Gusttimo Di Roma

The story behind Gustimmo di Roma, an Italian bistro in Ion, reads like a Korean soap opera: Boy meets girl in Rome. They fall in love, learn how to make gelato, overcome all kinds of obstacles and return to Seoul to spawn a gelato empire. The thing about watching K-dramas and dining at this hyper trendy trattoria/gelato parlor, which comes with its very own miniature garden, is that you have to suspend your disbelief, which is what we did when we ordered the crunchy francese frittata one day after deciding to give this restaurant a shot. Given that even Thomas Keller doesn’t charge $10 for fries, can you blame us for expecting to be blown away? Alas, they were like Britney circa In the Zone—sexy but soulless. There was a vague suggestion of parmesan and we kept waiting for the spices to kick in. Guess what? We’re still waiting. Gustimmo scores full marks for presentation but sputters in the flavor department. It’s not that the food is bad; it’s just that it is, for the most part, very blah. Take for instance, the funghi bruschetta, which was pretty but bland, the mascarpone cheese doing nothing to elevate the flavor. Ditto the alio olio, which had more olio than anything else. If you want something with character, your best bet is the spaghetti bolognaise and arrabiata marinara—the addition of fried mozzarella balls in the former is a kitschy but novel touch. For dessert, we opted for the gelato (three scoops), which was okay though not particularly memorable; the faggioli rossi (red bean and green tea) and café yogurt were all right but if you want tiramisu, you’re better off eating the real thing.The service, though pleasant, could have done with a bit more urgency—we had to ask three different waiters for water before it finally came and the café wasn’t exactly full. Overall, while Gustimmo di Roma has style aplenty, it really needs to work on having more substance.

Mamma mia! Is your favorite Italian restaurant on our list of Singapore’s best?