Continuing to revamp its in-house restaurants and bars, The Opposite House has unveiled its latest opening: Frasca, a chic Italian eatery in the place of the former Village Cafe, helmed by Chef Marino D’Antonio.
More sophisticated in style compared to its casual predecessor, the new restaurant is just as welcoming, with a dimly-lit interior and wooden furnishings. A deconstructed vintage bicycle is displayed on the back wall and potted plants accent a few high shelves. Several small round tables dot the space, outlined by additional booth seating for groups.
Frasca’s menu sticks to Italian classics, all reinvented tastefully, from appetizers and pastas to more splurge-worthy mains. Upon being seated, we are instantly brought a trio of bread in a basket with dipping oil and a side of olives. Hoping to get some veggies in us before we inevitably max out on carbs, we opt for a simple caprese salad (RMB118) – a refreshing medley of juicy cherry tomatoes, basil, fresh buffalo mozzarella, white wine vinegar jelly and pesto. The appetizer is only made more satisfying when paired with a glass of crisp Grillo (RMB105). Wine by the bottle is also encouraged, as Frasca has an extensive list of offerings from various regions in Italy, and a few inventive cocktails are available as well.
Our pasta follows quickly after; pappardelle with duck ragout (RMB138). The wide noodles are cooked perfectly al dente and the indulgent duck ragout is seasoned generously with Mediterranean herbs, giving the dish a peppery punch. Within minutes we find ourselves cleaning the bottom of the plate, though that’s because portions run small, so don’t neglect that bread basket.
For our final course, we go for the pinsa, or traditional Roman-style flatbread made from soy bean, rice and wheat flour – it’s basically pizza’s alternative health-conscious cousin. The main draw here is that the dough is light and puffy, with a delightfully crispy crust. Our delicious spicy salami and roasted pepper variant (RMB138), topped with olives, delivers on the spice and produces some pretty sexy strands of melty cheese as we pull it apart (as the best pizza, er, pinsa, should).
Those seeking a post-meal coffee will need to take a walk across the hotel to their lobby bar Union, though we spot some digestifs on the menu to end the hearty dinner with.
Frequenters of Village Cafe will remember its lovely patio seating, which, rest assured, Frasca plans to update just in time for spring. Until then, the inviting interior is more than enough for us to sit and enjoy our glass of wine a bit longer.
[Images via Frasca]