Forlino Fabulous

Posted on July 19, 2008 by Aun

Some restaurants, when they first open, need time to mature. Too often, restaurants open before they’re actually ready for public scrutiny. The food disappoints. The service is slow and inefficient. Sometimes, even the decor isn’t properly finished. But when an experienced, successful and talented restaurateur decides to open a new signature restaurant, chances are high that he will make darned sure that before his first paying customer ever steps foot into his new place, every single detail would be perfect.

Such is the case with Forlino, the new stunning Italian restaurant opened by Beppe de Vito and Chef Osvaldo Forlino. My always hungry wife S and I had the great pleasure of dining at Forlino on opening night and, well, quite simply, we were blown away. Forlino is stunning. It is easily one of the sexiest and chicest looking restaurants in Singapore. The floors are clad in a classic, polished black and white diamond-shaped pattern. The wood-panelled and ornately decorated walls are a warm bluish-grey. The furniture is rich and elegant. The overall space exudes power, sensuality and elegance, a rare thing for restaurants here today.

The food is equally stunning. When Chef Osvaldo cooked at Il Lido, S and I were fans. But we always felt that he wasn’t quite the right chef for what was being positioned as a very modern and contemporary Italian restaurant. Here, surrounded by his family and cooking the food his own way, i.e. more traditionally, he’s finally proving why and how his family restaurant in Northern Italy was able to earn a Michelin star. The food at Forlino is traditional Italian fine-dining. And it is beautiful.

S and I enjoyed a fabulous meal. We started with a cornmeal cake with 36 months aged parmesan, topped with egg confit, and shaved summer truffles. The second course was both S’s and my favourite dish of the night: Piedmontese veal ravioli with shank ragu (and of course, topped with some more summer truffles). This dish was sensational. You could taste the hand chopped veal inside each savory and delicate raviolo. Our main course was grilled rack of milk-fed goat with Spring vegetables and a small portion of risotto. To round off our meal, we had two desserts. The first was Volpedo white peaches in moscato gelee. The second was a gorgeous Renette apple tarte with barolo chinato gelato. Everything was delicious. Considering that the restaurant had been open for only a few hours, we were truly and deeply astounded.

As mentioned, helping Chef Osvaldo run this very impressive restaurant is his family. His whole family. Having closed their family restaurant in Tortina, the Forlino clan has moved en masse to Singapore. Chef Osvaldo’s mother is in the kitchen, baking bread daily. His wife Patrizia is chef de cuisine. His daughter Serena is also working in the kitchen. His sister Laura and another daughter Gaia — a trained sommelier — are in charge of wine. Cousin Simone is the restaurant’s manager and Simone’s wife is also cooking in the kitchen.

I have no doubt that Forlino, situated on the second floor of the 1 Fullerton building and perched overlooking Marina Bay, will be a success. It may even become Singapore’s very best Italian restaurant — it certainly is the sexiest.

Forlino
One Fullerton #02-06
1 Fullerton Road, Singapore 049213
Tel: +65 6877 6996
Three-course set lunch $45
Four-course traditional menu $100
a la carte available

(Sorry about the crappy quality of the photos. Forlino’s is very dimly lit, which while sexy as all heck, is hell for taking pictures.)

About Aun Koh

Aun has always loved food and travel, passions passed down to him from his parents. This foundation, plus a background in media, pushed him to start Chubby Hubby in 2005. He loves that this site allows him to write about the things he adores--food, style, travel, his wife and his bouncing baby boy!

What Others Are Saying

  1. Desmond Koh July 19, 2008 at 10:01 pm

    Is there a good selection for vegetarians?

  2. lotsofcravings July 21, 2008 at 10:46 am

    If i were to come visit SG..dis sounds like the place to go!

  3. Hungry Dru July 21, 2008 at 2:56 pm

    Thanks for the report, and pictures are much appreciated in spite of the poor lighting. How is the wine selection?

  4. Matthew July 23, 2008 at 6:03 pm

    The pictures are great. The noise is nicely grainy rather than blotchy so looks fine.

    The ravioli of veal with ragu and truffles has me thinking about changing my starter course tomorrow from crab.

