Transport yourself to the 60s at California Republic. This new restaurant serves SoCal Italian dishes that’ll leave you in a food coma – totally worth it.
Entering California Republic at Amoy Street is like stepping inside the living room of the coolest friend you know. Think suburban SoCal (Southern California) vibes complete with mid-century modern and retro-cool furnishing. We spotted vintage Hollywood posters, woodie surf wagons, sputnik lamps, moody leather upholstery, a fireplace and little nooks with books.
This is exactly the vibe creators Michael Goodman and Mike Pekarsky envisioned for California Republic. The space hits home for both of them, having spent the bulk of their childhood on the East Coast in the US. During the conceptualisation of the menu, they turned to an old friend, David Almany (of Osteria Mozza and Angeleno fame) to create a true California experience catered to the Singapore palate.
California Republic review: SoCal and Italian cuisines that hit home
The result is a blend of SoCal and Italian cuisines of small and large plates and housemade pasta, along with a quintessential seafood and oyster bar that screams coastal California. Judge me all you want (I probably deserve it) but I don’t do raw oysters. So the team encouraged me to go for the grilled oysters ($18) instead. It was so good, I went in for seconds. What’s not to like when you’ve got a pool of chipotle chilli, bourbon and garlic compound butter on the shell?
Moving on to small plates: try the meatballs al Angeleno ($28). Melt-in-your-mouth fantastic pork and veal meatballs are drenched in a rich tomato sauce. No doubt, an uncontrolled “mmm” came out of me as I bit into it. Under mains, seafood lovers will enjoy the lazy man’s cioppino ($48), a flavourful tomato broth filled with roasted sea bass, clams, mussels and calamari.
Fresh pasta that’s perfectly al dente
The pastas are handmade and cooked to al dente perfection. I’m still dreaming about the smoked bucatini pasta ($34) tossed in pork ragu bianco, soffritto and bone marrow. It’s a different take on your classic ragu as it’s made with stock instead of tomato sauce. The pasta flour is smoked before being rolled out for elevated flavours. Safe to say I was scraping the plate.
The silky-smooth celery root cappelacci ($29) is stuffed with celery root puree and cooked in a sauce of roasted field mushrooms. It’s a great dish for vegetarians. Plus, the sweetness from the celery root paired with umami from the mushrooms hits flavour town.
A twist on a childhood favourite: Garlic knots
You’re missing out if you skip the Southern roll West Coast garlic mops ($18). Served only during dinner, the dough is bathed in a mixture of garlic, oregano, extra virgin olive oil and grana padano, then baked in a cast iron skillet. There’s a 30-minute wait time and limited servings so it’s best to order it first! I enjoyed mopping up all the leftover sauces with the soft and flavourful bread.
The drinks programme deserves some buzz too. The menu is categorised by full proof, half proof and zero proof cocktails to suit your alcohol intake. We hear that the team is in the midst of creating their own zero proof spirits, too.
Highlights include the refreshing half proof Lemon Haze ($21) with Hendrick’s Orbium gin and Earl Grey tea, the full proof Hyphy ($24) with Skyy vodka, caffe borghetti liqueur and espresso, and the zero proof El Segundo ($16) with Lyre’s aperitif dry, strawberry, basil and lemonade.
With a touch of nostalgic California and food coma-worthy grub, California Republic is sure to lift spirits around the table.
California Republic, 88 Amoy Street, Singapore 069907