Tempo RUBATO…a gastronomic symphony

Story & photos by Dr. Michael Lim The Travelling GourmetTM

All rights reserved

Photos are of REAL food with NO props or special effects

The resourceful Travelling Gourmet goes to a remote housing estate near the Jalan Peminpin Industrial Park to savour…

MOUTHWATERING Italian goodies in Rubato. Helmed by Chef/Owner Marcus Wu and ably assisted by his Mum, Sheila, this cosy ristorante is decorated with framed prints of Italian cities like Napoli-Palermo, Venezia e Il Lido, Lago di Garda, Bologna, Assisi and many more. To the right as you enter is a gleaming Grand Piano by Yamaha, but more of that later. I was drawn to my table by the seductive aroma of Tartufo (truffle)…and brought there by bellisimma Shilin.

Prelude

A nice antipasto is Portobello Mushroom topped with Crabmeat and Prawn, baked in a wood-fired oven and served drizzled with tart Gorgonzola Cheese Sauce. Perfect with a chilled glass of Fratelli Bortolin Spumante DOCG with a hint of Salvia (sage) in the 3rd nose, from Valdobbiadene, a region I know very well. Marcus imports all the wines from Italy himself. Marcus explained, ” I serve the Italian Sparkling wine in chilled white wine glasses, because I learned from my trips to Italy that many Michelin Star restaurants there serve their Prosecco this way, so as to let more of the beautiful aromas come out…” Marcus is actually a lawyer who studied in Sydney courtesy of the Australian International Merit Scholarship, but was never called to the Bar. He is a very talented gentleman who even trained in the Violin under the former Concert Master (1st Violin) of the Singapore Symphony Orchaestra, Alexander Souptel.

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                     The Travelling Gourmet & Chef/Owner Marcus Wu of Rubato

Try too the Vongole (clams) sauteed in white wine with extra virgin olive oil, fresh garlic slivers and parsley leaves.

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Concerto

IMG_3897 It’s alive! The Travelling Gourmet with live Lobster

A titanic bowl filled with a king-sized River Prawn, Crayfish, prawns, calamari, mussles and clams swimming in a rich tomato based broth bursting with the flavours of the Mediterranean was set before me. It was Rubato’s take on that Cote d’Azur speciality, Bouillabaise. It is also known as Cioppino in Italia.

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Very Yummy! My charming partner, “F”, had Live Lobster Linguine which featured a whole lobster with the Italian version of ‘mee pok’, plus spinach & Arugula. I tried some to test if it was truly ‘al dente’ (which means firm to the bite in the middle) as it should be. It was! To be brutally frank, which is not really my style, many restaurants in Singapore and other countries, except Italy do not serve their pasta ‘al dente’. This is because many Singaporeans like their pasta soft & a little soggy like ‘mee pok’. To the true connoisseur of Italian cuisine, that is wrong, capische…

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Specialita di casa is Veal Ravioli in a flavoursome Porcini Truffle Sauce. I liked the 1mm thin skin of the Ravioli which are as big as small coasters. There was a also enough bite in the filling as the veal had not been too finely chopped. The presentation on a long rectangular plate garnished with pomodorini (cherry tomatoes) was chic.

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Intermezzo

Marcus dropped by to ask me how was the food and I said it was good and asked him, “Rubato means ‘robbed’ in Italian and Tempo Rubato is a musical term, so is that why you called your ristorante ‘Rubato’?” Marcus chuckled, “Yes! Tempo Rubato means a shift away from keeping strict time in music, and so in my restaurant we have a shift away from the strictly traditional….” As if on cue, a Japanese lady got up from her table egged in by her boisterous friends, and proceeded to the Grand Piano. Rika Hoshi (I found out her name) played Mozart’s Piano Sonata elegantly to loud applause.

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Then another Japanese lady, Kaotu Kamoda got up to play Mendelssohn’s “Wings of Song” on her silver flute to unrestrained cheers. The performances proved the point that Rubato is no boring, conventional restaurant, but a fun place patronised by many musicians, and those in the music & theatre industry, like Glenn Goei. Glenn Goei played “Monsieur Butterfly’ in the 1989 production in London’s West End. I digress, but you will find this fascinating. The play was based on the true story of Red Chinese MSS Intelligence Agent Shi Pei Pu, who was a transvestite opera singer in Beijing. Shi Pei Pu spied on the French diplomat, Bernard Boursicot and lived with him for 10 years…Until he was jailed 6 years for treason in 1986, Bernard Boursicot thought Shi Pei Pu was a woman when he was a man! Mon Dieu! This espionage case was a cause célèbre in France in 1986! It gives a whole new meaning to the term “Reds under the beds”. Typisch kommunistische Schweine.

Finale

I recommend Chocolate Fondant with Rum and home made Gelato. Mama mia! This sexy Budino di cicciolato has luscious molten hot chocolate oozing out seductively when you dig in. I also like the SAS (smooth as silk) Panna Cotta, well presented topped with an orange-yellow Physalis or South African Gooseberry.

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I want to come back soon to try the Linguine al Cartoccio inspired by the Vicciria in Palermo, Sicilia. As many restauranteurs like Simone of Donna Carmella call me Il Padrino della Gastronomia” (Godfather of Gastronomy), I shall conclude with some lines from the love song from that classic movie, “The Godfather”…

Parla piu piano e nessuno sentira,

il nostro amore lo viviamo io e te,

nessuno sa la verita,

neppure il cielo che ci guarda da lassu…

Buon appetito! {:-)

Rubato

3, Clover Way,

Singapore 579078

Tel: +65 6252 3200

Hours:  11am to 3pm & 6pm to 11pm Daily

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About thetravellinggourmet

As a renowned Travel, Food & Wine Writer he has travelled the world in a keen & indomitable pursuit of exotic delicacies & fine wines. His articles have been published in over 20 prestigious publications, both local & international. Dr. Lim has toured and trained in Wine Evaluation & Oenology in most of the world's top wine producing areas from France to Australia. The Travelling Gourmet says, "Gastronomy has no frontier. These are the gastronomic voyages of The Travelling Gourmet. My unending mission. To explore strange new cusines, to seek out new wines and new culinary experiences, to boldly go where no gourmet has gone before...." All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopy, recording, or any other information storage & retrieval system, without permission from Dr. Michael Lim The Travelling Gourmet and/or MSN. Material may be works of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents may be true but may also be products of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance whatsoever to actual person or persons, either dead or living, events, or locales may be entirely and purely coincidental and unintentional. No part of this website may be used to villify others or for criminal purposes. Interests: Travel, Food, Wines, Cooking, Wine Appreciation, Parachuting, Languages, Music, Reading, Swimming, Hunting, Ballet, Fencing, Archery, Anthropology and more... The Travelling Gourmet is a copyrighted trademark. All rights and photos reserved. No part may be reproduced without permission.
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