  5. yunike July 24, 2008 at 2:55 pm

    Do we need to make reservation to dine in here?
    I’ll visit Singapore next month so there might be a chance I will try this best Italian rest around Singapore…
    Thanks for your review

  6. siewyuk July 24, 2008 at 10:35 pm

    Thanks CH, i know i can always count on you for the latest, the sexiest, and the best!

  7. Weylin July 28, 2008 at 11:34 am

    Hi CH, what are the price points like, do you know? Il Lido was not so great but the prices were not fun…

  8. Taimur Baig August 2, 2008 at 8:48 am

    Dear Chubby-hubby, I am a fan of your website, especially your fabulous photos. I am however seriously beginning to doubt your capability to describe or review restaurants. Having been to three of your recently blogged places, La Strada, White Rabbit, and Forlino, I’m afraid you’re repeatedly hyping fledgling, under-achieving restaurants. I had lunch at Forlino yesterday (Friday the 1st), and it was disappointing on all counts. Dark, labyrinthine entry way unbecoming of a fine restaurant, clueless busboys and waiters, dry and cold bread, tasteless amuse of polenta, laughably small salad starter, gummy minestrone soup, inelegantly presented and overcooked pasta, tiny and oversweet desserts, poor quality coffee, where do I end? To top it all, the ridiculous price to quality ratio makes this place one of the worst deals in town for a business lunch. Sorry, this place is no good, not by a long way, not yet.

  9. Chubby Hubby August 4, 2008 at 9:55 am

    Taimur,

    I am sorry you have had some poor meals. My first meal at Forlino was amazing. Everything was great. I also had lunch there last week and it was not as fantastic as the first but still top-notch. I am sure the management will see your comment and take note though. I hope you also said something to the senior staff. I am sure they would appreciate good, critical feedback.

    Sadly, La Strada is no longer what it used to be. The chef has left and the Les Amis group has appointed a young, local, and female chef to run the restaurant. We were there a few weeks ago and had a rather pathetic meal. So, I agree with you that La Strada is no longer worth raving about. Please note though that my review came out a long time ago and that all things change with time. I don’t control, obviously, when a chef comes and goes, and my reviews, like the reviews of all journalists, are time-specific.

    Regarding The White Rabbit, I think you and others have misread my post on it. While I was and am still very enthusiastic about the place, I did not rave about the food nor the service. I said the chef is good, and when he is on mark, he is very, very good. I also mentioned what the food is like. But I did not actually critique the dishes — nor did I photograph them. In fact, I refrained from commenting on the food entirely because, as I mentioned at the start of the post, my consulting firm helped put the restaurant together. I see it as a conflict of interests to “review” The White Rabbit. My post was not a review but only an annoucement that the restaurant was open.

    Cheers,

    A

  10. Taimur Baig August 5, 2008 at 6:32 pm

    Oooh, I am not sure I would describe the new chef at La Strada as “female.” Sure you didn’t mean it, but it came across as rather unnecessary. Anyway, your points are well taken. Also, this is your private blog—you have no obligation to keep it current as professional restaurant critics do.

    I moved to Singapore from the US East Coast last year, and while I am deeply impressed with the low end of the restaurant spectrum here (perhaps the best in the world after Japan), I am yet to be convinced that the medium or high end places here can hold a candle to world class restaurants in the West, or even Hong Kong for that matter. Of course my opinion is not based on an exhaustive review of Singaporean restaurants—at best I have been to 50 places in the past year. But when I think of these places, only 1929 hotel’s Ember and Les Ami’s Au Jardin come back to me as truly superlative dining experiences. Places like Pierside, Equinox, Graze, Yen, various high end Chinese places at the Conrad, Shangri-La, Four Seasons, Hyatt, etc., numerous places at the various Quays, are all just a boring blur. Prior to moving here, I was hugely excited by R.W. Apple’s famous Singapore dining write-up on the NY Times (incidentally, that was his last column before he passed away), but after a year of exploring, I am a tad deflated.

    I am very happy living in Singapore, and when I have friends visiting from overseas they all leave stunned by the variety and quality of the food court fare in this island. But I crave for a corner restaurant with a smart decor, knowledgeable and courteous staff, and a serious-but-not-expense-account menu. Does this restaurant exist in Singapore, CH?

