SINGAPORE — Am I the only person who just found out that Great World City is now, and forever, known as just Great World? Because now, being just a city is insufficient, at least not with the extensive and intensive renovation that has taken place within these hallowed walls—a facelift a long time coming.
It is here that Da Paolo has chosen to launch their eighth Gastronomia to mark their 32nd year of bringing Italian culinary pleasures to Singaporeans. And what great timing, with the Great World MRT Station scheduled to open next year, bringing visitors from all over the island conveniently and directly to the doorstep of the mall.
I, of course, am completely in love with the Da Paolo brand, a restaurant I can count on for the most generous glass of Iced Flat White or Iced Mocha, made with a unique blend of Robusta and Arabica beans. My favourite outlet is Raffles City, where the staff knows me by my order and always tries their best to get me a seat by the fountain. There’s just something about water splashing against ceramics that is so conducive to writing reviews such as this one.
For their eighth, Da Paolo is shaking things up by serving up a fresh morning and evening menu and a new retail section modelled after a European marketplace in bustling Tuscany. Being a card-carrying member of the Da Paolo fraternity, I was invited for lunch one afternoon where they plied me with much too much food—things I never knew Da Paolo could cook up. I do, after all, go there just for coffee and the occasional Pistachio Tiramisu.
First, they fed me Avocado Toast (S$12++) and Scrambled Eggs on Toast (S$11++). I prefer the latter; creamy and golden scrambled cage-free eggs cooked till just an inch away from well-done, served with a sprinkling of Parmigiano Reggiano, chives, and black pepper, on toasted homemade sourdough. It’s a simple but dependable presentation of eggs that need little else to convince. I recommend you start here—at least to kickstart your day into the right gear.
The Green & Grains (S$13.90–S$16) bowl will have you fitness enthusiasts foaming at your mouth with its vast array of proteins, vegetables, grains, and carbs of your choosing, assembled on-site for a lunch that makes all those Spin sessions oh so worth the pain. The one I tried came with a Summer Barley Salad, Shredded Brussels Sprouts, Turnip & Cranberry Salad, Vegan Chickpea Hummus, and a beautifully seasoned Moroccan Chicken Thigh. It could well be the healthiest thing I eat this month—willingly.
Although I generally don’t eat where I write (it’s a thing, let it go), I have tried Da Paolo’s Tuna Melt Panini at Paragon and remembered thinking how simple, but how efficient. I’m reminded of it because of this plate of Salami & Sundried Tomatoes (S$18++), which, I’m convinced, is the best combination of savoury flavours in one compact package. It comes halved so you can see with your little eye the layered work of art that makes this such a great thing to eat at 3 pm. Sundried tomato mayo and caramelised onion were not a party I expected to like, but I did tremendously.
Drawing on their online-only Pasta Bar brand, the Great World outfit sees pasta offerings that I can only describe as incredibly authentic. Take, for instance, the Spaghettone Carbonara Calabrese (S$25++), which, on first impression, looks like something someone who abstains from greens would love. It is, in fact, a spin on the deeply traditional Carbonara, switching out Guanciale with Nduja. Or the Linguine Aglio Olio Calabrese (S$22++), which has a spicy enough kick to make me shed a tear or two. It is a serious delicately seasoned plate of Aglio Olio presented as is, with just Calabrian Chillies, Garlic, Olive Oil, Basil, parsley, and a little prayer for those who are spice-intolerant.
Suppose you’re looking for communal plates to share. In that case, I recommend getting the rustic and juicy Homemade Meatballs (S$14++) served with tomato sauce or the Rucola e Crudo (S$28++) pizza of Italian tomatoes, mozzarella, parma ham, rocket leaves, and shaved parmesan. The pizza looks like it came straight out of an Italian brick oven. In fact, it is. There’s an open pizza kitchen at the back with some serious looking dome oven where the flames leap up surely and fiercely.
To end, you can’t go wrong with a square serving of Da Paolo’s classic Tiramisu (S$15.90++). Here, the ladyfingers have been soaked with Marsala Wine for a nutty and caramelised flavour that pairs poetically with the mascarpone, espresso, cocoa powder, and shaved chocolates. If you are feeling a little fancy, you can do one better with the Pistachio Tiramisu. There’s also gelato if you’re up for it with flavours that will spoil you silly. For me, all I need is just a glass of Iced Flat White—well, that’s usually what I get at every visit in Da Paolo. But with this new Great World opening, I’d be a fool to not expand my repertoire just a little bit more.
1 Kim Seng Promenade, #01-163 Great World, S237994
Daily: 8am – 10pm