Waterfall Ristorante Italiano is dubbed as a love story from southern Italy, and the tale has a new romantic lead in chef Simone Loisi, who is shaping the role through a Pugliese lens.
Loisi took over last month as the Chef de Cuisine at the Shangri-La hotel’s Italian restaurant after a stint at IO Italian Osteria. Hailing from Puglia (also known as Apulia) at the heel of Italy’s boot, he brings focus to his native dishes together with other neighbouring specialties.
“I am excited and looking forward to sharing the essence of south Italian cuisine to our regular and new diners at Waterfall Ristorante Italiano,” he said. “A big part of my cooking philosophy is influenced by Puglia, my hometown – it is a beautiful seaside town that is rich in culture and so full of life. I hope my dishes will bring our diners’ tastebuds on a sojourn to Italy.”
Loisi’s roots reveal themselves in the Orecchiette Broccoli e Salsiccia (S$28). Shaped like a little ear, the pasta is tossed with broccoli and Italian pork sausage and finished with a sprinkle of chilli flakes and fennel seed-flavoured breadcrumbs. A platter of cold cuts presents another of Puglia’s gifts to the world: burrata. The Burrata con Affettati (S$55) serves the legendary cheese with enough Parma ham, mortadella, spicy salami and speck around it to feed four people.
Another ingredient from the region is stracciatella, and the soft, stretchy cheese appears in a cream-based pizza with ham, pistachio and sun-dried tomatoes under Mortadella e Stracciatella (S$29).
Puglia is surrounded by the Adriatic and Mediterranean seas, and Loisi’s cooking is similarly heavy on seafood. Caprese di Mare (S$28) combines bright, citrus-marinated salmon with crunchy fennel and generous amounts of buffalo mozzarella. Fresh prawns appear in a comforting Gnocchi Mare e Monti (S$32). Polpo alla Plancia (S$42) is a slab of grilled Mediterranean octopus with potato cream and mixed salad.
Wines from Loisi’s home also form part of Waterfall’s offerings. A floral and herbaceous negroamaro rosé by Rosa Del Golfo plays up the nutty sage butter sauce in the spinach- and ricotta-stuffed Ravioli Burro E Salvia ($28). The same winery also makes a red negroamaro, whose velvety, red-berry structure frames tender beef with sweet balsamic sauce in the Tagliata di Manzo (S$48).
The dessert menu (S$16 each) reads like the classics. There’s Panna Cotta with sour cherry coulis, and the Sicilian delight of Cannolo, which is filled with ricotta, orange zest, bitter chocolate chips and pistachio. The highlight, however, is the Tiramisu, an indulgent square of dark coffee, smooth mascarpone and fluffy ladyfinger that will leave you enamoured with Waterfall.