The Pasta Stop: Upscale Italian menu goes hawker-style

The folks behind fancy Italian restaurant Ristorante da Valentino are now serving up cheap and cheerful hawker fare at THE PASTA STOP. Yes, you read that right

Pasta la vista, baby
Pasta la vista, baby
13 Oct 2015

Pasta la vista, baby

Are you serious? We won’t lie: that was our first thought when we heard that Ristorante da Valentino’s Valentino Valtulina was headed to the heartlands to set up an Italian and western food stall in a hawker centre tucked behind a community centre in Hougang.

The environs are clean, airy, and there’s ample space between tables. For years, the 41-year-old chef-owner has been serving up fine Italian fare at the Turf Club Road restaurant that’s a fave among celebs like K-popsters BigBang, Nicholas Tse, Jackie Chan, and Elvin Ng. So why a hawker stall now?

“We were approached to set up a stall here [by the owners of the hawker centre]. And we wanted to reach a bigger crowd, to show people our Italian culture and what we eat on a daily basis,” says Valentino with a slight Singaporean twang (he’s been living here for 18 years).

You won’t find the affable chef slaving over the stove at the two-month-old hawker stall — it’s run by a local chef who’s been working at the restaurant for eight years — though it’s not uncommon for him to spring a surprise visit every now and then. “The restaurant and The Pasta Stop stall are two separate entities and concepts,” says Alberto Tolari (right), company director and Valentino’s brother-in-law. The menu here is entirely different from the restaurant, obviously. Pastas here average about $7, while those at Ristorante da Valentino will set you back by about $25. To keep things really affordable at The Pasta Stop, wallet-friendly ingredients are used. And while homemade pasta is used at the restaurant, it’s ready-made pasta at the hawker stall. That said, the ingredients, sides, and sauces used here are prepared at the restaurant every morning. 

Chicken pasta ($7.50)
Chicken pasta ($7.50)
13 Oct 2015

Chicken pasta ($7.50)

Shell pasta and roast chicken chunks drowned in a rich pink tomato and cream sauce with a dash of spice. Simple, hearty, and yum.

Chicken chop ($7)
Chicken chop ($7)
13 Oct 2015

Chicken chop ($7)

This spiffed up version of the chicken chop is marinated in spices and served with a mix of fries (including sweet potato fries). The best part of this dish is the lovely tangy homemade sauce made from chilli and “other secret ingredients”. We found ourselves eating more fries just so we could dunk them in this sauce.

Aglio olio seafood ($8)
Aglio olio seafood ($8)
13 Oct 2015

Aglio olio seafood ($8)

Fairly decent. The spaghetti is nicely al dente; the mussels, squid and prawns, fresh.

BOTTOM LINE: Prices are slightly higher than standard western food hawker dishes, but the grub is also fancier. This is posh, as far as hawker centre western food stalls go.

#01-27 Ci Yuan Hawker Centre, 51 Hougang Ave 9. Open daily 10am to 10pm. Last orders at closing.
 

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