Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Trattoria Lafiandra Al Museo

Lafiandra Trattoria recently opened a new outlet at the Singapore Art Museum to complement its bustling business at the Prinsep Street outlet. Owned and operated by Chef Cataldo and his wife Brenda, Lafiandra has been highly recommended as a food centric casual Italian restaurant, which made it the natural choice for our monthly dinner.


Sitting pretty on the ground floor of the Singapore Art Museum (the former old SJI), Lafiandra has a very homely feel to it with its earthly shades, huge glass windows and murals painted on pseudo brick walls. High strung Italian music wafts through the air, which does seem a little at odds with the laid back ambience.


Drink for the Evening

Somehow I've never had a good impression of restaurants that DO NOT serve iced water, especially when even places like Morton's and Iggy's do so. That aside, I had asked for mineral water, but got served the more expensive still water instead. When quizzed, the waiter replied that he had already opened the bottle.

Cheapskate me was expecting complimentary bread as well, but I guess they are adopting the practise of not giving free bread, in line with restaurants in Italy.

Parma Ham with Mozzarella & Cannelloni

I didn't get to try any of the above items so no comments there.


A staple whenever I visit Italian eateries, the humble Bruschetta was reduced to nothing more than a joke at Lafiandra. Size wise, it was tiny and it didn't help that the bread was badly charred in many areas. Probably the only positive note was that it still tasted decent, albeit a bit too crispy from the burnt areas.

Seafood Soup

I was astonished by the amount of seafood that came with this dish. Ingredients wise, this has got to be the most generous I've ever seen. Sadly, thats where the compliments end. The seafood wasn't fresh and that extended to the soup, giving it a raw and pungent taste. I honestly never knew seafood soup could be that bad. I guess I was wrong.

Pizza Diavola, Pizza Con Porcini, Prosciutto Funghi & Pizza Prosciutto Crudo

The pizzas all had one thing in common - pathetic toppings. The crust was fairly thin but didn't quite cut it. Taste wise was decent but that's about it. It got to a point where I actually thought that one of the pizza was from Canadian Pizza.

Ossobuco Alla Milanese

In case you are wondering, no, this is not a tower of mud or something along that line. Its actually the very weird looking ossobuco. The meat was tender but some parts of it seemed a little too fatty and soft, which was plain gross. On a brighter note, the saffron risotto actually had a mild saffron taste, but it wasn't exactly my cup of tea.

Tagliata Di Manzo

I mistakenly thought that this dish was a salad when it got served and it isn't difficult to see why. The thin and miserly slices of ribeye were buried under a mountain of rocket leaves, which would have been acceptable if they had tasted decent. But no, they were terribly bland without even the basic beefy taste. When beef doesn't even taste like beef, then theres a huge problem.

Tiramisu & Panna Cotta

The preceding dishes were so disappointing that I dared not expect anything from the desserts. And rightfully so. The tiramisu had no taste of liquer and instead tasted like soya sauce. Texture wise was still decent though, a little fluffy and smooth. The panna cotta was the icing on the cake for the terrible meal thus far. Its texture tended way towards kueh - sticky and soft and the berry sauce just didn't fit the dessert.


One of the worst Italian dinners I've ever had cost the 8 of us $306, which is way out of this world for the inferior quality of food. I do not see how Lafiandra has made to the list of recommended restaurants and if this dinner is anything to go by, I'm staying very clear of the Prinsep street outlet as well.

Likes: Nice decor
Dislikes: Lousy food, service not up to par

Final Verdict:
Value for money:4/10


Address: #01-02 Singapore Art Museum, 171 Bras Basah Road

Contact: 68844035

Opening Hours: Daily: 12pm - 3pm, 6pm - 11pm


His Food Blog said...

Ouch! And the thought that I have a new place to visit makes it worse. This has been one of the worst reviews I have read from you thus far.

fatpig said...

Yeah its probably the worst. I really didn't expect it from them.

Anonymous said...

Wow liao. Very harsh review lei. But photos very nicely taken.

Does the pple at the restaurant know that your group is a group of food bloggers / critics?

If they do, they must be very stressed up in the kitchen.

Mel said...

Trust me, he wasn't blowing it out of proportion. I was part of the group.

