The next time friends ask you about halal Italian food in Singapore, try taking them to Kucina

The 60-seater restaurant in Paya Lebar's One KM mall opened in early June serving a fully Italian menu in trattoria-like decor. 

There are around 60 items on the menu and these range from classics like caprese ($9.80) cartoccio (top photo; $22.80) and penne arrabiata ($13.80) to more contemporary dishes like polenta fries ($8.80) and dessert pizzas such as cannela (cinnamon sugar with mascarpone and raisin; $10.80) and mela ($9.80), which is topped with apple, cinnamon and honey. 

Mela pizza at Kucina

Kucina, which means "kitchen" in Italian, is founded by chef Gero Dimaria @ Mohammed Omar and his partner Muhammad Ali. It's their first foray into the F&B business together, but Chef Gero was a culinary student in London, where he also worked for awhile. Since returning to Singapore in 1996, he had been working at Italian restaurants here until he decided to start one himself. 

Until this month, Muslims in Singapore mostly enjoyed Italian cuisine through the growing number of fusion cafes and restaurants here. Kucina promises the "real taste of Italian cuisine", but Chef Gero told Halal in the City fusion dishes "may come up" in the future.