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).
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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.
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.
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)
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:
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.
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.
Address: 971 Upper Changi Road North Singapore 507668
Tel: +65 6545 3108
Opening Hours: Tue–Fri: 12pm–2pm, 6.30–9.30pm
(Closed on Mon)