Conveniently located a stone’s throw way from Outram Park MRT is Trattoria Nonna Lina. Serving up quality Italian cuisine, it serves as a hearty alternative to all the hipster cafes dotted around the Cantonment area.
Whether you classify yourself as the most discerning of Italian food lovers or are just dipping your toes into something a step above takeout pasta and pizzas, Trattoria Nonna Lina is a safe bet.
Complimentary bruschetta is served to each diner, a sign of traditional Italian hospitality as well as a great way to kickstart the meal. The crunchy baguette crust gives way to a bed tangy tomatoes atop fluffy bread. While unassuming in appearance, the tomato spread boasts a perfect blend of olive oil, seasoning, and fresh herbs. Simple by nature yet delicately complex in flavour, these small bites will certainly whet your appetite.
Far too accustomed to calamari with thick coatings of batter slathered to the point of engulfing the squid, I questioned whether these would be adequately flavourful. As it turns out, the feather-light layer of fried batter is exactly what enables the fresh tastes and textures of the seafood to shine through. The batter accentuated the squid with just the right amount of crisp and saltiness, and paired well with the two accompanying sauces: classic tartar sauce, and an arrabiata sauce with a nice spicy kick.
This appetizer is a must-have for meat lovers who don’t want to sacrifice their tummy space before the main courses with anything too heavy. Tender slivers of beef are drizzled with olive oil and topped, half with minced porcini mushroom and the rest with melted gorgonzola. The former provides an earthy taste that’s strong in aroma, while the gooey cheese and beef combination of the latter is exquisitely savoury and slides down your throat.
Only after trying this did I realize that all other forms of gnocchi I’ve had in my life prior, were overly flour-y chunks of dough that paled greatly in comparison. Trattoria Nonna Lina’s version are no less than pillowy soft, perfect nibbles that give way to mini mounds of actual potato. These fun little dumplings come bathed in a scrumptious beef and tomato sauce, generously sprinkled with parmesan and are sure to be a hit among both adults and kids alike.
I’ll admit that lamb doesn’t rank at the top of my favourite meats, but these smokey grilled racks were beyond succulent and not gamey in the least. Marinated beautifully in Tuscan wine and herbs, the lamb meat tasted divine and was so tender it cut like a knife through butter. Served with a roasted vegetable medley, it also comes with a small side of balsamic vinaigrette, and its own juices from the cooking process so that not a drop of that fragrant goodness goes to waste.
Chocoholics, rejoice! This traditional Italian chocolate pudding makes for a sinful way to round up the meal, with a substantial dose of rum infused. This elegant dessert comes with homemade caramel sauce and sour berries, which are great to cut through the richness of it all. Those who aren’t such fans of alcohol tastes, beware. The addition of rum is so abundant that it practically spurts out of the pudding with each mouthful.
In a cozy, homely setting with wonderful friendly service, there’s no better place to enjoy good ol’ fashioned Italian fare. Ideal for date night or a casual weekend lunch with the family, Trattoria Nonna Lina has a wide range of menu choices such that you can try something new with each visit, whether you’re hankering for authentic pasta or a nourishing platter of meats.
Trattoria Nonna Lina
61 Cantonment Rd
Tuesdays to Sundays: 12.00pm – 2.30pm, 6.00pm – 10.30pm
Closed on Mondays.
***This was a hosted tasting.***