Sunday is usually family dinner - and sometimes I get to pick the places to go, and at other times my parents decide. Usually it's back to the same boring places, but sometimes they do come up with some gems, like iO Italian Osteria which was recommended by my mum's friend (who certainly eats well).
Situated at Hillv2, a shopping mini-mall at Hillview Avenue, iO had the feel of an Italian market (well - my idea, anyway, since I haven't been to Italy), almost like Eataly in New York, read: lots of produce (including pasta, olive oil, and wine) displayed in racks, the use of light wood furniture lending a bright and airy feel, freshly baked breads displayed on the counter, and an open kitchen. It was extremely crowded during Sunday dinner, which was encouraging, that the food's going to be good. It didn't disappoint.
First up, we started off with some starters. This was the porchetta (pork belly) with wild fennel and mustard. The meat was tasty enough, quite savoury, and went well with the mustard that cut through the richness. (7.75/10)
The server enthusiastically recommended the next dish: the Roman stuffed schiacciata, stuffed with truffles and cream cheese. OMG this was just wickedly delicious. Homemade bread, hearty and flavourful and nicely seasoned with salt, stuffed with cream cheese and truffles which provided an earthly and heavenly taste sensation which was extremely addictive and tasty. I'd be tempted to give it a 9/10 but it's such a simple dish: (8.5/10)
We also ordered some burrata with parma ham. The high quality of the parma ham showed, and the burrata was also fresh and drizzled with extra virgin olive oil - you can't go wrong. Good, fresh ingredients, done well. (8/10)
We had another starter: eggplant in tomato. Not a bad dish, although it wasn't a standout. (7/10)
Another dish I really enjoyed was my orecchiette with pork sausage and saffron sauce. This was such a delicious dish. The saffron sauce had loads of flavour and was very robust, coating the orecchiette (which was done very well, al dente) nicely. (8.25/10)
The prices were reasonable as well. And the atmosphere is very casual, very "chill" - great for a night out with my buds. It somewhat reminds me of &SONS Bacaro in China Square. Certainly well worth a return to try some of the other pastas. If only I had a car, I'd be back.