Saturday, 25 January 2014

Innovative and Flavourful Italian Cuisine at Oca Grassa

Chef Edwin Lau and me

Launched in late April last year,  Oca Grassa which  means Fat Goose in Italian is a casual  restaurant that specialises in Florentine steaks and Italian cuisine using basic and fresh ingredients. The restaurant is helmed by 32 year old Executive Chef, Edwin Lau whose penchant for innovation and creativity has made him an expert in transforming a simple dish into an extraordinary one. Chef Edwin used to head the kitchen of La Cicala Spanish themed gastrobar before becoming the Executive Chef at Oca Grassa.

Chef Edwin’s passion for cooking started when he was a teenager, savouring home-cooked Indonesian creations by his grandmother. As he was not keen on academic pursuits, he went on to study food preparation at Swiss Hotel Management School. After he graduated, this friendly, unassuming chef honed his culinary skills for twelve years, cooking up a storm in the kitchens at Olive Tree at Intercontinental Hotel and Woods Restaurant in Geneva.

According to Chef Edwin, the concept at Oca Grassa is minimalistic while La Cicala is avant-garde. He feels that Oca Grassa’s friendly and casual concept is one of its unique selling points.

I dined at the restaurant once during the festive season last year with my friends and another time a few days ago. I found the ambience a little cold, in contrast to many of the warm, homely Italian restaurants. However, the food was robust and flavourful and Chef Edwin’s unique style permeates in all his creations.

 Post Xmas Gathering with friends at Oca Grassa in 2013

 Fun gathering at Oca Grassa in 2013

 Pumpkin risotto with pan-seared Atlantic scallop

One of the crowd pleasers was the risotto di zucca con capesante (pumpkin risotto with pan-seared Atlantic scallop - $24++). It was aromatic, natural and fresh and the sweet taste of the pumpkin complemented well with the scallops.

 Selections of fresh market seafood cooked with cherry tomatoes, vegetables and seafood stock 

My favourite was the brodetto di pesce in casseruola (selections of fresh market seafood cooked with cherry tomatoes, vegetables and seafood stock - $58++). This tomato-infused seafood broth brimmed with tantalising fruits of the seas such as fresh clams, sea bream, large shrimps and it was served with baguette on the side. The taste was further enhanced with herbs and garlic.

 Roasted whole sea bream, with radicchio, tomato, broccolini in bagna cauda sauce

If your palate is inclined towards healthy dishes, you’ll love the natural flavours of the orata arrostita con pomodoro pachino e broccoletti (roasted whole sea bream, with radicchio, tomato, broccolini in bagna cauda sauce -$36++). This is a typical winter dish from Piedmont and the bagna cauda which is literally translated as ‘hot bath’ is prepared using garlic, cloves, anchovies and milk.  

 Char-grilled ribeye steak

Spit roast whole French baby chicken with preserved lemon

Those with carnivorous appetites will like the succulent char-grilled ribeye steak ($38++) and the galletto ruspante alla grigilia (spit roast whole French baby chicken with preserved lemon - $32++). The preserved lemon gives it a tangy flavour and provides a new dimension to the dish. 

The restaurant also has a set lunch menu priced at $20++ for a 2-course and $25++ for a 3-course. 
Butternet squash

For the starter, I had the butternut squash which was creamy and tasty, however, I found the soup a little too buttery and overpowers the sweetness of the butternut pumpkin. The pancetta added a crunchy texture and enhanced the flavour of the soup.

 Linguine pasta with tomato, prawans, anchovies, capers, butter sauce and fresh herbs

For the main course, I had the linguine pasta with tomato, prawns, anchovies, capers, butter sauce  and fresh herbs. Chef Edwin used fresh prawn head, tomatoes and herbs to prepare the rich prawn stock which was then used to cook the spaghetti. It was skilfully executed and the pasta was al dente.

 Homemade limoncello tart

 For the dessert, I had the homemade limoncello tart which is also available in the à la carte menu. It was zesty and delightful and provided a sweet finale to the meal.

 Enjoying my dessert

Overall, the dining experience was excellent. Chef Edwin’s creativity, dedication and attention to detail made Oca Grassa stand out from other Italian restaurants.

Oca Grassa is located at 6 Bukit Pasoh Road, Singapore 089820. The restaurant is open from 12pm to 3pm during lunch and from 6pm to 12am during dinner on Mondays to Saturdays. It is closed on Sundays. For reservations, call 6534 9854 or email
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