Roots Mediterranean may have been around for a little under four months, but it has already made its home among resident of Watten Estate, Bukit Timah. A steady crowd of expats could be seen steadily filling up the restaurant’s expansive premises, till it was practically full house when we visited on a Saturday evening.
Boasting a selection of Spanish, Greek, and Italian dishes, Roots Mediterranean exudes homely warmth the moment you step in, from the affable serving staff, to the warm tones of its decor. A look through the menu reveals the restaurant’s steadfast dedication to authentic, traditional food that does not stray from recipes of old, even those that are not commonly found in Singapore.
Considering its compact kitchen size, Roots Mediterranean’s ability to churn out dish after dish with speed and quality is pretty impressive. The passionate chef takes heart in feeding his customers with hearty food boasting fresh ingredients, even taking time from the busy kitchen to mingle with regulars.
For starters, Roots Mediterranean’s appetisers range from bite-sized goodies to sharing plates. Mediterranean lovers will appreciate the wide variety of choices available, which includes mouth-watering starters like Hummus ($8), Croquettas De Jamon Y Queso ($8), Croquettas De Trufa ($8), Albondigas ($8), and Fried Halloumi Cheese ($12).
While I’m not too big about fried food personally, the flavours blended together really well, and it wasn’t long before the Hummus disappeared from our table! Needless to say, our appetites were thoroughly whet with these promising starters.
Larger groups can turn to Roots Mediterranean’s antipasti and mezze, which include simple, rustic choices like the Tortillas De Papas Y Queso Fundido ($8), a simple dish of Spanish omelette with potatoes and melted cheese.
The Octopus Gallego ($15) delights with its succulent chunks of octopus, spread generously over potatoes, cherry tomatoes, and olives. Same for the Gratinated Mussels ($18), which combine fresh, plump mussels with the crumbly textures of the gratin.
New to the menu is the Tuna Brescaloa, a Sicilian specialty of air-dried tuna served atop tomatoes and greens and sprinkled with olives.
It is with the mains that Roots Mediterranean’s culinary prowess really starts to shine. Hailing from the kitchens of Greece, the Moussaka ($20) is a substantial baked dish that comprises potatoes and eggplant layered with minced meat and bechamel sauce. Tuck in for a bite or two of this unapologetically rich Greek dish that boasts several layers of flavours. Be sure to dig in as soon as this dish is served piping hot at your table, as its molten centre is too good to be missed!
Aside from its eponymous Mediterranean dishes, Roots Mediterranean also offers up a sizeable selection of classic Italian dishes. Pizzas are available round or in teglia alla romana – that’s square shaped to you.
All pizza dough is proofed for 36 hours, with 85% hydration to yield an extremely light, slightly crunchy border that allows the toppings to come to the fore. Available in 25cm, 50cm, and even 1 metre, pizzas are priced from $18 to $15, depending on your length of choice. The 1-metre option is a true show stopper, as it is served on a long wooden board to much fanfare from the staff!
Every dish of pizza is like an edible masterpiece, with each mouthwatering element being pieced together with utmost care and attention to detail. With toppings evenly spread out, there’s no fighting over who gets the “best slice”. Flavours include:
- Ripiena – stuffed pizza with mozzarella, mortadella, grilled pepper, and rucola
- Salami and Truffle – Parmesan cream, spicy salami, truffle cream, rucola, and parmesan shavings
- Greek – Tomato sauce, feta cheese, kalamata olives, oregano, and cherry tomatoes
- Salsiccia – Tomato sauce, mozzarella, pork sausage, and grilled bell peppers
The pastas are also worth a mention. The cheekily-named Tagliatelle “It’s not Alfredo!”, served with 24-month aged parmigiano reggiano emulsioned cream, yields additional earthly notes from the chef’s inclusion of black truffles. Best consumed immediately to enjoy the full freshness of this delicious dish!
An off-the-menu special, the Cacio e Pepe hails from modern Roman cuisine. Cooked perfectly al dente, the name of this little known dish literally translates to “cheese and pepper” in Italian dialects. While the grated Pecorino cheese lends the pasta its intense savoury flavour, the black pepper contrasts the richness by adding some spiciness and heat.
Whether you are a casual diner or an Italian food connoisseur, Cacio e Pepe is something you have to try at least once in your life to appreciate the simple, yet bold flavours of Italian cuisine.
With so many pastas available, it’s easy to be spoilt for choice. Choose Four Ravioli ($32) lets diners enjoy the best of both worlds, by serving up portions of four types of Raviolo ($20 – $24 ala carte) with your choice of sauce on the side.
Freshly made and generously stuffed, notable ravioli flavours in Roots Mediterranean’s menu include:
- Ravioli Asparagus – Asparagus and ricotta cheese with tomato sauce
- Panzeroti Porcini – Porcini mushroom and cheese with tomato sauce
- Lunette Truffle – Cheese and black truffle with tomato sauce
- Tortelli Crab Lobster – Pasta stuffed with crab and lobster meat with tomato sauce
Choose Four Ravioli ($32); individual Ravioli flavours available from $20 – $24For tomato-based pastas, the Tagliatelle “Rustic” Bolognese ($20) and Penne Arrabbiata ($20) are excellent choices that are sure to please the young ones. These dishes are proof that you don’t have to get overly fancy in order to make a mean, mouthwatering pasta.
Dessert is an elegant platter of the best Italy has to offer – Tiramisu ($9), Lemon Tart ($9), Mango Tart ($9), Churros with Chocolate and Cream ($9), and Frozen Pistachio Profiteroles with Hot Chocolate and Cherries ($9). Whether you’re here for high tea or looking for a perfect end to your meal, a visit to Roots Mediterranean is not complete without trying at least one of these mouthwatering sweets!
A hallmark of a truly authentic European restaurant is in its ability to reproduce classic, traditional fare that stays true to its cuisine of origin. Roots Mediterranean is certainly one of these places. It’s almost a shame our introduction to European cuisine is often marred by several misconceptions resulting differing interpretations from locally established restaurants and eateries. If you’re looking for the real deal, a meal at this humble restaurant is definitely worth the trip!
Address: 2 Greenwood Avenue
Nearest MRT: Tan Kah Kee DT8
Monday to Thursday: 11.30am – 2.30pm/ 5pm – 10.30pm
Friday to Sunday: 11.30am – 10.30pm
Contact: +65 6463 4206/ firstname.lastname@example.org