We finally visited Baraonda last night and I am glad for it. Yes, this is the eatery that the original Al Forno guys have set up at the East Coast Parkway, oddly at a golf driving range and sharing premises with a Chinese seafood restaurant. Originally a casual eatery called Artzpizza (which now seems to be their pizza delivery branch), Baraonda is a full-fledged restaurant with over 100 items on its menu.
We did not have too good an experience with the Artzpizza delivery some time back (the pizzas had some strange smell), so we were crossing fingers hoping for a better experience here. We took a salamino pizza (S$18.50).
And oh what a difference dining in makes! I am wowed. This is the best pizza I've had in ages. Firstly, pizza is best eaten piping hot out of the wood-fired oven. Secondly, the taste is wonderfully assembled from a light tomato base, generous cheese and pepperoni salami atop a great thin crust. We polished it off in record speed.
Also good but less spectacular are their pastas. We tried the aglio olio e peperoncino (S$12.50) - a dish that is so simple and yet not easy to master. Well, the spaghetti is done right, al dente. Interesting taste from bits of burnt garlic and dried chili - not sure if it's really chili padi (bird's eye) as it wasn't spicy at all.
On the whole, it was still a bit bland and a tad heavy on the olive oil (the squeamish may want to look away from the grease puddle that remains on the plate). Ah sigh, we're still seeking the peppery hot peperoncino experience we had in, of all places, Kyoto.
The spaghetti alle vongole (S$25) came in a huge portion. Loads of clams, minced garlic and parsley with a light hint of white wine. The robust flavour will have you licking the clam shells. By the time we were done, we were too full for dessert.
It's quite lovely dining here, with the cool sea breeze and beach resort-like ambiance. The whole place with the driving range has a stuck-in-the-'70s feel about it, which gives it some character.
Baraonda also seems to have scaled down its prices a little since opening. Service on the whole is fairly decent and they serve plain water here (unlike many joints that force you to purchase a drink). But kick back with a cool beer and enjoy that pizza. After that you can literally walk to the beach if you wish.
920 East Coast Parkway
(Inside Parkland Golf Driving Range)
Mon to Fri: 4pm - 11pm
Sat, Sun & Public Holidays: 11am - 11pm