Chiefeater Review

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Ristorante Luka is Recommended

Post by Chiefeater Luke Soon

Ristorante Luka Tanjong Pagar combines Japanese and Italian cuisines into one. it’s no wonder Ristorante Luka is always fully booked! We got a table today - away from our usual haunts of River Valley & Orchard (or what locals call Districts 9/10). The usual foray into Tanjong Pagar unanimously known as K-town (Korea town) is for hansik. Today’s a little different.

The name “Luka” is inspired by Head Chef Takashi Okuno’s son Luke – who majorly loves pizzas. Another reason for me to visit! Located at 18 Tanjong Pagar Road, it is along the stretch of Korean restaurants, in the direction diagonally opposite Maxwell Food Centre.

The ovens at Ristorante Luka are built brick by brick, without using any prefabricated concrete slabs. This keeps a uniform temperature of 400°C to 500°C for baking Neapolitan pizza. I had my ‘baptism of pizza fire’ whilst in New York a few weeks back. NYC, apart from Napoli, is arguably the world’s pizza mecca.

Chef Takashi Okuno is no stranger to Italian food. His parents operate an Italian eatery in Tokyo, and he was previously from L’Operetta, Drinks & Co and brought Truffle Gourmet to Singapore.

As you can imagine, I had high hopes for anything coming out from Luka’s wood fire oven! The margherita my daughter ordered did not disappoint - it’s as good as the 10 or so pizzas I had in New York. Margherita is like a McDonald's index - the same filet o fish / Big Mac everywhere in the world. Same with pizza - our dipstick is the margherita. Gooey cheese (mozzarella) and thin crust bread melted in our mouths- and the fresh Italian basil used was sanctimonious. Delizioso!
Ristorante Luka

Next I went down their specials menu. I was emboldened after the vibes and the servers’ skilled recommendations with the white wine. I opted for the Hotaru Ika Bottarga Aglio Olio Pasta or Japanese Firefly Squid Aglio Olio Spaghetti. You know me - if you’ve read my reviews - spaghetti is the one of the easiest dishes, yet infinitely hard to master.

And the aglio olio is a perfect testament to the chef’s skills. The Japanese (and Italian) influence meant everything was seasonal - kinda like Omakase. The Firefly Squid was in season so we had to have that. The squid is umami packed - the entrails, or ink gives the spaghetti texture. And he used buccatini, a thick pasta, to lap up the garlicky sauce. Well executed and without the drippy sauce typical of southern Italy. Masterfully done!
Ristorante Luka

Next the oysters from Hyogo, Japan. These were something else altogether. Asian oysters are usually less creamy and briny (but generally larger in size). This was both! Larger in size and oozing flavours of the Japan sea. I chose to go without the ikura topping, to do justice to an ingredient that fresh. The right choice indeed.
Ristorante Luka

The dry seafood soup featured a fish called Kinmedai (Kinmedai (金目鯛 / Alfonsino). Kinmedai has a peculiar appearance; it is a bright red fish with very large eyes due to its preference for deep waters. A typical adult specimen will measure 12 inches in length, but can grow to two feet. It is most commonly fished in the waters south of Tokyo, particularly in Kanagawa and Shizuoka prefectures.

The Asari clams and red prawns were made into a bouillabaisse. The fish slices were seared with skin on aburi style, and was made the star of the soup. Sealing in all the flavours of fruitti di mare, the sun dried cherry tomatoes were made into the base as well of course. The olives provided the crunch. I rate the dry seafood soup 4.25 stars out of 5 stars.
Ristorante Luka

I’m beginning to favour Japanese chefs and their take on Italian classics; much like how they’ve turned the whisky world upside down. Both cultures pay close attention to seasonal ingredients - but the Japanese finesse makes it magical.

Total SGD200 for 3 pax including a bottle of wine. Ristorante Luka is recommended for week night outings with friends and colleagues surely.

Business Hours
Opens Daily
12:00 pm to 02:30 pm
05:30 pm to 10:30 pm

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