La Cantina in Venezia, Changi Village Hotel, Singapore

I’ve been here so many times I can’t even count the number of visits on both hands and I was appalled at how I’ve given this place the cold shoulder on this space of mine. So I’m making up for it by sharing all the dishes I’ve tried at this dining delight and I hope you find at least one dish that appeals to your buds, and I mean taste buds at that.

Nestled at the east end of Singapore, La Cantina in Venezia overlooks the lush greenery and shore of our island to provide a tranquil dining environment. I have rotated my dining experience from outdoor to indoor, lower deck to upper deck [pictured above] and I would suggest first time diners to take the alfresco seating overlooking the sea for an unforgettable experience. That lingering kiss of sea breeze, a sip of good white and you’ll feel all the frustrations and tension melt away from your shoulders as you relax into your seat.

I usually arrive famished from the long drive to what I would refer to as the ‘outskirts’ of Singapore and am always thankful for the hospitable greeting in a basket.

No complications, no fancy-schmancy pretentious appetizers, just straightforward well-baked bread. This home baked goodness evokes the image of an Italian mother dedicating her life to the ‘soul [sole]’ duty of feeding her family of 12 [don’t ask me where I got that number from], never wavering in her dedication and always producing the best for the satisfaction of her family. Served warm with olive vinegarette on the side, I always tell myself to go easy on the bread but ‘once you start, you can’t stop.’

Starting with cold antipasti, the Caprese is a staple order for me every visit for that unbeatable freshness of the tomato, the light creaminess of the buffalo mozarella, finished with the fragrant olive pesto drizzle for simple contrasts of textures and harmony of flavors that lingers on your tongue. Be sure to have fresh ground pepper sprinkled on just before you tuck in for that heightened flavor. Another good option is the Proscuitto E Melone if you’re in a large group and can afford more appetizers.

Just because we’re Singaporeans and we all love our fried food, the Calamari features regularly at our table and is a safe option for the hot antipasti. It’s not the best calamari I’ve tasted but somehow we just can’t keep ourselves from ordering it especially since I have calamari lovers for pals.

A sucker for thin crust pizza,  La Cantina delivers crisp goodness in a slice with sufficient bite and weight that distinguishes and prevents it from turning into a cracker. Pictured above is the Parma Porcini, my choice selection, for its hearty satisfaction – the thin crust is topped with a layer of pomodoro [tomato sauce] for that sweetness and tartness as a base, layer in the mozzarella for the gooey creaminess and touch of saltiness, add to that a generous spread of succulent italian mushrooms finished with a fresh and generous layer of parma ham. Is that a winning combination or what? The menu at  La Cantina offers a selection of 20 different pizza toppings to suit your palette and balance your table’s orders of need for options. If you are seeking a vegetarian balance to counter heavy meat orders, go for the Funghi Porcini that is equally heavenly.

Moving on swiftly to pasta and risotto, I do admit that the choice of 22 different dishes can be daunting to power through but those in the know would agree that the Linguine Al Granchio is the reason why every first-timer visits and why every repeat customer returns. This crabmeat linguine comes with generous chunks of crabmeat unlike the pretentious scrapes we get at most other restaurants. Tossed in a creamy tomato sauce, this is the winning factor of the dish as the sauce is perfectly balanced and leaves the diner diving in for more. I usually add a splash of tobasco sauce for that kick in a bite but it tastes perfect as served.

An alternative to crabmeat is the lobster option which is seasonally available only. When I tried this, I found the flavor to be wanting and preferred the regular Linguine Al Granchio to the fancier version.

Another pasta dish that I can’t stay away from is the Linguine Al Nerro Di Seppia which translates simply to squid ink linguine. A personal affection of mine, it is again not the best I’ve had but if given the liberty to order another pasta dish, this is my go-to due to my simple attraction to squid ink.

Main courses are also available and you cannot go wrong with the Filetto Di Manzo Al Gorgonzola. Medium rare tenderloin topped with gorgonzola cheese sauce, paired with the flavorful roquette, this dish goes straight to your heart. Most times, sides are neglected on dishes like this but the potato chunks on this is roasted perfectly that it actually leaves you craving for more.

If you’re a regular patron and are tired of the regular menu offering, La Cantina offers specials so if you’re not informed upon menu presentation, do check in with the staff on the special for the day. Being adventurous on one of my visits, I ordered the Lambshank Risotto just for a change of pace. The lambshank was cooked just right and the tender slices of meat fell of the bone by the forkful. Didn’t quite agree on the direction as the flavors were pretty mediterranean but I can’t deny the skill that went into the execution of this dish.

Despite my repeat visits, it is evident that I’m not an adventurous eater and am not out to taste test the entire menu. As mentioned, repeat visits are the result of the addictive flavor of the Linguine Al Granchio and I’ve clearly fallen victim to it.

GETTING THERE

Opening Hours: 
Tue to Fri
11am to 3pm and 6pm till Late
Weekends
11am till Late

Tel: (65) 6546 9190 Fax: (65) 6546 9153

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