La Ristrettos is the very epitome of a hidden gem. It's squared away deep in the bowels of the Novena Medical Centre, and thus so secluded, that you'd have to be looking for it to actually find it. Or else, happen to be a patient of the few medical outfits abutting the cafe.
Very possibly the best eat in the Novena Square vicinity, La Ristrettos serves up brunch like fare with aplomb. The icing on the cake is the price-points, which, at about $15 a dish, are akin to the prices in the brunch capital of the world, Melbourne. For those who aren't familiar with Melbourne's brunch, that makes La Ristrettos one of the cheapest purveyors of brunch foods in SG.
The low prices may be due to the low rent tagged to the isolated shop space (there is like zero foot traffic here), OR it may be due to the fact that air-conditioning is, for all intents and purposes, non-existent here. It was so stuffy and muggy indoors, that sitting alfresco in the little garden nook, braving the sweltering heat of the afternoon sun was marginally better. At least you get the occasional breeze outdoors.
The Smoked Duck Breast ($14), accompanied by a pancetta-swaddled asparagus spear, fried potato cake, and pesto topped poached egg, was flavoured with a drizzle of honeyed wholegrain mustard glaze. The duck breast was fantastic, rich and luscious, and not at all gamey.
A must-try, the Breakfast Crab Cake ($15), stacked with avocado, potato cake, a grilled pancetta strip, pesto-dressed rocket leaves, a side of poached egg, and finished with balsamic sauce, was insanely good. The plate was incredibly balanced, and that crabcake, ooh la la, amazing!!
The Grigliata Oceania ($14.90), a seafood salad of grilled prawns and scallops set upon cherry tomatoes, mesclun greens, croutons and parmesan was pedestrian, in no small part thanks to the low-grade parmesan, which powdery insipid texture was reminscent of those kraft-branded pre-grated crap. The greens weren't exactly the sweetest either. Such a letdown to the decent shellfish.
Coffee is a big big thing at La Ristrettos, and it's excellent here. The Caffe Latte ($5.50 each), a potent, heady concoction of creamy froth, was a superb perk-me-up.
10 Sinaran Drive
Novena Medical Centre #08-37
Tel: 6397 7165
Open weekdays from 8am to 6pm;
Saturdays from 8am to 2pm;
Closed on Sundays