After nearly two decades of serving hearty Italian fare with a convivial ‘nonna’s’ touch, Ristorante Da Valentino is preparing to close its doors this December. The impending closure marks the end of an era for Italian chef-owner Valentino Valtulina, 49, who opened his namesake restaurant 18 years ago in a residential area along Rifle Range Road with his Singaporean wife before relocating to its current location at The Grandstand in 2012.
Since 2019, tenants of The Grandstand have been aware that the Bukit Timah site is scheduled for redevelopment for future housing. Their lease will officially conclude on Dec 31, with Ristorante Da Valentino’s last day of operation set on Dec 24.
According to Valtulina, the restaurant was thriving before they received the final notice to move out. “If not for the redevelopment, we would’ve happily stayed on for sure,” he shared with 8days.sg.
NO PLANS TO OPEN AT A NEW LOCATION
Valtulina explains that he is not considering relocating the restaurant. “It’s just not a good time to open at a new location right now. The rental cost is very high and staffing is another big issue,” he shared. The affable chef, who runs his restaurant with his parents and four family members, says the Valtulina clan will take a well-deserved break before planning their next move.
Of course, this is hardly the end of Valtulina’s culinary journey. The chef from Milan eagerly shares his plans to travel around his native country next year.
“I want to visit small towns and learn recipes from the nonnas. Traditional Italian food is slowly disappearing and I want to bring it back. Maybe I’ll spend one to two years learning new recipes and then teach them to the new generation. The world is very big, who knows what other opportunities are out there?” he said.
RESERVATIONS “PRETTY MUCH FULL” TILL DEC 24
Ristorante Da Valentino will be closing for good on Dec 24. If you haven’t secured a table yet, we recommend contacting the restaurant ASAP for your last chance to taste their signature squid ink, lobster pasta or slow-cooked chicken.
“We’re pretty much full. We’ll try to accommodate as many people as possible but we won’t be adding more seats,” said the chef, who tells us the restaurant is already fully booked for its final week. Consider yourself warned. The menu will remain “as usual” for the restaurant’s final months of operation. “There’s no special menu. We’ll just focus on all our most popular dishes,” he said.
ONE-NIGHT-ONLY BUFFET & WINE SALE ON NOV 18
On Nov 18, the restaurant will be throwing an exclusive event from 4.30pm to 10.30pm. For S$58 per person, you can enjoy a buffet featuring “Mamma Alma’s roast pork”, pasta, pizza, antipasti and more, plus a free drink. There will also be a wine garage sale, with bottles from S$18.
RESTAURANT MEMORABILIA UP FOR SALE
The restaurant, which is known for its rustic decor and cosy ambience, will also be selling memorabilia like glassware, plates, decorations and even its cupboards to customers who want to bring a part of it home. Their whimsical Christmas baubles, which are displayed throughout the year, are up for grabs too. “Pretty much everything will be on sale,” he said.
“WE ARE NOT LEAVING FOREVER”
“The restaurant is my baby, I’ve had 18 good years with it and have to accept (the closure). It’s time to let it go. Finally, the restaurant has come of age, it can go get a driving license and drink legally,” he quipped. “I’m not going to miss anything. I want to look forward to what’s next,” said the chef.
“I want to thank everyone – not just customers, I call them my family – everyone who comes here is a member of our family. We’re not leaving forever, we’re just taking a break and maybe we’ll come back with something exciting, but at this point, I can’t confirm anything.”
Ristorante Da Valentino’s last day of operation is on Dec 24. Located at 200 Turf Club Road, #01-19, The Grandstand, Singapore 287994.
This story was originally published in 8Days.
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