Made with ‘Amore’

“I just had the best coffee today.” ‘Martha Stewart’ announced excitedly to me one day. “You know that cafe near King St with the black umbrellas, next to the sushi place?”

“Oh yes,” I replied, “I walk pass it everyday on the way to work.”

“Do you know why it’s the best?” she asked with a mischievous spark in her eyes. Without waiting for my answer, she explained, “So I ordered my coffee, and then the guy who took my order punched the barista and went [puts on Italian accent], ‘Hey! Make it with [adds hand gesture] amore!’ Hahaha!” She finished with a laugh as, undoubtedly, the image of 4 tall and dark Italian men in a kitchen flashed through her mind.

And from then on, Caffe Amici gained a loyal fan. They had her at “Hey!”.

Fast forward 6 months and we finally made it down the block to have lunch at Caffe Amici. We would have come earlier to experience its loving hospitality had dieting, gymming and life in general, not gotten in the way. But better late than never.

Baskets containing an assortment of breads and a trio of condiments – a highly popular cheesy and peppery pesto, marinara sauce, and olive oil with drops of balsamic – were brought to us as we sat down. It staved our hungry as we poured over its menu.

Linguine Amatriciana w guanciale, bacon, onion, chilli and tomato salsa
Of our party of 8, 4 of us ordered the Linguine Amatriciana, a blackboard special
with guanciale, bacon, onion, chilli and tomato salsa. Despite looking like a small portion, it was very filling and I struggled to finish it (induced a food coma in the afternoon). Very strongly flavoured, the tomatoes and chilli offered a nice balance to the fatty bacon and parmesan.
Orecchiette Salsiccia e Funghi w sausage, onion, mushroom zola and cream
Another blackboard special was the Orecchiette Salsiccia e Funghi. Originally ‘Martha Stewart’ and I were going to share our mains. But after taking a bite of my linguine, this creamy pasta became too bland for my palate. Luckily, ‘Martha Stewart’ preferred this plate of orecchiette with sausage, onion, mushroom zola and cream, which left her extremely satisfied without the bloated feeling creamy pastas can produce.
A man of few words, Prince George described his Lasagne as lasagne-ie. I guess the fact this is the 3rd time he has ordered this dish speaks louder than words.
Penne boscaiola
The Penne boscaiola with chicken, peas, bacon, onion and cream had a mild flavour and, once again, did not leave a heavy, bloated feeling.

After we had wiped our plates clean, we tucked into some complimentary muffins that were still hot from the oven. Both variety of muffins were slightly crunchy on the outside, yet soft and moist inside. But my favourite was the banana and dark chocolate, which was not too sweet and had gooey melted choc chips.

Service was attentive and quite friendly – the latter no doubt helped by our association with ‘Martha Stewart’. After our meal, one of the tall and dark Italian waiters (probably the owner or manager) asked whether we enjoyed our lunch and then warned, “No compliments for the chef, eh? The one in the kitchen, his head is too big.”

Caffe Amici stands on its own in providing authentic, delicious Italian food and warm hospitality, but ultimately it’s the amore that will keep bringing us back.

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