DELICIOUS, oh-so-good italiano (more specifically, sicilian) dining at this small, cozy little restaurant along tras street. this post is a long time coming, given that I ate here during my birthday (six months ago, hello!), but it’s a goodie (even if it is also an oldie now).
I nearly don’t dare to come back here given how pleasant my memories of this meal was, so I implore you to try it and give it ago, and perhaps bring back some reassurance?
we got a delightful little corner table on the ground floor – sunlight streaming in, in full view of the bricked facade of the kitchen. attention is a little spotty, in a relaxed sort of manner – they certainly can move quickly, as they did with the table next to ours that was clearly there for a swift lunch.
soft bread comes with a dish of flavorful olive oil and balsamic – standard fare for a decent place.
I was already impressed with the first dish when it arrived. for one – it was rather beautiful with the colors of the orange and red cabbage, and the flavors were perky and fresh with the endive and sweet cooked prawn strewn throughout.
the dressing is light and clean, with a measured use of olive oil that keeps everything crisp and cool.
and then our mains arrived – and boy, were they good. first, the zuppa di pesce ‘gattopardo’, the house special of seafood stew was served in a rustic pot with all the intensity you’d have expected in a bisque. if you get this, I think you’ll be just as surprised as we were at the amount of seafood in there, and how tenderly all the different types of fish were cooked.
and for something to sop the stew up, a risone con polipo brasato e midollo di bue, which is italian for grain-shaped pasta cooked with firm octopus and bone marrow. I think bone marrow is one of those modern, fancy ingredients that you see almost too often, and which I almost always avoid for its fatty oiliness – but here, it worked with the orzo to create a silky, lovely pasta. and I haven’t even mentioned the tasty, deep flavors of the pasta sauce, or the firm octopus (which is one of my favorite seafoods ever).
we finished with two desserts (but of course – the fiance understands my need for sweets). and while I have to say I’m not in general a fan of italian desserts, seeing as how many are basically constructions of cream or semifreddo, but these were really satisfying.
the millefoglie was a mille-feuille with puff pastry layers encasing chocolate and caramel mousse-creams, and it all reads really sweet until you realise that the unique comopnents of vanilla oil and smoked sea salt really bring that something special to the dish.
we also took the signature semifreddo di lino of nougat parfait with an almond sauce – you might not typically like whipped cream (real here, of course!) but it does bring a mild counterpoint to the sweet semifreddo and balances things out.
I’m really bad with compliments, but we might have had our best meal this year here. I’m
afraid waiting to go back – and you almost certainly should give it a try.
Gattopardo Ristorante di Mare
34/36 Tras Street
tel +65 6338 5498
$$$: 40 onward