CCFoodTravel were in Singapore for the #YourSingapore Live event, and decided to pay Gattopardo Singapore a visit …
Ever since we met Chef Lino Sauro at Garibaldi last year, we were hooked on Sicilian cooking.
Oh, and the Sicilian wines, what a pair.. what a combo.
Well, since we were in Singapore for the #YourSingapore Live event, we were not about to give up the chance to visit Chef Lino at his restaurant Gattopardo.
Located on sprawling greenery (something that’s somewhat lacking in KL) on Fort Canning Park, Gattopardo Italian Restaurant & Pizzabar, named after the famous Sicilian novel by Giuseppe Tommasi di Lampedusa, is a place where contemporary Italian design and Mediterranean flavours meet the colonial architecture of Singapore.
Helmed by the accomplished Chef Lino Sauro the food served is mainly authentic Sicilian cuisine. There’s a rather cool charcoal grill and wood-fired oven for baking gourmet pizzas and diners can expect a different and refreshing style of cooking from Chef Lino, paired to perfection with Sicilian & wines.
Born into a traditional Italian family in Gangi, a tiny mountain village of South Italy, with 7 siblings to boot, it is no wonder why one of the most renowned Sicilian Chef in Singapore, Lino Sauro, still proudly calls himself a ‘traditional village boy’. His pride in his cultural and family roots is undeniable as Chef Lino explains how his love for fresh and unprocessed food came about:” Having a farmer as a father means you eat what you grow on your own backyard. We have to help out at the farm and we do not go to the supermarkets or eat out at restaurants often- we are skeptical of all kinds of processed or out-of-season ingredients”.
Though Chef Lino has always been surrounded by fresh produce and dabbled in the kitchen, his culinary passion kicked in much later. And the funniest story is that though Chef Lino is an accomplished chef today, he used to hate cooking! At age 15, Chef Lino started his cooking studies in Cefalu, a beautiful beach resort Town on the Tyrrhenian Sea, purely because it was an occupation which allow him to indulge in his ‘first passion in life’- travel.
After years of travelling and discovery, it was finally in Asia that Chef Lino decided to delve into his next challenge- settling down as a chef on sunny island, Singapore. Visiting some of the most high end restaurant of the region, Chef Lino was impressed by how the different restaurants around every nook and corner of the resort stand out on their own and differ vastly in their services- ” Some of them are really traditional, some are so professional, and some promote really fresh ingredients and the most innovative techniques ; it is so intriguing!”
” I never want to stop discovering. I am obsessed with discovering new restaurants so much so that to visit a restaurant twice seems like a waste of time because it will mean that I am losing time to discover another one”, said Chef Lino.
Today, Chef Lino’s kitchen at Gattopardo is full of the best imported ingredients from Italy and I love the way they have an impressive array of fresh seafood on display in the restaurant for all the guests to see, and marvel at. We quickly settled down to lunch, and this is what we had, on a sunny afternoon, the day we arrived in Singapore.
Crudo di Cappasanta con Nocciole Tostate e Caviale Affumicato
For our first starter we had the Raw Scottish Scallop with Hazelnut and smoked caviar paired with 2008 Brut Almerita Tasca D Almerita, Sicily (Chardonnay). The intrinsic sweetness of the scallop was evident in every mouthful and the smoked caviar was blissfully buttery and creamy. The caviar had a somewhat nutty and voluptuous flavour that made the scallops feel even more delicate and sweet. The experience was sublime.
This dish was paired rather nicely with a rich and fragrant classic sparkling wine. Great aromas of melted butter and lightly toasted bread permeated this wine and blended nicely with the buttery caviar and succulent scallops.
Prosciutto di Parma Pio Tosini e Burrata di Andria
The second starter was a 24 Months Aged Parma Ham “Pio Tosini” with Fresh Burrata Cheese paired with the 2011 Favorita Gianni Gagliardo, Piemonte (Favorita). The Parma ham had a great, smokiness to it, and the cheese was smooth and rich. A great pair for the interestingly effervescent Piemonte Favorita. Loved the wine and found it fun and versatile. This wine had a nice body and was not too citrusy, & would probably drink easy with mussels and seafood too.
Risone Con Polipo Brasato e Midollo di Bue
The Risone was introduced to us by Chef Lino, when he visited Garibaldi KL last year. It quickly became our favourite sort of pasta, simply because it didn’t actually have the texture of pasta – more hard and grainy, this pasta looks like risotto. Needless to say, the risone pasta was tasty as hell, but slightly salty because it had been cooked with Braised Octopus and Bone Marrow. The saltiness was soon resolved though when it was paired with the 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon Tasca D Almerita, Sicily (Cabernet Sauvignon). Another good food-wine pair.
Calamari Alla Brace
Then came the Signature Charcoaled Calamari with Lemon Oregano Vinaigrette paired with the 2008 Brut Almerita Tasca D Almerita, Sicily (Chardonnay). The calamari was fragrant and just lightly seasoned with sea salt, pepper, garlic and had a terrific texture – not too hard nor soft. This was paired rather nicely with a rich and fragrant classic sparkling wine. Great aromas of melted butter and lightly toasted bread permeated this wine and really brought out the flavours in the calamari. Chef Lino makes his own sun-dried tomatoes too and we marveled at at the fact that these homemade, little orange bodies could have such and intense flavour.
Lino makes an appearance to chat and find out how we are getting on..
Porchetta Cotta al Forno a Legna
Herb-Roasted Pork Belly in Wood Fired Oven paired with the 2007 Barolo Gianni Gagliardo, Piemonte (Nebbiolo) a balanced with wine, slightly tannic but not too oaky. It brought out the sweetness yet tempered the greasiness in this unctuous pork belly.
Perfectly balanced fat to lean meat ratio – melt in your mouth, buttery pork belly!
I Cannoli Siciliani
Crispy Espresso-infused Wafers Filled with Ricotta Cream and Amedei Mousse which was paired with the 2010 Malvasia Tasca D Almerita, Sicily (Malvasia). Every time I eat the Cannoli I feel like a big kid. There’s only one way to eat it.. pick it up with your fingers and start munching at one end till you finish it! Super delicious and lustfully creamy.
Trying to spot the differences in the wines..
Ciki says Grrrrr… no, not growling.. Just that Gattopardo is under the Garibaldi Group of restaurants. No wonder we like the food here so much.
A great lunch that showcased some some terrific wines – we were just glad to catch Chef Lino Sauro in Singapore this time round. In the realm of Italian cooking, Lino’s food is somewhat revolutionary.Address: Gattopardo, 11 Canning Walk,
Hotel Fort Canning,
(65) 6338 5498