Last Updated: November 9, 2021
Unbeknownst to many, Italian food isn’t just about pasta, pizza, and every wonderful carb you’ve grown to obsess over. Their cuisine is as varied as their seasons and differs from region to region. Griglia Open Fire Italian Kitchen lends its name from the term ‘grigliata‘, in reference to the outdoor grill that’s often used for al fresco meals in the summer. While there are Italian familiars here on its menu, the grill leads the way here—so expect smoky, sexy numbers dished out from their humble kitchen.
Griglia’s space is cosy, with choice nooks that are more intimate and ideal for a first date. I suggest seating right next to the kitchen if you’re the sort who seeks a culinary performance from the chefs while waiting on your next dish.
I start with an Eggplant (S$15) with Roma tomatoes, Ligurian basil, and smoked ‘Caciocavallo’ fondue. On its own, eggplants don’t carry much personality, but coupled with the acidity of the Roma tomatoes and smoked ‘Caciocavallo’ fondue, it transforms into an appetiser that you’ll want to savour languidly. Peel off layer by layer, if you must—it’s the best way to appreciate its delicate nature and subtle sweetness.
Following in the footsteps of the previous starter, the Hokkaido Scallops Crudo (S$22) is another dainty dish that’ll surprise you with a complexity of flavours. Served on a mound of white corn, Amalfi lemon, and capers sauce, there’s an evident saltiness just enough to enhance the scallops’ sweetness without overpowering it. More importantly, the lovely supple textures complement each other wonderfully.
Don’t be fooled by this pasta’s simple outlook. The Spaghetti di Martino (S$18) may be the most familiar Italian dish of the evening here at Griglia, but its flavour complexity is out of this world. Relying only on Datterino tomatoes and Italian seawater (yes, it’s literally what you think it is), the tomatoes are brined for 24 hours in a concoction that carries a 4:1 ratio of water to seawater.
Cream of tomato is its only companion, but honestly, that’s all it requires. The depth of umami is an expected hit, as each al dente spaghetti strand is blanketed luxuriously in this amazingly rich sauce. If I could request for a full-sized portion and have this as the only dish of the evening, I’d be completely content.
Some of the ugliest dishes can prove to be the most delicious, as exemplified by the Whole Spanish Turbot (S$58 for 400g, S$98 for 800g). Be sure to lovingly scrape off the flesh from both sides to enjoy some of the flakiest, succulent fish flesh you’re probably going to relish in for a while. The flesh comes off effortlessly, so there’s no need to be afraid of having to wrestle for your dinner, but the true reward is impeccably sweet, charred fish that’s oh-so-worth digging a little deeper into your pockets for this one.
I’ll leave you for a moment to marvel at the perfect medium-rare cook on this beautiful Grass Fed Wagyu Striploin MBS 3/4 (S$68 for 200g). Carbs aren’t needed here—although you can certainly order a side or two for the full experience.
The sinew is present with this one, yet has a tenderness that doesn’t call for extra jaw work. The dollops of pickled mustard and garlic sauce serve the meat sufficiently—and honestly, when a beef cut is that near-perfect, do we really need anything else?
You can’t get any more in the mood for summer (if we had one) than with the Capri in a Cake (S$12). The limoncello caprese proves to be moist—the only way a cake sponge should ever be. It’s also airy, sweet and tart in equal measure, and served with a scoop of savoury extra virgin olive oil ice cream. I’m so glad I wasn’t coerced to share this with anyone; it’s as delightful as a lemon meringue tart, but with more intensely moreish flavours.
Let’s get this out of the way: I can’t stop thinking about the Spaghetti di Martino for its immaculately balanced flavours. So, if you’re planning your carb intake around a meal at Griglia, be sure to accommodate the dish into your allowance. Or throw caution to the wind and go with your gut, because life is short and you can’t afford to waste it on limiting your food options.
Expected damage: S$35 – S$50 per pax
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Price: $ $
Our Rating: 4 / 5
Griglia Open Fire Italian Kitchen
37 Craig Road, #01-01, Singapore 089675
37 Craig Road, #01-01, Singapore 089675