We Heart Garibaldi!
No, not Garibaldi the Italian military and political figure, but Garibaldi the restaurant.
Kuala Lumpur’s march toward more elegant Italian restaurants continues at Garibaldi, a warm, trendy restaurant in Bangsar Village. Ah, but there are signs of potential greatness here. The pastas are incredibly fresh and of the highest quality; homemade spaghetti, pappardelle and a starter of black mussel broth with fresh chilies is irresistible. And the whole fish for two, baked then unwrapped and presented table-side, is a riveting performance worthy of some irrepressible Oo’s and Ah’s to be sure.
A composed starter of marinated Norwegian salmon Tartar style with Avocado Orange and Smoked Caviar sounds complex but tastes marvelous. Many dishes integrate small, sweet flourishes like walnut, with good old fashioned favourites like the gnocchi, good enough to elevate the dining experience by nuances. But aren’t nuances enough to transform something that is good to something that is great?
Cozze – Black Mussel Broth with Lemon Leaf & Spicy Tomato Sauce
Oh, I love mussels. Sometimes, fresh mussels in the simplest of broths are just the most effective, don’t you think? This mussel dish at Garibaldi should not be overlooked based on its simplicity. The aroma is beautiful and it seems as though the mussels were steamed in the sauce for a long time, enhancing its natural flavours. It is difficult to imagine filling up on these small, meaty nuggets of the sea, and so serving it as a starter is really a good choice. Enough to whet your appetite but not enough to ruin your dinner. Loved this dish.
Salmone – marinated Norwegian salmon Tartar style with Avocado Orange and Smoked Caviar
So, does Garibaldi strike a chord for those desirous of food made close to home (home being Italy), with its house-made bread and mozzarella, its fresh pasta and great fish and meat dishes?
Carpaccio – Beef Carpaccio with Parmigiano Cheese and Rucola Salad
I think it does. The restaurant can get pretty crowded on a Friday night and we spied a few amongst us who might have been Italian food connoisseurs dining there, that night.
Did you know that Carpaccio was invented at Harry’s Bar in Venice, where it was first served to the countess Amalia in 1950 when she informed the bar’s owner that her doctor had recommended she eat only raw meat. The dish was named Carpaccio by Giuseppe Cipriani, the bar’s former owner, in reference to the Venetian painter Vittore Carpaccio, because the colors of the dish reminded him of paintings by Carpaccio! Well, let’s just say that the Carpaccio at Garibaldi paints a pretty picture, and passes with flying colors. Loved the texture and the sweet, raw flavour of the beef enhanced by the pungent green rucola leaves. Superbly seasoned with just a dash of salt, pepper and grated parmigiano cheese.
PAPPARDELLE- Flat white homemade egg noodle with Wagyu Beef Cheek
There were all sorts of esoteric and potentially delicious pastas on the menu. Talk about silken and expertly prepared pasta – the pappardelle was fabulously al dente. The Wagyu beef cheek whilst strong and gamy was very nicely seasoned and made this a thoroughly enjoyable dish.
Yes, pastas here are made in-house and it slides-down-the-throat all smooth and velvety. The fettuccine mushroom pasta was lovingly coated with olive oil and garlic and tossed with grated cheese and herbs. Buttery and intoxicating, the aroma of mushroom just permeated the entire dish. Done with pastas, on to the next carbo family. The gnocchi were exquisite little puffy, chewy pillows in a rich, coating of Gorgonzola cheese. The texture was wonderful. Toasted walnuts were scattered about for contrast. One of the top gnocchi for me, to date. Oh no! I’ve eaten too many Carbohydrate types already. Help!
GNOCCHI- Pumpkin & Potato Dumplings with Walnut and Gorgonzola Cheese Sauce
OSSOBUCO – “GARIBALDI” Braised Veal Cheek with Bone Marrow and Saffron Risotto
On to the red meats. The ossobuco was the least of my favourites because I found it a little too soft, bordering on mushy. Whilst I like my Ossobuco tender I still prefer it slightly more cartilaginous and chewy.
The Sirloin steak was juicy enough but slightly overcooked. I ordered medium rare but it was a wee bit more done than that. I usually like my meat crayoned in pink, drawing blood when you cut into it. Still the intoxicating beefy aromas where enough to pacify me.
TIRAMISU – Tiramisu with Homemade Lady-Finger Biscuits, Licorice Scented Mascarpone Cream
Desserts reflect the surer hand of the pastry chef with a standout version of the tiramisu. A light and airy yet creamy tiramisu, this was a pretty good dessert but could have done with a little more alcohol. I would have liked a bit more punch to it but hey, that’s just me.
PANNACOTTA – Bourbon Vanilla Pannacotta with Strawberries
A bourbon vanilla pannacotta with blueberries and lots of dark, semi-sweet syruped strawberries is as good as the species gets. Wobbly, smooth and just coated in that intoxicating, heady Vanilla flavour, this was the best dessert for me. The Pannacotta at Garibaldi comes highly recommended.
Kudos to Garibaldi because they know how to serve fabulous food in an appealing atmosphere at prices that reflect the new reality. That’s what I call “Italian food” and well, the “prices that reflect the new reality” in truth applies to the entrées and the wines. For as low as RM115, you can have a great bottle of white italian wine. Having said that, the main courses were not over the top expensive either, delivering the quality and wonderful flavours that totally justified its pricing. The sophisticated Italian menu is supplemented by some fabulous pasta, fish and meat dishes, and some simple but effective antipasti. We will be back again to sample the fish. That caught my eye during dinner as it was served at the neighbouring table, and the image just won’t go away. Oh, yes, I will be back.Add: Garibaldi Italian Restaurant and Bar,
LG 10 & G 22, Bangsar Village, 1 Jalan Telawi Satu, Bangsar Baru, 59100 Kuala Lumpur. Tel: +603 2282-3457 Google Maps