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Culinary delights from northern Italy at Pete’s Place

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A long-time Singapore favourite, Pete’s Place located in the basement of the Grand Hyatt Singapore, has introduced a new a la carte menu created by Chef Andrea Bontempi who grew up in the countryside of Gavardo, northern Italy.

This new menu is Chef Andrea’s interpretation of the traditional northern Italian cuisine, covering wonderful home-style dishes from the high plateau of Piedmont to the coastal cities of Livorno and Genoa, via Treviso and down to Chef Andrea’s home in Brescia.

The Dining Table had the privilege of speaking with Chef Andrea at an invited media tasting session. Describing his food as “simple but complicated”, he explained that he wants to bring to diners the home-style dishes that take quite a bit of effort to prepare.

A case in point is the tasty and hearty Cacciucco alla Livornese ($34++) which is written in the menu only as a “sustainable fish stew”. The Cacciucco alla Livornese is actually much more than that. It’s a tomato-based stew that is teeming with fish such as sustainable barramundi, cod and white bait, and seafood such as scallops, squid, baby octopus, prawns, mussels and clams. Legend had it that a mother had sent her young son out to get fish at the port. Seeing the young boy with a basket, fishermen had given him their unsold seafood and he returned home with a basketful of different seafood. Challenged with this basket of bits and bobs, his mother created a stew that is now popularly enjoyed by Italian fishermen.

Cacciucco - Seafood Stew

Cacciucco – Seafood Stew

To create the fish stock, Chef Andrea cooked 12 types of fish in a tomato stew. Once the fish had been cooked, he separated the meat from the bones. The bones were then used to make a thick stock, which were separated and discarded after. The cooked fish meat was then added back into the thickened stock along with different types of seafood. Altogether, this seafood stew took Chef Andrea at least 6 hours to prepare as there are various steps and considerations such as the different cooking times for different seafood ingredient. One sip and you can really appreciate the love and effort the chef has put into this creation.

Before serving up the stew, we had a lovely starter, Burrata e Caponata ($22++). This is a heavy pocket of fresh burrata cheese from Sicily set on top of an eggplant caponata (salad) with aged balsamic vinegar. The eggplant was tender and most, almost melting into the mouth. This eggplant caponata took a few days as it had to be fried then marinated with tomato sauce, pine nuts, basil, green olive, raisin, vinegar, sugar. The dish is served with a balsamic reduction as a side sauce.

Burrata e caponata

Burrata e caponata

We also enjoyed the delicious Panzanella di Granchio ($24++), a starter in Tuscany that comprised cooked blue swimmer crabmeat mixed with crostini and fresh vegetables such as celery, tomatoes, bell peppers, cucumber, onion, topped with fennel and served with yoghurt sauce.

Panzanella di Granchio

Panzanella di Granchio

For pasta, we had the delicious Ravioli Astice ($36++) which is freshly-made lobster ravioli with burrata cheese served in a saffron zucchini sauce. Creamy and aromatic, it was wonderfully satisfying for a light and yet hearty lunch.

Ravioli Astice - Lobster ravioli

Ravioli Astice – Lobster ravioli

To round up the meal on a sweet note, we had the refreshing and delicious Bonnet Astigiana ($10++), an Amaretti chocolate pudding served with a light mousse of orange blossom and a light sprinkling of basil cress. The flesh of the fragrant and tangy orange fruit is served together with its skin that had been caramelized with sugar.

Bonnet astigiana

Bonnet astigiana

Altogether, it was a lovely meal at Pete’s Place, leaving us with a whole new respect for homestyle, authentic Italian cuisine that is, in the Chef’s own words, simple but complicated.

Valentine’s Day 2015 special: Pete’s Place has a special menu ($148++ or $168++) with different Italian wines and three different main courses. There is a choice of Classic Lasagne made of beef ragout, béchamel sauce, parmesan and mozzarella cheeses, Seafood Risotto with tomato stew, black tiger prawn, baby octopus, white bite, clams and green mussel or Eggplant Parmigiana for vegetarians made with eggplant, tomato sauce, basil, mozzarella cheese, parmesan cheese and roasted vegetables.

For the full a la carte menu, please visit http://singapore.grand.hyatt.com/en/hotel/dining/PetesPlace.html

Pete’s Place
Basement, Grand Hyatt Singapore, 10 Scotts Road, Singapore 228211
Tel: 6732 1234
Opening Hours: Lunch: 12pm to 3pm (lunch), 6pm to 11pm (Dinner), 11:30am to 2:30pm (Sunday Brunch)

Joh Ju is a PR professional specialising in B2B communications for clients in life sciences and hi-technology industries. Outside of work, she enjoys exploring Singapore for unique finds and good food that can be shared with her friends, family and the odd strays in the neighbourhood.

Author: JohJu
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