With the opening of National Gallery, the F&B scene in Singapore has become more vibrant than ever – with exciting establishments serving up quality food that is on par with that of a five-star hotel, with an edge. In the first of this series, I’ll be introducing the ever popular Aura Italian Restaurant. I tried reserving a table twice and was unsuccessful until I had my reservation done a week in advance. Aura has 2 concepts – the Italian Restaurant, a 90-seater contemporary restaurant on the 5th level with a well-stocked cellar, and the Sky Lounge on the 6th level, which is a massive 300-seater rooftop bar that boasts a gorgeous skyline of the CBD, facing the Padang.
Christmas is on its way!
I was blown away by the major use of marble at the booth seats, which made the entire setting really grand. Throughout my brunch, my eyes were peeled to all the wonderful interior decor around me. On weekends, a brunch set menu at $48++ per person is served at Aura. The set menu includes a sharing appetiser, a main, a dessert and tea or coffee.
Complimentary Bread w Olive Powder
Appetiser (R-L): We were really delighted when we saw plates and plates of food being served at our table and these are just appetisers! Like true Italian style, these were really hearty.
Stracciatella & Tomato Bruschetta – The cheese was not pungent and blended well with the pesto topping. I wished the bruschetta bread was less soggy though.
Parma Ham w Musk Melon – Yummy parma ham which brought me straight back to Italy! Those thin melon slices were really sweet and juicy too.
Crab Crostini – Every bite was packed with genuine, unadulterated crabmeat. Tossed with what I believe to be cream and mayo, the texture was smooth and velvety. It’s those fillings where you just want to have a whole bowl of it, sans the bread.
Salt & Paprika Calamari – Not your usual crispy calamari, this was a toned down version of it where the batter was thin and light. Not entirely true to the integrity of calamari, the saving grace was the freshness of the squid and the rather yummy arrabbiata dipping sauce on the side.
Trofie w Truffle Pesto & Prawns (see below)
Stracci w Duck Ragu (see below)
Trofie w Truffle Pesto & Prawns – Handmade pasta is always the best! I absolutely loved the odd shape of the pasta – no two pieces were the same and this is the testament to the laborious routine of rolling and twisting of the pasta dough by the chefs in the kitchen. It just made me more appreciative of the works behind each dish here. The truffle flavour was very distinct and went extremely well with this thin, long trofie pasta that seems to serve the function of maximising the coating of gravy on them. Deliciouso!
Stracci w Duck Ragu – I tend to shy away from duck pasta as I find the gamey taste of duck especially strong in Italian cuisine. My fears were unfounded at Aura as this tasted fantastic. There was a nice fragrant and taste to the pasta that makes you go “mmmmm~” at the first spoonful.
Main Option 1: Black Cod w Tomato & Herb Crust – Thankfully, the portion of the mains were more manageable. The cod was firm and well-cooked, with slices of meat falling off gently upon probing. With quality ingredients, I don’t see how bad a dish could go!
Main Option 2: Hokkaido Scallops w Porcini & Beetroot – There’s a 3rd option of beef but I was more in the mood for scallops. The portion may seem puny but trust me, after all the starters, you’ll be thankful when served with just 2 scallops. Again, simple execution that speaks volume.
Dessert Option 1: Bailey’s & Hazelnut Feaillantine – No meal is complete without desserts. Judging by the plating, it’s a 5-star for me, don’t you agree? Taste-wise, it did not disappoint either. Segmenting the flavours by its layers, they come together as a dream combo. The cream is spiked with bailey’s while the chocolate fudge in the middle was dark and rich, and at the bottom of them was a crunchy hazelnut-biscuit base. #bestthingever
Dessert Option 2: Mango & Coconut Trifle – Beautiful plating again! Within the dome is layers of coconut cream, sponge and mango. I wished I took a photo of the cross-section of the pastry as it was so neat – it seemed as though the dome was mathematically constructed. The mango cubes on the side were sour and contrasted well with the sweet mango within. Great flavours!
Latte, which is included in the set.
Virgin Mojito without mint leaves – instant cooler!
Don’t forget to give the National Gallery a visit after your meal! I promise every turn and corner is beautiful. #proudSingaporean
Aura has left a deep impression in me and my folks. I hope that they would change their brunch set menu regularly so that there are more reasons for me to be back! Meanwhile, I can’t wait to head over to their rooftop bar to check out that killer view.
Aura Italian Restaurant
1 St Andrews Road
#05-03 National Gallery Singapore
Tel: 6866 1977
Lunch – 12 noon to 2:30pm
Dinner – 6:30pm to 10:30pm