Known simply as garlic and oil, aglio olio has gone on a long way to establish itself as one of the three integral pasta sauces in Italy along with the cream sauce and tomato sauce. The Aglio Olio Bistro located at Murray Street is the sister outlet to the original Aglio Olio in China Square Central. It aims to dish up delectable pasta dishes to whet the appetites of Singaporeans. Established for four months, this restaurant distinguishes itself by serving Italian fare with a local touch. Since its inauguration, office executives from the nearby Central business district have been streaming in to savour its unique pasta dishes, each having a variation of 4 levels of spiciness to suit local palates.
The Vibe Stepping into t he lounge-like bistro, which exudes a chic and romantic vibe, makes you feel like bringing your date along for a candle-lit dinner. The unique lamps set upon each table feature candles housed in pretty little lantern glasses, throwing a flickering warmth to complement the interior décor. Black and brown woody walls set a tranquil atmosphere for indoor dining whilst outdoor seats are also available for those who prefer to dine al-fresco.
The Food Begin your meal with the crispy mushroom nuggets ($7.90), which are made with fresh mushrooms coated with batter and deep fried to a golden brown. They are served with a sweet Thai dip that goes well with the mushroom nuggets. This dish makes good finger food when served piping hot! For added mushroom mania, try the black pepper Portobello mushroom with cheese ($9.90). The mushroom is topped with black pepper sauce and cheese, served with salad and potato wedges. I found the black pepper sauce a tad too strong as it masks the original taste of the mushroom itself.
The pasta dishes are the soul of the bistro and the chef take great pride in being able to serve pasta with a Singaporean twist. Each pasta dish can take on 4 different levels of spiciness. The chef's deliberate choice to add chilli padi instead of the normal chilli flakes gives the pasta an extra oomph in each pasta sauce. My taste buds were revived upon trying the cream bacon pasta ($9.90) that was cooked at the extra spicy level (level 4). The addition of chilli padi gave the sauce an added kick to the otherwise mundane cream sauce with strips of sliced bacon and sliced mushrooms.
The seafood olio pasta ($9.90) remains a hit with the bistro's customers. The pasta is well tossed with olive oil and chili bits and comes with fresh seafood. The beef tomato ($9.90) pasta has chewy minced beef drenched in tomato sauce. I personally found the tomato sauce a bit too light in taste.
Pizza was next on the cards. We tried the assorted sausages with mushrooms pizza ($10.90), which carried a light cheesy taste. A testament of the chef's craft towards pizza can be seen through the crispy crust of the pizza. The crust was thin and crisp which brought out the rich savoury taste of the sausages. The seafood tom yam pizza ($12.90) brought back memories of Thai cuisine, as a bite of the pizza was reminiscent of the good old tom yam soup. The evident lemon grass flavour brought the best out of the seafood as its freshness was enhanced.
To round it off, we had a brownie with chocolate ice-cream ($4.90) for dessert. The warm brownie, still smoking after being microwaved, had a rich chocolaty taste that is perfect with the nuts sprinkled within. Top the brownie off with a scoop of ice-cream and you have a sinful dessert, which may trigger you to hit the gym soon after!
The Service The people at Aglio Olio are affable to their customers and the service is prompt. The waiters are polite and are always watchful if a customer has a need. The black uniforms give the waiters a prim and proper image, giving assurance to every customer. Do ask for recommendations if you are there for the first time and they will be more than willing to let you in on their signature dishes.
The SD Food Advisor's take on The Aglio Olio Bistro The bistro, with its magnificent setting for an intimate meal, is ideal for an evening out with that special someone. The menu is reasonably priced and that makes it a prime place for those on a budget as well. I personally like the ambience and to be able to dine at a pasta place with a unique local flavour, is a pleasure that's uncommon in town.