La Ristrettos @ Novena Medical Centre

La Ristrettos.

La Ristrettos.

La Ristrettos is a cafe that is hidden on the 8th Level of the Novena Medical Centre. Who knew a cafe could exist in a medical centre that isn’t a Starbucks? La Ristrettos offers great food & coffee in their quiet little environment in the midst of all the medical offices.

Entrance to La Ristrettos.

Entrance to La Ristrettos.

Interior of La Ristrettos. The gorgeous plant in the middle of the communal table really complements the aesthetic.

Interior of La Ristrettos.
The gorgeous plant in the middle of the communal table really complements the aesthetic.

Cut-up sacks of coffee beans on display.

Cut-up sacks of coffee beans on display.

Outdoor seating area.  Great for enjoying the day with a good book.

Outdoor seating area.
Great for enjoying the day with a good book.

In order to get to La Ristrettos, you would have to take the elevators from the lobby of the Novena Medical Centre up to the 8th floor. After which you would need to make two left turns and walk past the medical offices before you’ll arrive at La Ristrettos. It’s quite interesting to see a cafe smack-dab in the middle of medical offices. Trust me, I got kinda lost on my first visit. The whole place is basically a medical centre and it didn’t seem possible for a cafe like La Ristrettos to be situated there. It’s definitely one of the more interesting cafes I’ve been to, due to it’s location.

Aesthetic
La Ristrettos has a great modern cafe interior. Red brick walls, with wooden panels, tables & shelves add to the aesthetic. It’s pretty neat, once you’re inside the cafe, you won’t feel like you’re in a medical centre at all anymore. The cafe has a large glass façade that faces the outdoor garden, with more seats on the outside, great for the medical workers & customers to enjoy some peace & quiet. The place seems like a great spot for students & working adults to do their work there as well.

Another fact that makes La Ristrettos unique is that their coffee makers & roasters are all placed facing towards the seating area of the cafe itself. Whenever you order a coffee or latte, you’ll see the baristas hard at work preparing your drink up close.

A coffee roaster displayed in the cafe for all to see. Pretty cool.

A coffee roaster displayed in the cafe for all to see. Pretty cool.

A sample of their menu.

A sample of their menu.

Food
The food of La Ristrettos revolves around All-Day Breakfasts and dishes such as pasta & panini. The menu is mainly tuned for the working adults of the medical centre with mostly brunch food and some sandwiches as well. (They are only open till the evening.)  They also often have a few special dishes that are not available all the time, including Pancakes, Smoked Duck Breast Polenta & Crab Cakes. The place is known for their coffee as well, with quite a few reviews praising their taste and latte art.

Prices for their dishes are all around 10-15 dollars, which is pretty affordable considering their location. And hey, they don’t charge GST or service fees!

Sidenote
So far I’ve been to La Ristrettos twice. My first time there, I was surprised to find that all their desserts were actually unavailable. For my second visit, which was today, their desserts were all available except their Tiramisu (which has been quite popularized on their Facebook). One odd thing was that they were all out of gelato today, a Monday. I found it quite weird, as they are closed on Sunday, so I would have thought that they would have replenished their stock by today, but no dice. Perhaps the reason is that they are located on the 8th floor of a medical centre, which is odd for a cafe, hence it’s not as easy for them to get their stocks in.

Hot Chocolate ($5) This was not bad, though I felt that perhaps there was a tad too much steamed milk which diluted the chocolate.

Hot Chocolate ($5)
This was not bad, though I felt that perhaps there was a tad too much steamed milk which diluted the chocolate.

Smoked Duck Breast Polenta ($14) Smoked Duck Breast, Polenta, Poached Eggs, Bacon, Tri-Capsicums, Honey Mustard This was one of the specials that they had during my first visit.  Now if you have no idea what polenta is, it's just cornmeal boiled into a porridge, which can then be further baked, fried or grilled. It's basically like corn bread or corn cake. This was pretty great. I really liked how unique the dish was and the lovely presentation it had. The polenta tasted great here as well, soft on the inside.

Smoked Duck Breast Polenta ($14)
Smoked Duck Breast, Polenta, Poached Eggs, Bacon, Tri-Capsicums, Honey Mustard
This was one of the specials that they had during my first visit.
Now if you have no idea what polenta is, it’s just cornmeal boiled into a porridge, which can then be further baked, fried or grilled. It’s basically like corn bread or corn cake.
This was pretty great. I really liked how unique the dish was and the lovely presentation it had. The polenta tasted great here as well, soft on the inside.

Crab Cake ($14) English Muffin, Avocado, Sunny side-up, Salad, Lemon Aioli This was another one of their specials on my first visit. I'll always jump at ordering crab cakes whenever I see it offered. (Perhaps I've watched too many American television shows and crab cakes seem to be a staple there.) This was definitely another hit from La Ristrettos. I do like English Muffins. The entire dish worked really well. The crab cake had a slight spicyness but I thought it was alright.

Crab Cake ($14)
English Muffin, Avocado, Sunny side-up, Salad, Lemon Aioli
This was another one of their specials on my first visit.
I’ll always jump at ordering crab cakes whenever I see it offered. (Perhaps I’ve watched too many American television shows and crab cakes seem to be a staple there.)
This was definitely another hit from La Ristrettos. I do like English Muffins. The entire dish worked really well. The crab cake had a slight spicyness but I thought it was alright.