The food was seriously terrible. Gosh..the seafood soup. Bleargh...

Fatpig, you didn't mention they charged $3.50 for a glass of iced tea and poured it from the SEASONS brand can right in front of the patron.

The entire meal was so bad it's actually funny, thinking back...

LiquidShaDow said...

I mentioned the iced tea in my entry. Not the price though. This place is as fatpig says it is. The seafood soup reeked.

HairyBerry said...

i cant get that disturbing sight of the ossobuco out of my mind...really...whats with all the wrong ossobucos, anyway?? haha!

if the tomato-base soup cant mask the funny taste of the seafood, something must be wrong...

yeah, the pizzas looked kinda uninteresting.

fatpig said...

Wow a flurry of comments lol. Lets just hope next month's dinner will be better.

Unknown said...

that is why i never trust reviews by local mags. "Oh, chef is Italian, must be good.. lets give him 3 stars !" bollocks, local "european" food in sg has no flare nor traditions..

The Bimbo said...

Man Reading your review brings back terrible memories...

Anonymous said...

i must really join in in your next monthly dinner. try to make it on a sat dinner can? hahaha

fatpig said...

ironchef: Unfortunately, next month's one would be on a Friday as well =(

Anonymous said...

I have tried the Prinsep street, only for pizza, and its was truly excellent- and I do know the difference between a good one and a bad one.

Sad to hear the new outlet is disappointing.
Thanks for the review

Mel said...

Ayee.. I believe the one at Prinsep should be decent, at the very least. I'm scared to try, though, after this meal marked an unpleasant end to the work week.

Is there even a proper chef at this branch? Or just some incompetent kitchen helpers?

It didn't look like the waiters and waitresses were properly trained in proper service standards either, judging by the way some of them behaved.

'Opened the bottle of expensive water already' indeed. The pimping of overpriced food and drinks to boost revenue is the one thing which puts me off. It's tolerable at a decent establishment, but a complete annoyance otherwise.

R said...

I hope no tourists would visit the restaurant! I bet it would seriously screw up their impressions of "local" food. If the tourists are Italians, they might a) think that local chefs can't cook. OR b) get really pissed when they find out an Italian chef owns it.

I haven't tried the food so I won't say anything about it. But judging from fp's review, I wouldn't go near it. I once called them up to ask about x'mas dinner and a certain Italian-sounding person picked up the phone. Maybe it was one of the staff but I honestly felt that the receiver had an Italian accent. Unfortunately or fortunately, the call did not went well. The receiver was rather impolite and brash. I gave up trying to ask about anything because it felt almost as if I was being oppressed. haha. And this is a true story.

fatpig said...

When I called an Italian guy picked up the phone as well. I'm guessing he was the owner or something.

R said...

Italian food is so good! Pity it gets messed up so often. Ah well...

Anonymous said...

As an Italian, I have to say this is one of the better Italian places in Singapore. I doubt this "food critic" knows Italian food. My fellow Italians agrees with me...

But maybe it is not adapted well enough to local Singaporean flavour.

I sense that the hostility is lagely due to the lack of free tap water.

fatpig said...

Hi anonymous, no offense but why should anyone believe that you are an Italian? You could be anyone hiding behind the anonymous title. We had quite a few people there that evening and everyone's consensus was the same, as evident by the various comments they posted on my entry. Perhaps you could substantiate your comments instead of passing generic comments like "dont know Italian food" or tasteless comments like "hostility is largely due to the lack of free tap water". Thank you.

Anonymous said...

I am local and have lived in Europe for 30 years so I know my food. I go to La Fiandra occasionally and always enjoy the food there, which is honest, down to earth cooking and certainly not overpriced. I have friends who appreciate good food and are widely travelled. They are of the same opinion regarding La Fiandra. They serve us ice water and bread if we ask nicely, but we tend not to gorge on bread as we know the portions are generous. If there are occasional hiccoughs, so be it. I have also eaten very indifferent or downright bad food in Singapore, but certainly never at La Fiandra.

fatpig said...

Hi anonymous, maybe you are talking about the outlet at Prinsep. If you see the comments by those who went with me that evening, you will realise how terrible our experience was. Maybe we were unlucky but bad experiences like this stick around for a long long time.