Tanjong Pagar, or more specifically the stretch from Amara Hotel to Maxwell Market, is being an enclave of many international good eats. And they are all coming back to life after such a long period of depression due to the pandemic.
Gourmet Italian Osteria aka GIO opened about a year ago in the midst of the pandemic. Helmed by chef David Marchiori, GIO brings the best of the great Italian tradition of hospitality and quality at the table and in the glass with over 100 wine in their cellars from different regions of Italy.
Besides the rustic, industrial look, there was a large collection of Murano crystal goblets on the wall. I was fascinated by these glasses since I visited Murano many years ago. Bought my crush a perfume bottle from that visit that costed me my entire month of allowance; I was still a student then.
We had what you would described as omakase as the manager helped us picked from the menu for our large party.
Pizza fritta or fried pizza is a Naples specialty enjoying a cult status amongst the locals. It is made by sealing the toppings between two layers of pizza dough and frying it in hot oil until it becomes golden and crispy. Here at GIO, they have done it as an open face pizza. Think of the Chinese hamm cheem phang meet Italian pizza toppings.
Pizza Fritta con Porchetta, Carciofi e Mozzarella
Fried pizza with porchetta ham, artichokes and mozzarella cheese
Initially, I was not used to a pizza without a sauce. But it became apparent when you realised how delicious it was to be able to taste the individual ingredients. The freshness of the ingredients came through with the fried fritter, like a freshly made sandwich.
Pizza Fritta con Pelati Conditi e Bufala
Fried pizza with peeled tomatoes and buffalo mozzarella
This turned out to be my favourite among the three as the Bufala (water buffalo mozzarella) was really creamy and delicious.
Pizza Fritta con Crudo, Caprino e Spinacini
Fried pizza with prosciutto crudo, caprino cheese and spinach
The last one was OK, and that’s when the greasiness of the fried pizza dough really hits you. Too much of a good thing can sometime be bad too.
Next up, some appetisers to share.
Sarde in Saor
Deep fried sardines with softly cooked onions, vinegar, pine nuts, and raisins
I love fresh sardines and these sardines were lightly battered and fried. Delicious.
Parmigiana di Melanzane
Deep fried eggplants, tomato sauce and grated pecorino romano
Grilled eggplant mixed with pomodoro, parmigiana reggiano and olive oil. A simple starter that an Italian nonna will make.
Frittura di Calamaretti Spillo e Zucchine
Deep fried baby spear squid and zucchini
This was a hit! It came and very soon we ordered another.
The first course in an Italian meal is usually a pasta dish.
Gnocchi al Ragù di Bistecca
Home made Italian potato dumplings with ragù made with grilled beef steak
Potato dumplings called gnocchi was not my favourite Italian pasta, but the rest loved the sauce made from pulled beef ragu.
Ravioli di Zucca, Amaretto e Ricotta Affumicata
Pumpkin ravioli with amaretto and smoked ricotta
The pumpkin ravioli was sweet and the savoury ricotta sauce balanced the sweetness from the pumpkin. Another crowd favourite.
Spaghetti alla Buzara
Spaghetti with chili tomato sauce, garlic, parsley and Tiger Prawn
Now my favourite pasta among the three. I loved the al dente texture and freshly made sauce. You can taste the difference.
And finally the main courses.
Guancetta di Manzo Brasata Biscottata con Verdure Baby
Braised and crusty beef cheek with mix vegetable
Delicious, slow cooked beef cheek with a rich, strong reduction sauce, only if you like slow cooked beef.
Filetto di Pesce Spada con Cipolla Caramellata e Crumble di Olive Nere
Swordfish fillet with caramelised onion and black olives crumble
Swordfish steaks are ideal for the grill and are the perfect fish to try for those who aren’t seafood lovers with its meaty texture and mild taste. But this a very dry piece of fish, the swordfish fillet was.
After the second main courses, it’s time for some desserts.
Savoiardi, mascarpone cream, eggs, coffee and cocoa beans
Even though tiramisù is actually a fairly recent invention, this dessert of coffee-soaked ladyfingers (savoiardi) layered with mascarpone cream enjoys an iconic status among Italian desserts. Its name stems from the phrase tirami sù, an Italian expression which literally means pick me up, a reference to the uplifting effects of sugar, liquor (optional) and coffee.
Tortino Caldo di Cioccolato con Gelato al Burro di Arachidi e Caramello Salato
Hot chocolate cake with peanut butter ice cream and caramel
It was like eating a Reese cupcake, but with a warm chocolate cupcake with peanut butter ice cream and salted caramel sauce. All good things in one go. The savoury ice cream and caramel went very well with the super sweet chocolate cupcake.
Tiramisu al Pistacchio di Sicilia
Savoiardi, mascarpone cream, eggs, coffee, sicilian pistacchio and cocoa powder
The luxe version of the tiramisu above, this version had pistachio cream mixed with mascarpone and pieces of crushed pistachio nuts.
A nice little osteria with a wonderful atmosphere and outstanding service staff. After a strong start with the pizza fritta and appetisers, it started to fizzled with the mains. Next time, we will try to order what we liked rather than letting the manager decides.
Gourmet Italian Osteria – GIO Singapore
27 Tanjong Pagar Road, Singapore 088450, Singapore
Tel : +65 8030 1224
Visited Oct 2022