Angeleno for Classic Italian-American Food
A few significant birthdays are rapidly approaching 😉 so I’m working on a post that includes the best birthday restaurants. Whilst I dine out a lot, when a special occasion approaches, it’s time to really put some effort into choosing a venue. What you definitely DON’T want to do for your birthday is try somewhere new, only to find it’s awful. So it’s always good to have some handy ideas up your sleeve to suggest as options for those needing help with their birthday venue. Ideas that are pretty much guaranteed to make the event special.
Angeleno is definitely one to include on that list.
Angeleno is what I’d summarise as Luke’s with an Italian twist. Of course, being that Angeleno has been opened by none other than Travis Masiero of Luke’s, this comes as no surprise. Angeleno occupies the same space as the original Luke’s on Gemmill Lane. The room has been slightly modified but it still has a similar layout, look and feel.
Equally the staff included faces I recognise, and all seem to know what they’re doing, which is always a comfort. I enjoyed dinner at Angeleno with a few girlfriends recently, one of whom was back in Singapore after moving to Sydney. We needed somewhere special and that we knew service and food would be of th high standard that C expects. Not that I’m saying she’s a princess or anything (pot, kettle 😉 ).
The cocktail list was comforting, with a whole line up of options that revolve around negroni-esque concepts. The negroni itself is an Italian-American concoction (according to Angeleno anyway) which seems a good way to introduce us to the Italian-American menu. There’s no hiding the fact that Angeleno has the Italian classics at its heart, but it has definitely breathed a modern American feel into the cooking and dining experience.
The food started with a serving of crispy bread and a side of ricotta with olive oil and herbs. A lovely start to get the tastebuds excited.
Guessing that the main meals would be huge, we decided to share two main sized pastas to start ($37++ each). The portion size was perfect and I’m glad the waiter encouraged an upsize from the entree size we originally ordered. Both our choices were exceptional and I would actually have eaten more if it had been put in front of me (although I’m glad I didn’t because I never would have made it through my steak!) We went for the Cappellacci with roasted mushrooms, brown butter and sage. This pasta was divine. The cappellacci was made with celery root, which lent a lightness and slight acidity to the heaviness of the mushroom and brown butter. Honestly this was exceptional.
The next choice was orecchiette with spicy lamb, swiss chard, olives and mint. Another aldente pasta, with the perfect ratio of sauce to pasta, and a meatiness with the offset of olives and mint to lighten things up a little.
For mains we had: the grilled prime ribeye, the sirloin, the veal parmigiana chop and one (slightly out of place) order of scallops. I went for the wagyu sirloin ($75++). Whilst it was good, it wasn’t as good as Luke’s tenderloin, and the prime ribeye was far, far superior so I had a bit of food envy. I expect wagyu to have a decent bit of fat, even if it’s not presented with the grading, but this one didn’t have the flavour and was quite chewy and perhaps not cooked to the medium rare I requested. The ribeye ($95++) on the other hand (also medium rare) had a firmness, with a perfect medium rare done-ness and a slightly more charred crust.
What the rib eye didn’t have was good looks 😉 I’ve included the picture above, to show the whopping size of the steak. What I do wish is that the waiter had suggested we share one of these babies which would have worked out perfectly. The ribeye was truly an excellent piece of meat.
The pork chop was enormous, but divine. I had a small taste and it really was like an Italian style ‘parma’ and the meat was tender and tasty. And the scallops, well, they just seemed a bit inferior compared to the rest. I shouldn’t say that, I didn’t taste them, they did look lovely but with all the meat options they just didn’t hold the allure for me. I’m normally not madly carnivorous but I’ve been either eating either vegetarian or pescatarian through the week and I notice I’m craving meat (or iron) after a week or so.
We also shared a serve of brussells sprouts and asparagus, both cooked perfectly and good accompaniments with our heavy meals. My Francophile friend chose the wines and both were good, a Nebbiolo from Piedemonte ($160++) and a Nero d’Avola from Sicily ($190++). I personally would have gone for a New World option, not that they were any cheaper, but they would have packed more punch (IMO).
So as you can see, this is no run of the mill restaurant for dinner. In many ways Angeleno is very much like Luke’s, classic, charming and everything you want it to be, but just priced about 50% higher than you’d pay in Melbourne or Los Angeles, and probably 80% higher than in Tuscany.
20 Gemmill Lane, Singapore
phone +65 6221 6986 for reservations (recommended)
Open Monday to Saturday 12pm to 11pm