Ciocolata Calda ($6.50) Traditional Italian Hot Chocolate This was from my second visit. I was hoping to try their coffee this time around but I was told that they were out of gelato (which is one of the key ingredients in their Iced Mocha), so I  decided to go with yet another Hot Chocolate instead.  This is actually different from the first Hot Chocolate that I had at La Ristrettos. This was a lot thicker and had a richer chocolate flavor. It's basically what I'm always looking for when I order Hot Chocolate. This was definitely the perfect definition of it. Fantastic. It was so thick that whenever you let it set, a hard layer would form on top.

Ciocolata Calda ($6.50)
Traditional Italian Hot Chocolate
This was from my second visit. I was hoping to try their coffee this time around but I was told that they were out of gelato (which is one of the key ingredients in their Iced Mocha), so I decided to go with yet another Hot Chocolate instead.
This is actually different from the first Hot Chocolate that I had at La Ristrettos. This was a lot thicker and had a richer chocolate flavor. It’s basically what I’m always looking for when I order Hot Chocolate. This was definitely the perfect definition of it. Fantastic. It was so thick that whenever you let it set, a hard layer would form on top.

Croissant Al Cotto ($9) Leg Ham, Swiss Cheese, Salad My companion had this and she mentioned that it was "Not bad". No further comments were given. I thought it looked pretty nice, aside from it being slightly charred. Quite a few other customers were having this as well.

Croissant Al Cotto ($9)
Leg Ham, Swiss Cheese, Salad
My companion had this and she mentioned that it was “Not bad”. No further comments were given.
I thought it looked pretty nice, aside from it being slightly charred. Quite a few other customers were having this as well.

Crab & Angel Hair Pasta ($14.90) Crab meat, Garlic, Spring Onion, Chilli, Parsley, Olive Oil, Lime I actually thought that it would have been more like Aglio, but it was served with a much "wetter' sauce. Don't get me wrong though, it was still pretty delicious. It tasted like the pasta was cooked in a crab meat broth, which I quite liked. The amount of crab in the pasta was also fantastic. Not as sinful as it would have been if it were like Aglio. (Which is a good thing.)

Crab & Angel Hair Pasta ($14.90)
Crab meat, Garlic, Spring Onion, Chilli, Parsley, Olive Oil, Lime
I actually thought that it would have been more like Aglio, but it was served in a broth. Don’t get me wrong though, it was still pretty delicious. It tasted like the pasta was cooked in a crab meat broth, which I quite liked. The amount of crab in the pasta was also fantastic. Not as sinful as it would have been if it were like Aglio. (Which is a good thing, a nice healthier choice.)

Pear Tart ($8) Topped with Vanilla Gelato I was actually hoping to try their Tiramisu, unfortunately it was unavailable yet again. They don't have much desserts to offer though, they seem more focused on their All-Day Breakfast. I was actually told beforehand by the staff that they were all out of Vanilla gelato and it would be replaced with Strawberry instead. I was fine with that and ordered. Then it arrived.... with a scoop of Vanilla Gelato. It was a pleasant yet confusing surprise. (Did they manage to get their stock of Vanilla gelato in the timespan I was there? Or was there enough left for a few scoops? Or was it a miscommunication between the staff? You know what, who cares.) Anyway, their desserts are mostly made on the spot when you order. As such, it will take around 20 minutes. It's great though, the pear tart was baked on the spot, which made it perfectly warm with a crisp crust when served. Tasted really fantastic with the ...Vanilla gelato. What I also liked was that it wasn't a typical triangle pie-like shape.

Pear Tart ($8)
Topped with Vanilla Gelato
I was actually hoping to try their Tiramisu, unfortunately it was unavailable yet again. They don’t have much desserts to offer though, they seem more focused on their All-Day Breakfast.
I was actually told beforehand by the staff that they were all out of Vanilla gelato and it would be replaced with Strawberry instead. I was fine with that and ordered. Then it arrived…. with a scoop of Vanilla Gelato. It was a confusing yet pleasant surprise. (Did they manage to get their stock of Vanilla gelato in the timespan I was there? Or was there enough left for a few scoops? Or was it a miscommunication between the staff? You know what, who cares.)
Anyway, their desserts are mostly made on the spot when you order. As such, it will take around 20 minutes. It’s great though, the pear tart was baked on the spot, which made it perfectly warm with a crisp crust when served. Tasted really fantastic with the …Vanilla gelato. What I also liked was that it wasn’t a typical triangle pie-like shape.

Where all the coffee-making happens.

Where all the coffee-making happens.

Worth A Visit/Revisit?
Do make a visit to La Ristrettos. It’s a great little cafe that is hidden in the Novena Medical Centre. They offer great food & drinks with a peaceful yet beautiful environment. It’s still currently sort of a hidden gem, with not that many people knowing about the place yet, so do head there quick as they have been gaining quite a bit of popularity already. I’ll definitely pop back to finally try their coffee next time.

RATING

Food
8/10
Aesthetic
7.5/10
Price
7/10
Service
7/10

LA RISTRETTOS

10 Sinaran Drive, #08-37 Novena Medical Centre, Singapore 307506
(Nearest train station: Novena)
Contact: 6397 7165
Opening Hours:
Mon – Fri: 8:00 am – 6:00 pm
Sat: 8:00 am – 2:00 pm
https://www.facebook.com/LaRistrettos

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