Garibaldi invites you to savour the finer things in life this February, beginning with The Caviar & Bubbly Dinner, 25 February 2012
Sometimes, being the ‘other half’ of a chef has its benefits.
Take for example, the kind invitation from Executive Chef Giuliano Berta and Sous Chef Andrea Genio from Garibaldi, to sample their ‘Caviar & Bubbly Dinner’. Oh, how could one resist? If Lil’ Chef had said no, I would have smacked him over the head with a sturgeon! Or in this country, I guess a ‘Kembung’ would have to do…
Having just returned the day before from a one week island holiday, where we overate and under… well, under nothing really, we overdid everything! Who says you can’t end a good holiday with an extra night of self indulgence?
Chef Giuliano, I remember from my last visit, was thoroughly kind, soft spoken and had a gentle demeanor about him. He seems to have grown out of that shell and bounced over to our table to welcome us exuberantly.
“This,” he proudly exclaims, “is Andrea’s menu.”
When I think of Italian food, I think of freshly rolled pasta sheets, fragrant pestos, meaty ragouts, freshly baked thin crust pizzas, cured hams aged so long and sliced so thin they make your mouth water before even reaching your lips, and soft, pungent cheeses. I think of robust red wines, aromatic, nutty espressos, and crumbly cookies and creamy tiramisus.
I don’t think of Italian food as Caviar. I was in for a surprise.
An even more bouncy Italian with a thick yet upbeat accent soon descended on our table. Young, vibrant, and full of charisma, you don’t need to hear what he’s saying to understand it. His tone and passion for the food says it all, and most of all, what struck me was his honesty. He could even have been speaking Italian, and I would still have understood every word of it.
Progressive and modern, yet embodying elements of Italian cuisine while marrying traditional techniques with this luxury ingredient, caviar.
Selezione di Caviali – Garibaldi Tasting Platter:
Russian Pike Caviar Malossol, Golden Trout Caviar, Imperial Osetra Caviar, Wild Salmon Caviar, Caspian Fresh Osetra Caviar Malossol
Prosecco Follador Extra Dry NV
The Russian Pike Caviar Malossol comes from the Caspian Sea region. The eggs are translucent mustard colour, and very small, a little bigger than flying fish roe.
The flavour was mild, the texture smooth with a slightly salty richness, probably because the pike is a freshwater fish. It was beautiful combined with the Golden Trout Caviar. Golden Trout Caviar with Russian Pike Malossol combined, on a rolled crepe, was delicious. Double the richness, double the pleasure.
Golden Trout Caviar is something we’re more familiar with, and although used more commonly in restaurants across town, it was no less special.
The slightly sweet, buttery sea juices that popped out as I squiged the pearls between the roof of my mouth with my tongue were deliciously complemented by the simple piece of bread and piped butter.
Wild Salmon Caviar is something I always avoid, because I find it too ‘fishy’ for my liking. I think the larger size of the eggs give too much pop and release a more intense, oily flavour.
That’s just me though, and Lil’ Chef was more than happy to let the bite-sized ‘cream puff’ disappear down his gullet with a gulp.
Imperial Osetra Caviar comes from a white sturgeon, and it’s among the rarest of caviars. Originally reserved for royalty only, even today made available to mere ‘commoners’ like us, it’s still highly coveted for its earthy, robust and fruity flavour.
The dark greenish-black, shiny pearls were smooth and silky, rich oceanic flavour, extremely savoury and needed not much else but a simple piece of bread and a dollop of crème fraiche for its flavour to shine.
Caspian Fresh Osetra Caviar Malossol comes from a mature sturgeon, so you can just imagine the rich, aged flavour. It’s one of the most sought after caviars, for its full bodied taste and smooth aftertaste.
Teamed perfectly here with a mild dill mash & crumbed eggyolk that enhanced its taste, it had an almost Nordic feel to it. I made the mistake of eating this one first, which, by its sheer luxuriousness, should have been save for last.
Something I never realized, even though it staring me in the face, is that the size of the eggs depends on the size of the fish. Makes sense right? Oh yeah, I really enjoyed the pairing of the caviar with the Prosecco Follador Extra Dry NV. Light and as the name says very dry. Like all Prosecco, it was not too bubbly so it didn’t take anything away from the magnificence of the caviar.
