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Bossed up!

Panini Mafia steps up with its first brick-and-mortar store

To make it easier for customers to track down, Panini Mafia has opened its first brick-and-mortar shop in addition to its original food truck. Although compact in size, the newly-opened store makes you feel welcomed with its cosy vibe and the affable chef Angelo. The ceiling is painted with a map of Italy, as a tribute to where pasta and paninis come from (duh). The half-bricked walls feature the restaurant's logo on the left, with the menu written on a mirror to the right.

Judging by its name, you may think Panini Mafia only serves Italian-style sandwiches. But they now make palatable pasta and salads too. We got to try two of those: Penne Italian sausage with cream sauce (B280) and Penne with amatriciana sauce (B240). What made the first dish especially delish was the Italian pork sausage that just burst with flavour and an aroma that's infused with rosemary. The penne was chewy, but by no means hard. After a few bites in, the black pepper did begin to produce a kick on your palate too. The Penne with amatriciana sauce also got our thumbs up. The tasty sauce was made up of tomatoes, onion, cheese and pork belly imported from Italy. The belly was chewy and went great with the penne. What made this dish special in our opinion, though, was the smoky touch you don't usually expect from a pasta dish.

They still offer paninis with mafia-inspired names like Al Capone and Godfather, however, we were more interested in the new fusion ones. Kra pao panini (B160) reminded us of pesto more than it did the Thai hot basil sauce. But that doesn't mean it was not good. The chicken breast, caramelised onion, and a fried egg were flanked between buns while the homemade spicy pesto sauce did resemble the taste of phad kaprao (but it could have been taken up a notch or two on the Scoville scale).

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