Say what you like about the legendary mafia kingpins but there is no denying that they knew how to live. It’s that spirit of carefree hedonism and relentless pursuit of the next thrill that defines Gotti Italiano.
Gotti Italiano at Telok Ayer is the latest premium Italian restaurant to say ciao to Singapore. It is named after notorious former head of the New York Sicilian mafia John Gotti. Gotti was a larger-than-life figure. He mesmerised the public with his charm and eluded the authorities, all while living an extravagant, ostentatious life. Gotti Italiano pays worthy homage to the ‘Teflon Don’.
Authentic Italian food forms the solid groundwork, with a focus on fresh, seasonal ingredients and flavours coaxed from recipes refined over generations. At the bar, you will find drinks infused to exact perfection with classic ingredients.
They also have a range of true-blue Italian wines for a touch of refinement that would make Gotti proud. Connoisseurs have the opportunity to attend Wine Dinners with Master Sommeliers twice a month.
However, I cannot help but gush about the opulence and sheer sexiness of the decor as well. Every element, from the carpets to the furniture to the lighting comes together perfectly. If you are a fan of gangster movies, you’ll see many parallels here. In my mind, definitely a Den for the Don.
What I tried at Gotti Italiano
We eased into our plush chairs, admiring the deep, sensuous shades of the room and its exquisite textured walls.
My first taste of Gotti Italiano was with Capo Limoncello (S$22). It is a refreshingly tangy Sicilian aperitif. Performing its role to perfection, the drink whetted my appetite.
It was accompanied by a Carpaccio di Manzo (S$28) antipasti. This is an inspired starter of superb beef. They use only Sanchoku F1, MBS 6-7 Wagyu Beef eye round and the Amalfi lemon dressing, basil pesto and grana padano create a wonderful medley of colours and tastes. I liked the addition of rucola (rocket), too.
The Carpaccio di Manzo was served with the Insalata Caprese (S$26). If I enjoyed the subtle rucola in the first, the latter with its Cherry Bufala mozzarella and Roma tomatoes was even better. It has delicious hints of balsamic vinegar and comes with basil pesto, too.
Our first main was from the Secondi menu. Branzino Livornese (S$38) is the chef’s signature dish and has accompanied him around the world to every establishment for 18 years. Chef builds an earthy experience around ocean sea bass with his signature livornese sauce. Accompanied by citrus salsa and potato puree, this is a romantic ode to the sea.
Like me, you will appreciate the utter tenderness of the sea bass. It is not the most ostentatious choice on the Gotti Italiano menu but has this irresistible homely simpleness that I cannot resist.
What followed floored me. The Guanciale di Manzo (S$32) made with 12 hours slow cooked wagyu beef cheek ragu and red wine. Served with fusilli to capture as much of the indulgent ragu and top-grade meat, it was the clear favourite for me as well as my 2 dining partners.
Despite being the peckish eater I am, my plate was very close to empty by the time I was done. My colleague, Rachel is just as fussy an eater but she went the whole way. Much of the accolades belong to the pasta, which is hand-made daily at Gotti Italiano.
If beef is not your thing, the Salmone Trottole (S$32) is equally pleasing. The dish contains smoked salmon, capers, cream dill sauce and white wine. Trottole pasta has always fascinated me, by the way. When I was young, I used to call it the shock-absorber pasta.
Skip pasta entirely if you prefer risotto because the Risotto Al Granchio (S$32) is magnificent. Carnaroli rice is the base while a steaming concoction of red crab meat, grana padano and lobster bisque will surely complement the seafood lover’s day.
Guanciale di Manzo was a delightful prelude to our pizza. Diavola (S$34) has a fluffy dough base topped with Bufala mozzarella, homemade chilli sauce, spicy spianata pork sausage, chilli caviar and riviera olives. There are 2 twists to this winning dish.
First, the dough is prepared over 36 hours to create a heavenly fluffy base— I could eat it all day! Second, the usual tomato base is swapped for chilli sauce. Coupled with the spicy pork sausage, it makes for an enjoyably stinging indulgence.
We did not have the Signor Gotti (S$36) pizza but the Bufala mozzarella, grana Padano and rucola-laden 12-hour slow cooked wagyu beef cheek comes highly recommended. Every pizza here is baked to perfection in a stone-fired Napoli pizza oven. This process is a rarity locally but brings the authentic taste of Italy to our shores.
I fretted when dessert time rolled around. My friends know that I am a connoisseur of tiramisu and still in recovery after my favourite version was ‘improved’ by a local Italian restaurant that shall remain unnamed.
Well, I have a new favourite!
The Chef’s Signature Tiramisu (S$16) is made of Mascarpone Cream Cheese, Savioardi Biscuit and Amaretto. Yada, yada, yada… It. Is. Good.
This is truly the best tiramisu I have had in Singapore. They have somehow attained the perfect ratio of sponge to cream. On top of that, it is neither overly sweet nor too bitter (a common mistake when restaurants add excessive cocoa topping).
I initially felt that Gotti Italiano is angled to the dinner crowd. However, it seems that they have a very interesting set of revolving daily specials and set lunches.
Want to impress a client with great food and ambience without breaking the bank? The Executive Set Lunch (S$32++) available from Monday to Friday may be the answer. Working past office hours or have a hot date? Gotti Italiano’s Signature 5 Course Set Dinner (S$118++) bears consideration.
The biggest surprise, though, was the Chef’s Signature Omakase (S$168++ onwards) menu. I certainly didn’t expect to see the term at an Italian specialty restaurant. It certainly has my interest piqued and I will write a follow-up after a tasting.
Gotti Italiano already has a special place in my heart for its tiramisu. Our luxurious dinner was a series of stepped revelations into Italian done right. The decor bears heavily on the Cosa Nostra penchant for fine dining, fast living and danger-gilded excitement. It’s mesmerising together.
Expected damage: S$45 – $85 per pax
* This post was brought to you in partnership with Gotti Italiano.
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Price: $ $
Our Rating: 5 / 5
78, Amoy Street, Singapore 069897
78, Amoy Street, Singapore 069897