Last Updated: November 9, 2016
My date and I visited Garibaldi Italian Restaurant and Bar during restaurant week in 2013 for some splendid European hospitality.
While our tables were being set, we were seated at the bar and enjoyed a couple of complimentary strawberry margaritas in shooters, along with some olives to whet the appetite. I wasn’t as impressed since eating Catalunya’s molecular gastronomy olive purees, but that’s not a very fair comparison in perspective. You see a substantial crowd of expats patronizing this establishment, significantly overwhelming locals. It’s a sight to behold, especially when you gaze upon the actual menu prices. Nonetheless, restaurant week gives you the privilege of dining a 3-course set menu at $55++, significantly lesser than what you would normally spend there.
After 15 mins of me staring like a deer in headlights at the wine list, we were brought to our table by the pleasant server. The dining hall was pretty spacious, but still not as private as I would have liked, with another table probably an arm’s length away- Eavesdropping is not an elegant act, but an involuntary one. So is learning about the sexual history of a stranger.
After selecting our menu choices, we were served free flow toasted Foccacia with olive oil, whereby the servers fervently refilled our bread dish when it was empty. I have to say, this is a way underrated bread they serve, although just an appetizer. Crispy outside, soft and moist inside, the bread compliments adequately with the extra virgin olive oil. Lovely.
First up at Garibaldi Italian was the Thick mushroom soup with soft boiled egg and truffled taleggio cheese fondue. Or as spelt out in Italian, Crema Di Funghi Tartufata Con Ouvo Barzotto E Taleggio. Making an attempt to order this in Italian was clearly not my cleverest moment. Anyway, it was an amazingly smooth mushroom soup with the scent of truffles and cheese fondue. The soft boiled egg, not a usual sight in cream soups, also added to the creaminess of the soup while having it’s heavy ‘eggy’ taste blended beautifully by the truffle, cheese and mushroom.
For mains, my date got the Grilled Black Angus Beef “Tagliata” with Porcini mushroom and Asparagus. I got the short end of the stick (because “we can’t both have the same thing” proclaims my dining partner) with the Spaghetti Aglio Olio with Hokkaido Scallop and Dried Grey Mullet Roe. The steak was nicely marbled and juicy as well as easy to consume with the sliced, rare style that is ‘Tagliata’. The mushroom flavour was too subtle though and could have easily been any brown roux sauce.
Aglio olio spaghetti was definitely undercooked slightly, seconds away from Al Dente. Surprising mistake for a restaurant of this calibre. Scallops were grilled evenly and had none of that oceanic taste, but my next gripe is the mullet roe. Not all the slices were thin enough, thus sticking like an overly attached girlfriend to my teeth on occasion. The other elements you can’t really go wrong with an Aglio Olio unless you put in crude oil instead of Olive oil.
Dessert was chocolate tarte with mascarpone orange scented cream and orange compote. Looking at the tarte chocolate texture, we were expecting it to be a solid chunk chocolate. Surprisingly, the cacao started oozing out precariously after we forked it. The original metaphor in my head for this reference has been censored for it’s inappropriateness. I love mascarpone cream and would probably eat it with char kway teow and still find it scrumptious. Needless to say, paired with the chocolate tarte and orange compote this was like angels frolicking on my tongue. Great dessert.
Garibaldi Italian Restaurant and Bar has wonderful service and hospitality, albeit a surprising let down on the pasta, the Italian mainstay.
Damage: $70/pax for Restaurant Week menu. Normally $100+/pax