Tipo Gnocchi: the Famous Casual Pasta brand drops the doughball, hard
Admittedly, I’ve never been a big fan of any Tipo concept. Most of them are criminally overrated but I can see how they still provided a decent experience. This meant that the rebranded Tipo Gnocchi caught my attention — a pasta bar experience revolving around handmade gnocchi? Rare.
What makes this new concept even more intriguing is the fact that it will be taking over the North Bridge Road space, the unit where it all started.
The pasta bar flagship had outgrown the space and was destined for bigger things at Aliwal Arts Centre, leaving a vacancy for Tipo Gnocchi at North Bridge Road.
At the core, the space remains largely the same. It’s a cosy little nook without many bells and whistles, except the bright colours that once covered the walls have been toned down into more mature monochrome.
One huge difference though, is the shelving of the elaborate trays and shelves that once filled the shop, necessitated by the glut of hand-made pasta churned out by the kitchen. The small rotund gnocchi is a lot more compact and space-friendly, it seems.
Like Chewing on Gummy Dough
Starters were, as always, solid. The Feta Toast (S$14) didn’t give us much to complain about. Moist and airy toasted sourdough, clean-tasting feta cheese, and an array of nicely toasted tomatoes — as classic as it comes.
Alas, everything unravelled upon the introduction of the supposed star pasta. Tipo Gnocchi’s gnocchi were, in all honesty, horrendous.
Without delving into the sauce and ingredients, the diminutive potato-flour dumplings were utterly desecrated during cooking. The texture wasn’t just undercooked, it was a jarring mixture of limp softness and unforgivable gumminess — akin to chewing on undercooked dough balls.
At this point, it’s a foregone conclusion that no sauce could salvage the meal. But as far as the sauces go, the Duck Ragu ($24) was alright. No doubt a little too gamey and not the most succulent despite being braised overnight but it was decently flavourful.
On the other hand, the Seafood Kombu ($28) left me slightly torn. It’s built on a rustic kombu broth base that’s lightly briny and injected with a hearty dose of citrus for nuance — a decently comforting base, all things considered.
Even then, I couldn’t justify the $28 that Tipo Gnocchi was asking for the decidedly above-average dish, after removing the abhorrent gnocchi quality from the equation. It’s not hard to find bonafide Italian restaurants serving pasta dishes with much more finesse at similar price points.
I don’t have much more closing statements to add to my point. The truth is: I wasn’t even expecting pillowy gnocchi. I wasn’t expecting stellar sauce. I was just expecting my hungry tummy to be sated.
For a pasta-focused group that’s dedicated to artisanally hand-crafting their pasta, Tipo Gnocchi plunges past the low bar that I already fixed in place for such casual pasta bars.
And believe me when I say affordable and well-done pasta exists — it’s just not here.
Make your reservations here.
- Address: 785 North Bridge Rd, Singapore 198753
- Hours: (Mon–Sun) 11am–10pm