The anticipation of a good meal whets the appetite and heightens the enjoyment of every morsel. Naturally, knowing that American chef Nancy Silverton, co-owner of the Michelin-starred Osteria Mozza, is supervising the meal awaiting you quickens your steps considerably.
“From the moment a guest arrives through the front door, the team transports them into a comforting atmosphere alive with the anticipation of a great dinner. We hope they will enjoy a coursed Italian dining experience that progresses from antipasti to primi, secondi and dessert, each course demonstrating our signature style of cooking,” the wiry American chef conspicuous in colourful dresses with bold prints and braided hair replies in response to what diners can expect at Osteria Mozza, which opened at Hilton Singapore Orchard on May 31.
Fans familiar with Osteria Mozza’s pizzas with thin and crisp crusts cooked in wood-burning ovens in Los Angeles will be thrilled to know the Cal-Italian restaurant’s latest outpost offers more on the plate by way of classics specially designed for it.
“Some of the Italian products we are able to source in Singapore are of even higher quality than what we are bringing to the US restaurants right now,” says Silverton, who had flown in for the opening of the restaurant.
“We are particularly looking forward to working with our White Cow parmesan and aged pecorino, as well as outstanding Cantabrian anchovies and crispy fried sweet cruschi peppers. Our Cencioni pasta with Dungeness crab and saffron is quite unique. Cencioni are petal-shaped oval pasta with a slight curve, larger and flatter than orecchiette. The naturally sweet and briny sauce clings well to their irregular shape and rough texture. Our tableside Hot Fudge Sundae Cart service is not to be missed. It has DIY sundaes with an array of premium toppings, plus signature creations like our Tin Roof Sundae and Coconut Sorbetto Pie.”
Osteria Mozza had first opened in Marina Bay Sands, where it was modelled after its LA setup. This time around, what stands out at the Hilton Singapore Orchard restaurant are the open kitchen and mozzarella bar, a lush herb garden in the al fresco dining area, house-made fresh pastas, pizzas with exciting toppings, meats, fish and fresh vegetables, and a gelato-centric dessert menu — the last being a nod to Silverton’s love for gelatos.
In 1989, noticing how there wasn’t a lot of good bread in LA, she co-founded La Brea Bakery, and went on to help popularise sourdough and artisan breads in the US. In 2006, she teamed up with two restaurateurs to open Osteria Mozza and Pizzeria Mozza, now institutions known for their Cal-Italian cuisine — simple, flavourful dishes that keep luring diners back for more.
Asked what inspires new ideas and nudges her to create delectable food that people cannot have enough of, she says: “I can find inspiration at the greatest restaurants in the world such as Osteria Francescana or Noma. I can also find inspiration at the humblest trattoria or at home in the Umbrian countryside. I like to come back to Los Angeles and put my version on something until I think it’s good enough to go on my menu. For example, the olive oil cake I first had at Dario Cecchini’s place in Panzano in Chianti. I went home and put some of my touches on it.”
With oven mitts removed or when not perfecting recipes at the stove, this celebrated cook writes. She has published several books, among them Nancy Silverton’s Pastries from the La Brea Bakery; A Twist of the Wrist: Quick Flavorful Meals with Ingredients from Jars, Cans, Bags, and Boxes; Chi Spacca: A New Approach to American Cooking; and Mozza at Home: More than 150 Crowd-Pleasing Recipes for Relaxed, Family-Style Entertaining.
Silverton has a new cookbook coming out in autumn 2023, inspired by her own home baking over the past couple of years, “including a version of one of my all-time favourite cookies, the peanut butter cookie. It will be a collection of my recipes for familiar favourites that home cooks will reach for again and again”.
This article first appeared on July 4, 2022 in The Edge Malaysia.