On to the next dish! A precisely prepared pretty plate…
Caspian Fresh Osetra Caviar Malossol on Baked Red Onion “al Sale” with Shredded Buffalo Mozzarella
Prosecco Follador Extra Dry NV
Now the word ‘Stracciatella’ can mean one of three things in Italian. Derived from the word stracciato, or “torn apart”, it refers to an Italian ‘egg drop soup’ which through a meticulous cooking process, ends up as a broth with ‘little shreds’ of egg in it. Second, it could refer to gelato, with a vanilla base and chocolate shavings. Well, it was clear it was neither of those two things, so it must be the third.
‘Stracciatella’ in this case, refers to a very special, soft and creamy mozzarella. It’s special, and only produced in the Italian province of Foggia, from the milk of water buffaloes, apparently best in spring and summer months. Mmm… Thank you Chef Andrea for my little ‘present’. Ok, I know you really gave it to Lil’ Chef, but haha! I’m the one enjoying it!
Ahem, back to the dish. I loved the look of it! Fresh, reminding me of a summer garden…
The textures were lovely, and although I loved the baked onion still as crisp as it was, I thought cooking it a bit longer would have reduced some of that ‘pong’ that onions have, which overpowered my favourite caviar. The ‘onioniness’ also hindered my enjoyment of the Prosecco Follador Extra Dry NV. Apart from that, love it!
Golden Trout Caviar on Purple Potato Parmantier with Foie Gras Mousse & Pomegranate
Ca ‘del Bosco Cuvee Prestige Rose’ NV
I always imagine eating caviar with other seafood, or eggs, or fresh greens. Things that grow in the water on over land. I never expected to eat it with things that grow underneath the ground!
I wasn’t sure about the warm, thick soup, which had a slight powdery consistency, with the fluffy yet fatty, liverish taste of the mousse. Did I like it or not? More of a winter dish for me, and although lightened slightly by the sweet crunch of pomegranates, it wasn’t my favourite of the evening, and definitely not with the trout caviar that got a bit lost in the sea of lavender.
Maybe if it was chilled instead of warm it would have been fresh, rather than heavy-ish.
The Ca ‘del Bosco Cuvee Prestige Rose’ NV was nothing to shout about, with a slightly flat, almost metallic aftertaste to it. We both left our glasses almost untouched.
On to the next course!
Russian Pike Caviar Malossol on Buckwheat Meal Taglioni with Black Alba Truffle
Gosset Brut Excellence NV
Ahhh… and we’re back on track! A stunning dish, both in look and flavour. I love black truffles from Alba, with the woody, pungent earty smell… something very sexy about this particular truffle more so than others. Chef Andrea shaved these sexy slices which stood perched over a decadent, creamy sauce, that clung to fresh strands of buckwheat taglioni.
Ahhh… the Pike Caviar, oodles of it, just mixed in ever so well as I tossed my pasta (which reminded a little of soba noodles), and I could feel delicate bursts of flavour popping with every bite. An unexpected combination, but simply DELICIOUS!
Bravo, Chef Andrea! You can make this again for me anytime! And paired with the Gosset Brut Excellence NV, the truffles and caviar were the star of the dish.
Wild Salmon Caviar on Seared Red Tuna Loin and Mushroom “Chiodino” Risotto, topped with Spring Garlic Butter
Louis Roeder Brut Premier NV
‘Tonno’ means tuna, and here it was fresh, light and tasty, but could have done with more of a sear.
I mentioned already that Salmon Caviar is not my favourite so I gave it a miss.
The Risotto was deliciously rich, with fluffy grains of rice that were cooked perfectly. The little, flatish ‘Chiodino’ mushroom packed a punch with flavour, and the dish was savoury and wood, oozing a very Italian ‘homecooked’ feel to it.
Loved the garlic butter, it added a richness to the dish. I just wished it had been a dish on its own, rather than combined on the same plate with the Tuna and Caviar.
Fragola e Limone
Lemon Sorbet with Mint Leaves in Sparkling Strawberry Sauce
Michele Chiarlo Moscato di Asti Nivole 2009
The perfect palate cleanser after a wonderful meal. We ended the evening very satisfied, and very very happy with this Italian Restaurant and its delightful chefs. The champagne isn’t the only thing that’s bubbly at Garibaldi!
If you like the finer things in life, Garibaldi certainly has it in store for you…
*This special menu will be available a la carte from 24 February – 31 March 2012. For reservations, call 03-2282 3456 or visit www.garibaldi.com.my
Garibaldi Italian Restaurant & Bar
Lot10 & G22, Bangsar Village I
Jalan Telawi 1,
59100 Bangsar, KL
Tel: 03-2282 3456