    Best,

    Taimur

  11. My Wok Life August 6, 2008 at 10:02 pm

    You have good choice of restaurant venue. I will recommend and book for my boss whenever he needs to meet his customers. And, for my personal events, too!

  12. Coffee Accessories August 7, 2008 at 3:05 pm

    Thanks CH,
    The pics. are great,I like it.

  13. Adunje August 7, 2008 at 7:20 pm

    Dear Chubby Hubby
    My partner and I also had lunch at Forlino last week (Tuesday 29 July) and sadly found it a bit disappointing both in terms of service and food. We have been travelling for 4 months eating our way around the world and chose Forlino for our last holiday meal before flying home the next day. On arrival we were welcomed (overly theatrically) by what seemed like an endless column of clamouring staff who proceeded to hover over us dizzyingly but ineffectually throughout the meal. Despite this gaggle of eager well meaning staff we were not offered a wine list at any stage! Unforgivable and unprecedented in my experience eating around the world (is this a Singapore thing?). We ordered the $45 set lunch menu which was okay but certainly not fabulous. I had the salmon for main and pumpkin soup for entree and found both insipid and uninspiring. (Unlike Taimur we found the polenta amuse to be quite nice and really the only highlight of the meal!) Whilst this place should get full marks for effort it felt like everyone was trying too hard to please which meant the dining experience felt nerve wracking. A less formal atmosphere would still be stylish but allow everyone to relax just a little and start to enjoy themselves. Give this place time to mature and it has potential to be truly fantastic. (The views btw are really sublime!)

  14. Tim August 8, 2008 at 1:35 am

    I would go down to La Strada anytime I want a good italian meal. I fully support local talent and I think the current chef at La Strada is at least up to the former chef’s standards. There will always be bad or off days in restaurants.

    Taimur, unfortunately in Singapore, there will be always be special treatments given to popular food bloggers and food critics. That corner restaurant cant exist yet, shortage of good staff, labour costs, food costs, hi rents, fickle local palates..

  15. Vincent August 11, 2008 at 12:54 pm

    Cool reviews! I like your humor and imagery… I read your profile and am amused at how you started on your quest to review fine dining establishments. I just got off my lazy butt and started one too, for the NYC area. Like you, I have a wife who is a much bigger foodie than I am… but since I had a big expense account from my last job, I was able to sample hundreds of restuarants.

    Hopefully, I’ll be able to visit Singapore and then I’ll refer to your blog foor true foodie recommendations.

    Cheers!
    Vincent

  16. Jaclyn August 12, 2008 at 10:25 am

    I actually have some pictures of the place – http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=43441&id=614411509 .

    It’s great and definitely classy but the service can be a little intimidating. It’s the first time I’ve ever seen staff cover the dish with a golden cover when my partner left the table. Definitely impressive.

  17. Foong Wai Yoke August 13, 2008 at 2:06 pm

    I’ve just been to the restaurant this afternoon for lunch. The dishes looks modern Italian to me. Not bad. I did enjoyed my meal & the atmosphere is good for bringing oversea clients for a meal. I’m sure the view will be even better during dinner time.

  18. Adeline Chong August 13, 2008 at 11:11 pm

    Had lunch at Forlino today. It was excellent. Was a little afraid that I’d be disappointed as my expectations were high. The veal cheeks were excellent, as were the apple tarte and raspberry tarte. I will be back there with hubby soon!

  19. Sin,Andrea August 18, 2008 at 1:02 am

    Had dinner at forlino yesterday,i completely agree to your review about the restaurant,forlino is the most sexiest italian restaurant in singapore and the service is outstanding. Food is excellent as well…im totally disagree with the review on sunday times about the restaurant..forlino is a place where every diners should visit to get new experience…!!

  20. Shvetha August 20, 2008 at 12:07 am

    Hi CH,

    Just wondering if you happened to eat at Blue Basil @ Cairnhill road?

  21. bb August 22, 2008 at 7:37 am

    The only problem i see with Forlino’s is that it’s in Singapore, and I’m, well, not……………….
    Thanks for making me salivate, though!

