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I’ve no idea where is K gonna take me for dinner on New Year’s Eve but I hope it will be as good a choice as Trattoria Nonna Lina! Available till 31st December and in the spirit of year-end camaraderie, this authentic Italian restaurant with a homey ambiance and friendly service is offering a specially crafted sharing menu of 5 appetizers, 3 mains and 2 desserts ($168++ per pax). Yippee, that’s a lot of food!

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The New Year Menu starts off with a refreshing octopus salad, seasonal Canadian oysters with lemon dressing, classic smoked salmon crostini, homemade seafood ragu on toasted homemade bread and a lobster bisque, which is a traditional Tuscan seafood recipe popular with New Year’s celebrations.

Insalata di Polpo
a tuscan seaside recipe featuring tender morsels of slow-cooked octopus

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Have you noticed that there’s no meat so far? According to owner-chef Simone, a native of Porto Santo Stefano in Tuscany, people over there feast on meat during Christmas (carnivores rejoice!) and then it’s an all seafood diet when New Year comes around (pescetarians rejoice!) so basically, Xmas = meat, New Year = seafood, haha.

Crostini al Salmone
premium norwegian ocean-caught salmon on toasted homemade bread

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I was initially worried that ordering another octopus starter off the a la carte menu would be an overkill since we already had the octopus salad. Luckily we didn’t cancel! The tender baby octopus absorbed the earthy flavour of the porcini mushrooms and it was an explosion of umami! I’ve been convinced that no chewy and rubbery octopus will come out of Chef’s kitchen!

Polpetti e Porcini ($25++)
baby octopus and porcini mushrooms in prosecco reduction

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K can’t live without his meat so the fresh beef carpaccio perfumed with truffle oil was all his to savour. This is an ideal dish to share as the generous portion can easily feed 3-4 pax.

Carpaccio di Manzo con Porcini ($24++)
fine slices of raw beef with truffle oil and porcini mushroom dressing

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Back to the New Year Menu (hope I’m not confusing you lol). Mains include gnocchi (made with minimal flour) cooked with clams, Italian “snowball” and cacciucco, Nonna Lina’s popular Tuscan style seafood stew featuring assorted seafood slow-cooked in thick broth and served with homemade bread.

Gnochetti Vongole e Chardonnay
traditional homemade potato dumplings with clams in a chardonnay reduction

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What stole my heart was the plate of “snowball” – so-called because Chef formed a unique medley of seafood, herbs, and ricotta cheese into the shape of a “snowball”. Texture was crumbly soft and the taste was surprisingly not too cheesy. Amazing stuff, I’ve never had anything quite like it before!

Palle di Neve
an exclusive secret family recipe and drizzled with fish ragu

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The pan fried cod fish from the a la carte menu sounded something I’d like and bingo! Although the sauce smothering the fish was very creamy and heavy, it was a wonderful pairing with the naturally oily and silky cod.

Merluzzo della Nonna ($40++)
pan fried cod with pine nuts in lemon sauce reduction

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While I had my cod to make me happy, K had his dream dish – a mix grill of beef, lamb and sausages with baked potatoes. Good quality meat and expert cooking by Chef left K with nothing but praises.

Grigliata di Terra ($48++)
tenderloin, lamb rack, Italian sausages marinated in barolo wine over 36 hours

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After a taste of the homemade chocolate and rum pudding, I totally understand why is this a house favourite! We were floored. Stunned. Speechless. It was too good, very smooth, insanely rich, potently alcoholic, and words are inadequate. K said this is one of the top 3 desserts of 2014 (I haven’t decide what’s the other two heh) and I have to agree. Of course it has to be a part of the New Year Menu!

Bonet Argentarino ($16++)
traditional italian chocolate and rum pudding with homemade caramel sauce (contains alcohol)

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Can’t end an Italian meal without tiramisu! Nice but nothing as memorable as the chocolate and rum pudding… Which I’m craving for now!

Homemade Tiramisu ($12++)

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My thanks to Valerie and Chef Simone for hosting dinner!

Trattoria Nonna Lina
61 Cantonment Road
6222 0930

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