Cheap & Good

Pasta done light

The Mac & Cheese from Ah Bong's Italian, a stall in a coffee shop in Tiong Bahru. -- ST PHOTO: FOONG WOEI WAN
The Mac & Cheese from Ah Bong's Italian, a stall in a coffee shop in Tiong Bahru. -- ST PHOTO: FOONG WOEI WANST PHOTO: FOONG WOEI WAN

Pasta, so prevalent in coffee shops, is the kind of Western comfort food Singaporeans get. It is a distant cousin of egg and rice noodles that are staples here, and is such a warming choice during the rainy season.

Ah Bong's Italian, a stall in a coffee shop in Tiong Bahru, comes as a surprise though.

The food is clean, fresh and understated, more refined than the usual coffee shop fare, less rarefied than restaurant offerings.

The Mac & Cheese ($5), featuring crusty bits of cheese and bacon, is satisfying on an overcast day. The serving isn't huge and the cheese sauce isn't heavy, which makes it a lunch you can slurp down without feeling like you ate a cow.

The Pasta E Fresh Pesto ($7), which isn't always available, features pine nuts, mushrooms and a delicate homemade sauce of crushed basil leaves.

The food is so light, you can comfortably eat more, actually.

A friend and I have room for the Pork Genovese ($6), an Asian-tasting dish of spaghetti, pulled pork and white wine, after we each have one serving of pasta.

Not only that, but we also fit in a dessert, the Earl Grey Lavender Creme Brulee ($4). It is impressively served at contrasting temperatures, cold and creamy at the bottom, yet warm and crackly at the top.

woeiwan@sph.com.sg