Saturday, May 15, 2010

Gattopardo ....... Sicillian Cuisine that ensnare you

I first heard the Italian name 'Gattopardo' last year when HY and I were learning some Southern Italian dishes in Palate Sensations, and with Gattopardo's executive chef, Lino Sauro. It was a lot of fun learning cooking with Chef Lino. He's funny and his cooking was very intuitive. I learnt from observing him, that recipes serves just as a guide. The finger dipping and licking, the sense of smell and taste is the way to get the right taste. We always recall our experience in Italian cooking with Chef Lino from the way he instruct us to add olive oil. 'Add a little olive oil', we go few drips, 'more!', we go a few drops more, and then he went on to tilt our oil bottle for a few seconds, which made it go 'glurg.... glurg.... glurg'. That's a little olive oil from Lino.

Gattopardo is part of the Garibaldi group of restaurants that serves Southern Italian cuisine. It's got itself a good location at the Fort Canning Hotel and on its Terrace level. The colonial building, also part of Singapore's history, is now under major renovations. Even if the renovations did affect business, the place was almost 80% filled and the restaurant is quite big. Behind the bar counter, at the far end from the entrance, is where Chef Lino and his team work their talents. A refrigerated transparent glass compartment, built integral with the bar counter, is where they display their freshest catch from the gulf of Sorrento and islands of Sicily. Along side the fresh sea food, behind the bar counter, you can see Chef Lino still working pizzas out of the Neopolitan wood fired oven. After having our fill tonight, I already thought that this restaurant is a keeper. It would be better if the service staff gets smoother with their delivery, like remembering our orders.

Here's the food that Gattopardo served to us which was satisfying enough to take that grouchiness out of the crazy work week.

Gattopardo's Bread Dish
Gattopardo's pampering started with their bread dish. While we were waiting for W and J, we tasted the bread sticks that was wonderfully spiced up. One of them was actually spicy hot. The slices of baguette went well with that wonderful bottle of La' Uliva Sicillian Extra Virgin Olive Oil. I was actually teasing HY to sneak a bottle of that stuff back home. The bread dish was so good with the olive oil that we polished off the whole dish and had to get another one when W and J arrived.

Crispy Deep Fried Calamari Ring with Red Pepper and Spicy Mayo
For antipasto, we had to order the calamari. The squid rings were thinly battered. When I looked at it, I was sorely disappointed that it had non of the crunchiness that I liked with calamari that is battered with more gusto. However, I was amazed by how, this calamari tasted. It was light, succulent and brought with it, that refreshing and lifting savory taste, even without the spicy mayo dip.

Capesante e Porcini
Broiled Italian Scallops with Dried Porcini Mushroom Cream
This antipasto was the only disappointing dish. However great the porcini mushroom cream was, couldn't hide the blandness in those scallops.

Mozzarella di Bufala e Cuore di Bue
Homemade Buffalo Mozarella Cheese with Italian "Ox Heart" Tomatoes and Fresh Salad.
This was not my cup of tea but W seemed to like Buffalo Mozarella. I ate a third of this dish, and that was enough to make me conclude that I liked this better than the one from Osvaldo. Osvaldo's cheese was bland but Gattopardo's had a better taste to it. That's my two cents from someone who couldn't appreciate this very Italian dish.

Squid Ink Tagliatelle with King Crab and bisque sauce (Not in the regular menu)
Although I know that HY and the rest voted the Fiorentina steak, this was still my best dish of the night. The squid ink tagliatelle was tangy and made till perfect texture. The sweet king crab and the marvelous bisque sauce made this pasta such an enjoyment. The richness of the bisque sauce was controlled well, so much so that I thought it was flavorful and yet lightly textured. I swiped the last strand of tagliatelle while extracting as much of the bisque sauce as I can.

Costata di Manzo alla Fiorentina, 1 kg
1 kg of Char Grilled Cote De Boeuf, Serves 2 pax
I saw the twinkle in J's eyes and the pursing of her mouth when she swallowed the beef and exclaimed that this must be one of the best she had eaten for a while. I thought I heard her say "Moooo" instead in "Mmmm" from the beefy high she derived from the Fiorentina steak. We all felt that it was better than Al Borgo's. The meat was not as tough and I was able to chomp them down. W and HY mentioned that it was as good as Valentinos. I insisted that Inagiku's Wagyu was the best so far.

The meat that's right beside the fats tasted the best like what W told me. Those little potatoes looked cute and taste yummy.

We tried the following desserts that was simply an indulgence after the 'pampering'. The tiramisu was good but had lost its novelty to the other 3 desserts. The Baba is a European Cake that can be difficult to find in Singapore and the other 2 are Sicillian desserts.

Top Left :
Cannolo Siciliano - Crispy Espresso infused wafer filled with sweet Ricotta cheese
Top Right : Baba - Rum "Baba" Sponge Cake Topped with Fresh Cinnamon Cream
Bottom Left : Cassata - Sicillian Tradition Ricotta Cheese Cake with candied fruits and chocolate bits
Bottom Right : Tiramisu - Signature Marscapone & Espresso tiramisu cake with Sicillian Bitter Chocolate

One can spend as much as a few hundred bucks (if you choose their fresh catch) or below S$80 (if you choose to whack only pizzas). Seems like Gattopardo is flexible to the pocket too and all in a chic ambience that's fitting as a fine diner. I'm gonna try those pizzas only and I don't think they're gonna chase me away for not trying their Sicillian fish.

Fort Canning Hotel
11 Canning Walk
Terrace Level
Tel : 6338 5498


red fir said...

They don't bill themselves as fine dining but the prices are certainly not cheap.

Unknown said...

You can try their pizzas. The pizza prices are quite reasonable. :)

red fir said...

Just checked their website again, they brought the prices down by quite a bit. Heard the pizzas are not good.

Unknown said...

Wah ...... luckily I haven't try them yet.

Fega Barramundi said...

Fresh fish is a highly perishable food product, so it must be eaten promptly or discarded; it can be kept for only a short time. In many countries, fresh fish are filleted and displayed for sale on a bed of crushed ice or refrigerated.


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