GastroNOMia Da Paolo: Fast and fresh

I’m sure many of you have heard of Gastronomia da Paolo? They have several outlets around Singapore, and they offer a wide variety of pre-packaged food which can be easily brought home as takeaway, or reheated for the dining in option. In addition to their pre-made food, such as lasagna, salads and cakes, Gastronomia da Paolo also offers freshly prepared food such as pastas, all-day breakfast and sandwiches. They even cater to the tea-time crowd with their wide array of sweet treats, ranging from ginormous meringues and croissants, to dainty cupcakes.

I like how their concept is similar to many cafes in London, where sidewalk cafes make the option of dining in and takeaway very easy for consumers.

My dining companion ordered the Spaghetti Bolognese ($15.50) which was served in a large paper box, similar to the chinese takeaway boxes you see in movies. While the paper box somewhat cheapened the whole experience, considering we were paying cafe price, the food was thankfully up to standard. My dining companion was very satisfied with his generous portion of pasta.

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I’ve tried their sandwiches on two occasions, and here’s what I thought:
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The first sandwich I tried was the Grilled Chicken and Brie on Crispy Ciabatta. I do not recall the exact price, but I it was definitely more than $10. It’s cheaper to buy the whole sandwich rather than half, since you only pay about $3-4 more for the full sandwich. You could always keep half for your next meal! (Frugal foodies alert)

The chicken was rather dry, and the crispy ciabatta was tough and hard to bite through. The brie added some moistness, and flavour, which helped give the sandwich a fuller flavour. This sandwich wasn’t particularly memorable.

Now, this is what I call memorable. Despite the lack of meat, the Grilled Veggies and Brie on Soft Country Bread ($8.50 for half) was a much better sandwich.

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The bread was nicely toasted, with a crisp exterior, yet it remained soft and fluffy on the inside. I would recommend that you order soft country bread instead of the crispy ciabatta.

The grilled veggies was made up of an assortment of grilled vegetable salads I saw on their display counter. There were fresh lettuce and tomatoes, in addition to the perfectly grilled brocolli, pumpkin and brussel sprouts. Speaking of brussel sprouts, I have had one too many bad experience with these mini little cabbage babies, but this time, they won me over! Roasted brussel sprouts are the way to go.

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The whole sandwich came together beautifully. The flavours of the roasted veggies went well with the melted brie, and the crunch from the fresh vegetables added another dimension to the sandwich. I was surprised by how good a vegetable sandwich could taste. So long veggie patties, I have found a new love for roasted/grilled vegetables!

It is a pity that this sandwich is so expensive though. While my tummy may be happy, my wallet is crying out in pain. I have to recreate this at home, with my new Panini press.

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My friend also ordered the Cafe Latte (if I’m not mistaken, I forgot the actual name). While I’m not a coffee drinker, my friend said that the coffee was strong, and of good quality. So, a word to all of you who need your morning cuppa… you could drop by to get your wake-up call and grab a croissant, or two, on your way to work.

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Blueberry Scone
The serving sizes at Gastronomia da Paolo is over the top. Most of their dishes can be shared by two, and their scones are no exception. The scone is the size of two clenched fists!

(Tangent: Their croissants are even bigger, but they are filled with air, so they won’t sit in your stomach like a rock. The croissants are not very oily as well, so that’s another good option for tea)

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The scone was not impressive though. Although it was large, it was rather dry and tasteless. There wasn’t the buttery rich flavour that a good scone gives you. The blueberry flavour was barely there as well, in fact, you could see it more than you could taste it. I would rather a smaller, better quality scone from one of those atas high-tea places, or even Four Leaves Bakery. If you are on a search for the best scones in Singapore, you could try the scones from Fosters at Holland Village. Those are pretty good.. but I would prefer a less crumbly scone. (As you can tell, I have high expectations for my scones)

Gastronomia da Paolo is a nice place to chill at anytime of the day since they serve all kinds of food to meet your needs. While their food may be on the pricey side, at least you know you can be guaranteed with fresh, hot quality food with minimal waiting time. For those with a sweet tooth, you may like to know, I’ve tried their chilled cakes and tarts before as well, and they were worth a try.

Rating: 7.5/10 (-0.5 for pricey food)

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