  22. Kirsten August 25, 2008 at 11:27 am

    My husband and I went to Forlino on Saturday night. It was an OK experience, not great. When you factor in the $275 that we paid for food alone, it felt like a rip-off. Sure, nice dining room and not too crowded, service had a few stumbles but nothing major. Food was marginal; most of the flwas have been overed elsewhere but I’ll underscore the cold, tasteless bread, tough and fishy scallops, mushy pasta and miniscule serving of risotto. Must have taken a demitasse spoon to dose it out in the hollowed-out bones. Kind of insulting to go home hungry. Anyway, lesson learned.
    What’s more important is to point out that CH’s reviews should not be taken as rigorous. Typically, say in the New York TImes, a reviewer will go to the restuarant at least five times, for lunch and for dinner, and, importantly, in disguise. This is important, since reviewers are writing for the common person, not the well-known foodie. It would be difficult to imagine that a restuarant would knowingly serve CH and friends a bad meal. So, his reviews should be taken with a grain of salt.
    Now, I’m grateful to CH for keeping us abreast of new restuarants. But its not his job to provide us with rigorous reviews. That should be done by other publuications (and I doubt they are as rigorous as they ought to be). So, we should take reviews with a grain of salt.

  23. Jeroen August 25, 2008 at 8:34 pm

    I had dinner at The Sage (http://www.diningcity.com/singapore/restaurantsage/index_eng.jsp) two days ago. Great food and fresh ingredients. Definilty recommande!

  24. diva August 26, 2008 at 3:35 pm

    from the way you’ve described it, it does sound spectacular. wow. i do love Italian so maybe this is some place I gotta check out some time.

  25. studboy August 27, 2008 at 10:00 am

    Chubby: I look forward to your reviews every month and count on you for new discoveries. I hv to say this time Forlino was extremely disappointing. The pasta was v good. Meat dishes were average. Now what really got my wife v upset was we celebrated her birthday at Forlino. After we finished the main, they came wit a small (muffin size) chocolate cake with a candle which she blew. Interestingly, 2 minutes later they took the same cake wiht a new candle and went to the table next to us and wished the guest happy birthdday as well!! Then we waited 10 mins and they gave us a sliver of the cake. Think its kind of gross?
    Funny enough my wife mentioned to her girlfriend and she said they did the same thing at il lido…come on! how much does a muffin sized cake cost??

    never goiing back there

  26. jamie September 10, 2008 at 10:51 am

    Hi Chubby,

    It has been too long since your last post! I really miss your recipes. Your recipes for ribs and mac n’ cheese are two of my absolute favorites, so I hope you give us another post soon!

    Hope all is well.

  27. Peech September 27, 2008 at 1:05 am

    Went to Forlino today and found to food to be fabulous. My friends all really enjoyed their set lunch and thought it was very good value given the quality.

    I look forward to returning very soon – maybe next week!

  28. Peech September 27, 2008 at 1:05 am

    Went to Forlino today and found to food to be fabulous. My friends all really enjoyed their set lunch and thought it was very good value given the quality.

    I look forward to returning very soon – maybe next week!

    blogpost: http://chi-he-wan-le.blogspot.com/2008/09/great-start-to-trip.html

  29. kenneth wong October 24, 2008 at 4:04 pm

    What a difference a few months makes! I read with interest Taimur Baig’s posting & have to say my recent experience could not have been more different. True the entrance was dark & labyrinthine but what pleasures await the one who perseveres! Pleasant 7 professional wait staff & best of all, foccacia that was served hot from the oven. Luxurious polenta with silken melted fontina & a shower of summer truffle; luscious & perfectly executed veal ravioli with yet more truffles; roast rabbit redolent of rosemary on a bed of diced vegetables & peppers. It was as if I had died & gone to heaven. True the apple strudel was a tad sweet but the pastry was crispness itself & coffee properly made. Could this be the same restaurant? True Singapore has someways to go before attaining New York’s status of a foodie haven but the spate of new restaurants has given me hope. Hope Taimur has had better luck in the ensuing months!! Cheers!!

  30. JJ May 6, 2010 at 8:03 am

    What are your thoughts on the family’s new restaurant, Osvaldo?

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