Casa Tartufo

This Italian fine dining spot—think white lace, chandeliers, rural scenes on the wall and arias on the speakers—does a decent job of transporting you from the rather grim interior of Forum The Shopping Mall. But it remains hard to really appreciate the rich, earthy flavors of their signature truffle dishes when you’re staring out the window at Guess Kids.

The food, though, is excellent—take our wagyu carpaccio, delicately offset with parmesan and truffle oil, and the buratta (creamy mozzarella) and tomato salad, somewhat meager in size, but nevertheless fresh and suitably light. For the first of our mains we opted for the homemade mushroom and truffle ravioli in a parmesan fondue, and indulged in fresh shavings of black Provençal truffle (currently $8/gram), which gave the dish a welcome, almost meaty flavor.

Truffles, you see, are the real draw here (the clue’s in the name: House of Truffles), sourced seasonally year-round from as far afield as Italy, China and Australia. Thankfully, Casa Tartufo resists the temptation to turn everything into a truffle showcase.

Indeed in the case of the chicken breast, apricots and mushrooms, it’s the creamy mashed potato, rather than the truffle oil, that lingers on the palate. It’s not cheap, but given the quality of ingredients it’s not bad value either, especially if you’re here for the lunch special (2 courses $28, three courses $36). Service here too is praiseworthy (especially in this town): The staff striking the right balance between helpful and discrete, talking knowledgeably and enthusiastically about their favorite fungus, and recommending suitable picks from the list of more than 200 Italian wines (although they do allow BYO, with a corkage fee of $50).

Had we not been the last to leave we might even have been tempted to stay for some of the limoncino grappa ($12). Indeed, if only they could block out the bright mall lights, the dark-paneled bar would make a cozy place to wile away an evening. Granted, faulting a restaurant for being in a mall in Singapore is like picking on a dog for barking: That’s just the way they do things. Doesn’t mean we don’t wish things were different, though.

Casa Tartufo was reviewed at its original Forum location. It has since moved to The Scarlet.