Kucina Italian - Halal Authentic Italian
“If you don’t put passion into your food, your food will never taste good.” These are the words of Chef Gero, the owner of Kucina Italian, which is the only halal authentic Italian restaurant in Singapore. Chef Gero, who was half Italian and half British opened this restaurant because he felt that authentic Italian food wasn’t well represented in Singapore and wanted to provide an avenue to Singaporeans to taste authentic Italian food. Of course, he wanted to make sure his food was accessible to everyone, including the Malay community and thus, he made it halal! After all, he was introduced to Malay food by his Muslim wife and he loved it. He wanted to do the same for the community his wife came from.
Chef Gero wasn’t always the executive chef in his own authentic Italian restaurant. He started off very traditional - at the bottom as a dishwasher. Then, he worked his way up. His efforts certainly paid off, because now, he is the executive chef in Kucina Italian, the very restaurant he owns!
Kucina is derived from the word “Cucina” which means “kitchen” in Italian. He changed the C to a K because he understands the C pronunciation differs in the Malay community and would not be read as intended. Also, it matches the K in Kitchen anyway.
Opened in June 2016, Kucina Italian has been consistently serving up authentic and great Italian food.
Located inconspicuously in a corner at Kinex’s basement, Kucina Italian’s decor is homey and comfortable, which ties in with what they’re trying to achieve. Chef Gero has always wanted Kucina Italian to be a place where people actually sit down and dine with each other, reviling in each others’ presence and company and spending quality time together. This was, after all, the Italian’s way of enjoying a meal, which I agree should be practiced more often in Singapore.
In our Asian culture, we often refer to meal times as time spent together. Whenever we make plans with our friends, family and partner, it’s always “Have you eaten?” Hence, to really sit down and chat over good food sounds like the most perfect thing to do.
The restaurant is decently sized and looks to be able to fit in 50 - 60 people.
Everything on the menu looked absolutely delicious and we had to hold ourselves back from ordering everything. In the end, we settled for a few dishes to share. For the appetizer, we got Arancini Siciliani, which was rice balls stuffed with beef ragu, mozarella and parmesan, served with a side of spicy sauce. We ordered the Tortellini Di Manzo, which was ring shaped pasta with turkey ham and beef stuffing in mushroom cream sauce, and the Al Granchio, which was linguine with fresh crabmeat in tomato cream sauce and chilli. We went for one cream option and one tomato base option just for variety. We also opted for a Pizotto pizza, which was turkey bacon, mushrom, sunny side up, tomates and mozarella on a tomato base. To finish the meal off, we ordered a dessert platter which consisted of mini desserts such as Sicillian cannoli, pannacotta, creme brulee, tiramisu and other chef creations!
The Arancini Siciliani was super yummy and really whetted our tastebuds. It tasted good on its own but better with the spicy sauce. Despite its cheesy description, it wasn't overly cheesy and has a crumbly mouthfeel which I enjoyed! It only got us looking forward to the rest of the meal.
The pizotto was my absolute favourite. Everything was perfect - the dough, the tomato base, the cheese, the turkey bacon and mushroom combo. Nothing tried to outshine another. All of them worked in perfect harmony, and it resulted in a beautiful tasting pizza. What impressed me most was the dough. Chef Gero was adamant about cooking being simple and the pizza was simply amazing. It's crazy how he could take simple ingredients and put them together to work so amazingly. The Tortellini Di Manzo was extremely addictive. If you've eaten dumplings before, it was reminiscent of one, but it had more meat inside and the pasta was al dente, providing this soft yet chewy outer layer. The cream sauce paired with the pasta was great. Once you've poped one savoury pocket in your mouth and let it burst to harmonise with the cream sauce, it's difficult to not want to pop another until you realise that it's almost gone!
The Al Granchio was delicious too. How can everything we ordered be so mindblowingly amazing in their own different ways? We don't know either. The crabmeat was generous and once again, the pasta - just wow. It really shows the difference in quality between freshly made pasta and boxed ones.
After stuffing ourselves full, we then had the dessert platter. The mini delights came beautifully on a black plate and we couldn't decide which to eat first. Everything was simply amazing. Perhaps, the star of the show was the one in the middle - the cannoli, that required alcohol in its original recipe but Chef Gero had modified it for halal purposes. It tasted just as great as the original!
It's amazing that Chef Gero opened his own halal authentic Italian restaurant, because with food this good, it was a waste to deprive anyone of it. It's honestly a steal to be able to enjoy authentic Italian food without having to travel out of Singapore.
11 Tanjong Katong Rd, #B1-09/10 OneKM Mall, Singapore 437157 (Nearest MRT Paya Lebar)
Mon - Sun: 11:30AM - 10:00PM