Situated along a busy street along the outskirts of town, the address for Richie's Pasta House is at 221 Balestier Road, Rocca Balestier, Singapore 329928 and the number for reservations is 6356 5656.
Having driven by this neat little restaurant many times, I have wondered if the food is good, since the tables are always filled with diners at night. Finally, I got the chance to experience it for myself.
Yes, this is a small, non-fussy, non-pretentious alfresco-dining only restaurant along the busy stretch of road at Balestier Road. Like all Italian casual restaurants, the restaurant features square tables with red-and-white checkered table cloths. We took a seat, and were given the menus to browse through.
There were only one or two service crew on duty, hence it took a while to get their attention, but we managed to place our order eventually.
Everything looked tempting on the menu, therefore we decided to order a number of sides for sharing, to start with.
Bread starter? No, there wasn't any. No worries, we were not expecting much, really.
The Smoked Salmon Salad came first - slabs of smooth, not-too-salty, succulent salmon paired with sweetly crispy fresh lettuce - this was delicious! Besides the overall good taste factor, the crunch factor was there too. I loved how the smoked salmon was not too salty or dry, as most other places' tend to be. You can even see from the photo (as above) the sheen of shine to it, indicating a soft, juicy slab of fresh salmon.
Next, the Sauteed Scallops in a sweetish, tomato herb sauce. The large juicy scallops were sumptuous, and infused in the flavor of the sauce, made every bite a superb pleasure. This exceeded our expectations for sure.
We also delved greedily into the Clams in White Wine Sauce. I am a clams fan, hence it is not easy for me to be objective here, but I thought this dish very enjoyable as well. The white wine sauce was rich, making every piece of wine-soaked clam flesh a good chew.
Finally, the last appetiser we had was the Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms. The large, soft, juicy mushroom stuffed with cheese fillings, baked to perfection, was good to our tongues as well.
Our first shared entrée, the Seafood Marinara (pasta) in cream sauce, was very scrumptious as well. The pasta was cooked just nice - not too hard or soft; soaking up the tasty gravy. The seafood - prawns, mussels, scallops, squids- was rather generous in portion as well. Freshness factor, so-so, but taste factor, it definitely surpassed expectation.
The next main course, the Squid Ink Seafood Spaghetti looked rather interesting - all covered in black (my favorite color, no worries). Contrary to the Seafood Marinara, this pasta dish was a tad dry and hard. We figured that perhaps the ink was not very mucn liquid to begin with, hence got absorbed by the pasta rather quickly, infusing it with the unique taste. The seafood portion was generous too, though.
It was a very pleasant meal for an area that skirted the fringes of town, and in a small, modest restaurant as such. This place is good for friends or families to gather for a nice meal without having to worry about dressing up or driving elsewhere to find decent Italian food.
We spent around SGD$55.00 per person.
The real bummer was the mode of payment - they only accepted cash. Yes, cash, not Nets, not Master, not Visa. I had to walk to the nearest Auto-Teller Machine (ATM) to withdraw cash as we both thought we could use cards. This, we feedbacked to the restaurant but apparently on our second visit sometime later, the mode of payment was still the same. This makes it rather inconvenient, especially if people order bottles of wine to go along with their meals. Anyway, bear in mind that if you wish to dine here, prepare cash for the bill afterwards.