Appetizer of parma ham at La Braceria, Singapore.

Slices of velvety smooth, salty-sweet Prosciutto – Italian ham – served as antipasti – before the main course, at La Braceria at 5 Greendale Avenue, Singapore.
Photo © Cheryl M. Cordeiro-Nilsson for CMC 2010

For the small community of Italians in Singapore, La Braceria is like a home away from home. Tucked away in a residential cove off 6th Ave, even the entrance of the restaurant is obscured by large, leafy potted plants, so that when you walk in, you feel as if you’re walking into a private garden of your very own.

Quiet and cozy, the interior is not large at all, though warmly lit. What immediately caught my eye was the brick pizza oven that features prominently behind the counter near the kitchen entrance, making it the sort of kitchen I would yearn to have at home.

At La Braceria IV, Singapore.

In the middle Fabio Iannone, with friends.

At La Braceria II, Singapore.

At La Braceria III, Singapore.

In good company.

The crowd at La Braceria is distinct, willfully understated and elegant. Dressed mostly in smart casual, they are people who enjoy good food and wine and take their time doing so. You can expect too, to meet an eclectic mix of Europeans and Singaporeans alike at the restaurant.

Brick pizza oven at La Braceria, Singapore.

Love at first sight! A brick pizza oven that made me yearn for one of my own at home.

Selection of wines at La Braceria, Singapore.

At this evening, we had the pleasure of being offered to sample a number of interesting wines of which I particularly enjoyed the ones from Tuscany, Italy – Tolaini Al Passo and Vignamaggio Obsession – as Tuscany is close to my heart. The Carlo Pellegrino Zibibbo from Sicily, Italy wasn’t bad either.

In the good hands of the Iannones, owners of the restaurant and with Chef Mauro elivering dish after dish of authentic southern Italian cuisine, it’s a perfect place to spend an evening with a group of friends where time will pass in a blink of an eye without you feeling any urgency to leave the place. Having its own wine cellar also helps the languid evening on if you’d like to simply spend time exploring the various types of wines La Braceria offers.

Originally from the Amalfi Coast or Costiera Amalfitana in Italian, a rugged and amazingly scenic stretch of coastline south of Napoli – the actual birthplace of the Italian pizza – the Iannone family arrived in Singapore some fifteen years ago, working in the food and beverages industry.

In Italy there is always a culinary adventure awaiting you around every corner, and the Amalfi Coast is no exception, tracing its history back to the Roman empire and beyond. The villages along the Amalfi Coast are all located near small beaches, with deep high valleys running down to the sea making driving a nightmare, but a beautifully scenic one.

Where the Iannones come from, you’ll find a traditional interplay between sea, land, trade and agriculture. These characteristics inevitably show up in a rustic cooking tradition with a keen eye on the quality of the produce and with a special appreciation of seafood.

La Braceria, Menu, Singapore.

A discovery of what is Italian.

Margherita pizza, La Braceria, Singapore.

Margherita Pizza, La Braceria, Singapore.

Something that I appreciate about La Braceria, apart from its sincere efforts at bringing good Italian food to Singapore, is that the restaurant is run in true Italian style, with little dilution of the Italian culture. The food at the restaurant not only reflects the heart of their own culinary heritage but of its people, where it’s here that you’ll find the heartbeat of Italy running simpatico in Singapore.

I find this cozy restaurant different in its marketing approach, far from the hard sell, glitzy dining places that Singapore can sometimes be known for, especially for international food. Offering a small piece of Italy in Singapore, this restaurant is a gem and a much recommended dining experience in my view.

The evening was a wonderful mix of culinary and travel adventures, in exchange of stories from Italy, the sights and sounds in Rome, from ruins to modernity, the conversation flitting too, to the various wine producing regions that span between Florence and Rome.