Photos by Chong Yap of Make Your Calories Count
Having tried other comparable Italian restaurants such as Burlamacco and Alkaff Mansion recently, I felt that Trattoria Gallo d'Oro is one restaurant that is definitely worth a visit.
Chef Silvio is one of most dynamic chefs I have enncountered. When under mentorship from Michelin 3-star chefs such as Paul Bocuse and Michel Guerard, Chef Silvio used to spend 16 hour-days in the kitchen. It is no wonder that he seeks finesse in his culinary skills, and more importantly, to impart artistic flair and creativity to his creations.
Yet, his friendly disposition makes every guest feel welcome at his gourmet restaurant. We particularly enjoyed the ambience as the casual setting made it a place where one would feel comfortable knocking some pints over and tucking in a hearty meal!
The fine chef appreciates his creations and food like an art piece. While conversing with Executive Chef and owner of Trattoria Gallo D'oro, Silvio Morelli, I learnt much insight about his skills and knowledge in culinary arts. What intrigued us was that Chef Silvio paints every evening after he is done at his restaurant and displays his collection of paintings on the walls of his restaurant for his guests and diners to enjoy while they tuck in to a hearty meal prepared by the same pair of hands!
Before we start the meal, 'Cin!' (which means cheers in Italian!).
Interestingly, we learnt that one should only say Cin! once as repeating it (Cin Cin) meant 'Cheers and never to see you again!'.
So, go easy on your Cin!
Served on a slice of toast, the diced cherry tomatoes atop a slice of salami was neatly packed before being drizzled with balsamic vinegar to taste. Neatly constructed, it was no surprise in our later courses that Chef Silvio impresses us with his beautifully composed plating.
What set this antipasti apart was the harmonious combination of ingredients which elevated the flavours of each component standalone. There was an interesting array of textures and flavours in this dish, starting from the succulent pan-seared firm scallops that shone as the star. Paired with the soft white truffle, we enjoyed the beautiful juxtaposition in textures with the crispy thin wafer that sits atop the luscious ricotta cheese. The subtle bearing of mint on the ricotta cheese delivered hints of freshness and sweetness, which made the cheese very palatable indeed.
Fans of white truffle would embrace the unique aroma which is a divine embodiment of earthy flavours. The introduction of gingered carrots thinly sliced added an additional dimension to enhance the robust flavours of nature and in my personal opinion, laid the foundation to an ingeniously-constructed appetiser to whet one's appetite.
If you are a fan of tomato-based broth, this would set you brimming with smiles. The rich broth retained much of the acidity that gave a bold punch of flavours. While Chef Silvio recommended to have our hands dirty and tuck in to the toasted slice to the broth, I personally enjoyed them better when eaten separately. The richness of the ripe tomatoes unfortunately masked the savouriness from the anchovies spread which was undoubtedly delicious on the toast.
One of the highlights includes learning from the various food connoisseurs and Chef himself about the ingredients and dishes served. While many would be familiar with Italian cold cuts, what many would not notice is to enjoy it with some soft and balanced Pilsner beer. Not only does it complement well with the savouriness of salami, the light and crisp beer would be perfect on any hot day!
The various types of cold cuts were neatly arranged and meant to be enjoyed in a clockwise manner, starting with the lightest in terms of flavours before ending with white boar salami which is distinctly stronger and bolder.
Like any fine-dining Italian restaurant, the long and flattened pasta was hand made by Chef Silvio and one would expect someal dente pasta lusciously soaked in a tomato-based sauce. Given the relatively small size of the lobster served, it was challenging to nail the cooking time and regrettably, my lobster was slightly over the mark. Regardless, I enjoyed my pasta as the piquant blend of lovely flavours from the ripened tomatoes definitely set the standard.
What made this dish memorable was that when it was served to all three of us at the table, the cloches were removed simultaneously, which made quite a theatrical presence!
There was no way I could ever say no to roasted pork belly, be it the Western style or your classic siew yuk. With the pork very well seasoned through the distinct layers of fat and lean meat, the savoury flavours came across boldly in a palatable fashion. The succulent meat was paired with the velvety mashed potatoes. Drizzled with toasted black sesame seeds, it added some grit to the softness of the mash and collectively as a dish, it certainly made a very satisfying main for the gentlemen and ladies.
Chef Silvio took much pride in showcasing his handmade macarons and we could see the reason why upon the first bite. It was almost love at first sight (and first bite).
While I dare not claim to be the connoisseur when it comes to macarons, I do know how to appreciate a good one when such comes across.
A crisp shell with an inner jam-filling that did not fail to surprise us.
While we tucked in to our sumptuous dinner, it would be hard not to indulge in the other aspect of art displayed by Chef Silvio as the paintings on the wall were all his masterpieces!
Blk 7, Magazine Road, #01-03
P.S: Special thanks to Emily for the invitation!