As a special treat for you, UrbanWire is giving away 1-for-1 dining vouchers. Simply click on the image below, print the voucher and make your way down to Cafeteria il Lido for some delectable Italian food. Terms and conditions apply.
Instead of paying $20 for an appetizer at their flagship restaurant il Lido on Sentosa, you could spend less than half of that for one in their second outlet downtown. Since its opening in Suntec City in August, Cafeteria il Lido, also run by Beppe De Vito, the well-known restaurateur and managing director of Italian dining and lounge bar in Sentosa, has presented a range of authentic Italian fare at prices below $20.
The menu offers a wide variety of dishes from appetizers which they term “nibbles”, to Italian staples like pasta and pizza, hearty meats, seafood and desserts. The list of drinks also include a selection of teas, coffees and even wines by the glass priced from $7.90 to $8.90. The diner exudes a relaxed atmosphere for both weekday and weekend meals.
Told of new additions to their menu, UrbanWire editors Shermaine Yeo and Janelle Li went down for lunch over at Cafeteria il Lido, and deliver their verdict on some of their recommended dishes.
Janelle: There are about 20 pieces in there, enough to be shared among 4-5 as a side dish. It smells really good, and when you bite into it the breaded skin crumbles, with a thick ring of calamari flesh for you to chew to your hearts’ content. The tartar sauce brings out the juiciness of the calamari, although it tastes good plain too.
Shermaine: This appetizer is scrumptiously tempting with chunky rings of calamari and at $7.90, the portion is well worth the price. The steaming hoops are savoury even without any dressing, but the tartar sauce proves to be a perfect complement, adding a sweet tang to the chewy pieces of squid that are coated with bread crumbs for that crunchy texture.
Janelle: Although it’s found under “Pastas” in the menu, it’s not actually very pasta-like. The best way to enjoy this unique dish is to take a bite into the shitake mushroom, gnocchi and cream sauce at the same time.
Shermaine: This dish may look plain with only 4 ingredients in the menu description, but this new addition to the selection of main courses is surprisingly palatable. The mushy and fluffy potato dumplings, generous serving of shitake mushrooms and light basil cream fuse well with each other and finishing the whole plate of gnocchi isn’t a problem as the frothy sauce isn’t cloying.
Janelle: I love oil-based pastas, so this one’s gotta be my favourite! The herbs are very fragrant, and there’re about 20 clams in this dish, for just $12.50. It may be a tad too oily for those who prefer the lighter tomato-based pasta dishes though.
Shermaine: The Spaghetti Vongole garnished with herbs and sliced red chilli, has a strong clam flavour and a spicy hint. The briny taste could be attributed to the almost equal portion of pasta and crustacean, as well as its name. Vongole is clam in Italian and you can’t go wrong with this chef’s special.
Four Cheese Pizza
Janelle: Cheese lovers will adore this pizza, with its thin crispy crust and generous cheese topping. If you eat each slice the conventional way from the pointed tip to the edge, you’ll also enjoy an increasing crunchiness and finish off noisily. The cheese flavours blend in without being overwhelming, with the strongest cheese flavour at the “ball” of fluffy cream cheese on each slice. You may not find any opportunity to chew, unlike meat-based pizzas that give you that satisfaction.
Shermaine: The aroma of this Four Cheese Pizza entices you the moment you catch a whiff of it. 12-inches of cheesy decadence with an unrivaled combination of Mozzarella, Mascarpone (the basic ingredient in Tiramisu), Parmesan and Cheddar, over a spread of tomato sauce. As if the mixture of dairy indulgence is not enough, a slab of cream cheese is placed on each of the 6 slices. This thin crust Italian fare that just screams cheese, incorporates a mysterious tangy and refreshing tomato dressing that becomes conspicuous nearer the edges as the cheese fades off. Starred as a chef’s special and my personal favourite.
Janelle: Another dish that melts in the mouth, like the Four Cheese Pizza. I expected to have to use my teeth a little before I swallow but I totally didn’t need to. The mashed potato right at the bottom added thickness to the sauce and overall richness of the flavour.
Shermaine: The goulash-like gravy full of shredded carrots, onions and celery, seems to find itself sitting halfway between eastern and western cuisine with a trace of french onion soup and a hint of spring roll filling that overwhelms taste buds. Another chef’s special, the chicken is stewed to a soft yet firm consistency that goes well with the sauce and mashed potato.
Janelle: The fish taste is pretty strong, while the tomato sauce has its own flavour. I’d have preferred if the sauce was thicker. I like how easy it is to cut a piece off the seabream and how fresh the meat is.
Shermaine: While this dish looked pretty promising, the 3 strong flavours of the seabream, olives and tomatoes didn’t seem to integrate well. But the distinctive ingredients when eaten separately, were worthy of the chef’s special note. The fish was firm and smooth and the tomato sauce was light and zesty. At $13.50, it’ll go some way to satisfy your seafood cravings.
Janelle: This doesn’t taste too different from other pork sausages, but the herbs added bonus points. Your stomach will definitely be filled when you’re faced with so much meat and irresistible fries sprinkled lightly with Paprika salt. The salad tasted a little dry though, so it would’ve been better if some dressing were available.
Shermaine: The fries are delectable thick cuts of potato seasoned with Paprika salt and the crisp strips of lettuce balance out the oil and meat from the sausage. Unfortunately for the first piece I sank my teeth into, I bit onto something hard. Well, on the whole the pepper and herb spiced up the pork sausage and gave it a better flavour.
Tuscan Prawn Frittata
Janelle: You can feel how fluffy the egg is just from slicing it open. There’re 4 large tiger prawns in it, which are really fresh to the point of being almost crunchy. There’s also a strong dairy smell from the egg, a strong indicator of just how much Parmesan cheese was added. I remember drinking lots of water after a few bites.
Shermaine: The frittata or Italian omelette had a chunky and spongy layer of baked egg and tiger prawns cooked to perfection. New on the menu, this dish is a pleasant fusion of seafood, eggs and dairy products. The crisp sides of the omelette gave an indication of cheese blended in the egg dish.
Janelle: I don’t like figs in general, so I kind of skipped those and went straight into the hot cheese pie. Together with the caramel orange slices this dessert is very, very sweet.
Shermaine: Dusted with icing sugar, this fluffy and soft cream cheese pie is served hot from the oven and decorated with sweetened citrus peel. Another chef’s special, the dessert is sweetened with orange caramel, which gives the pastry a delightful crust. While the fig was a challenge to try, I did pop 1 or 2 into my mouth. The texture is similar to stewed aubergine, while the seeds of the fruit add a crunch to the bite.
Janelle: I couldn’t taste the baked cream at the bottom at all, as the taste of the berries were so strong. The pudding-like texture also makes it hard to scoop just the baked cream without the fruits. Overall, I could only taste sourness, from both the berries and the cream.
Shermaine: The baked cream had an intense sour cream taste that overpowered the rest of the ingredients in the silky cream mixture. Lining the top of the glass was a tart wild berries sauce with fruity chunks of blueberries and cranberries, if I could hazard a guess.
Cafeteria il Lido details:
Address: B1-012 Suntec City Mall (around the fountain)
3 Temasek Boulevard
Tel: 6883 2341
11:30am-2:30pm, 5:30pm to 10:00pm