inspired me to spend more time in the kitchen now HAHAHA!!

    Reply