Another potential entry for Best of 2010! About bloody time too, it’s already September. Part of the Garibaldi group, Gattopardo is an Italian restaurant specialising in seafood. It’s located at what used to be The Legends at Fort Canning Park, which is currently undergoing renovations to turn it into a hotel. The restaurant itself is located in a remarkably large space, with lots of private rooms and ample space for parties. This also means that unless they’re extremely busy, you can usually get a table at fairly short notice.
In addition to their a la carte menu, they also have seafood flown in daily which you can select from a glass counter in the middle of the restaurant. We decided that on our first visit, we should make the most of their seafood expertise. To start with, we selected calamari from the glass counter and got them to grill it, with olive oil and lemon juice. This was very tender and sweet, but I think I expected a little more flavour from the squid.
There was a huge array of pastas on the menu that were calling to me, so we decided to share one as a second starter. We had the angel hair pasta with bottarga and sea urchin. This was good – it didn’t have the Asian twist that the one at Oso did, but at the same time I didn’t expect the liberal dose of herbs in the sauce that made it almost pesto-like.
For our mains, A had the Baked Garoupa with Cured Pancetta and Red wine sauce. This came perched on top of a boiled potato and some sort of pumpkin puree. The fish was very fresh and very flavourful, and perfectly cooked. I did find the pumpkin puree a tad too sweet though, but overall this was a very good dish.
I had the Risone with Braised Octopus and Bone Marrow. Risone is a rice-shaped pasta that looks like risotto but is a pasta instead of rice. This was really good and surprisingly not very jelak at all, compared to risotto. It had a very interesting texture – al dente yet still smooth, and the flavour of the sauce was amazing. The slices of octopus were also very tender. An excellent dish.
Their dishes are all pretty light and well-portioned, so we had room for dessert. A had the Cannoli, which was filled with a sweet ricotta cream and served with a pistachio ice cream, and I had the Crumbled Shortbread with Citrus Cream and Chocolate Sorbet. Both were very interesting and refreshing departures from normal Italian desserts, but if I had to pick the better one it would be the Shortbread.
Service is excellent – knowledgeable waiters who are keen to recommend but aren’t at all pushy. I would definitely recommend this place, and I also can’t wait to return for more pastas and some of their interesting-sounding pizzas.
Great! It’s got the perfect fancy but not too poncy atmosphere. The service is fantastic, although it does get a tad slow when your section is full. And the desserts are some of the most inventive and original I’ve had in an Italian restaurant.
Overall, a definite contender for the best new find of 2010.
Note to self: Skip the coffee. It was a lot stronger than I expected it to be, and it kept me up till 3 am.
11 Canning Walk
Lunch: 12 noon – 3 pm
Dinner: 6.30 pm – 10.30 pm