Today’s Straits Times’ article on Gaia by Wong Ah Yoke has reminded me that I really ought to push out my post as well on this hidden gem! Gaia Ristorante is located at the illustrious Goodwood Park Hotel, and with a location like that, and an interior decor that spells fine dining, you would not be faulted for thinking that the prices are not wallet friendly. But depending on what you order, you could actually dine at Gaia Ristorante and have a good time without having to wash the dishes later!
If you stick to the pasta main courses, they are mostly in the $20+ range. A black cod dish costs $38, while the pork costs $35. If you go for the more expensive meats like lobster, veal, lamb saddle and pigeon, that’s where the prices start to become steep. Desserts cost about $15, once again, quite comparable to some desserts at brand name cafes these days.
For our media tasting, the Partner and I sampled the degustation menu, which comprises 5 courses at $98++/pax.
Assorted rice and potato crackers
Caramelised figs with Oscietra Caviar
Watermelon with black squid in and almonds
Parmesan bisquit with balsamic vinegar and Asian spices
One thing I love about dining at such restaurants is that they always try to surprise you with some small canapes to kickstart the meal. You never know what you will be served but usually the items are pretty good and the chef has the flexibility to be creative with the ingredients he has on hand. My favourite here was the figs with caviar, a sweet and salty combination that I’ve never tried before.
Variazione cruda di gamberi – Raw red Sicilian prawn: warm ricotta cheese, oregano and Raw blue Caledonian prawn: peach, salt caramel
At Japanese restaurants, I do not flinch when being served Amaebi, aka raw sweet shrimp. And in fact, I am not one to shy away from raw foods, I love raw meats! I’m not exactly sure why I did a double take, save for the fact that the blue Caledonian prawn looked like a raw tiger prawn, and tiger prawns are not commonly served raw. But the fact is that the red Sicilian prawn as equally as raw, and once I saw that fact, there was no stopping me from diving into this dish.
If you have the opportunity, I really would recommend ordering this dish. This is where you can taste fresh prawns at their finest. They were so succulent and sweet that I feel as if I’ll never look at prawns the same way again. This is where you can savour the true texture of prawns that have not been marinaded in alkaline water (like in many chinese restaurants). They are firm but yielding with each bite.
Chef de Cuisine Emanuele Faggi has deliberately chosen a striking red prawn and a ”raw coloured” prawn to make you think as if you’re eating one cooked and one raw prawn. I was fooled at first. You will see that that is Chef Emanuele’s cooking motto, to always incorporate a twist or a surprise in his dishes.
Uova, Asparagi, Scorzone – Braised asparagus, deep-fried egg yolk and summer truffle
This dish was quite lost on me because the deep-fried egg yolk was fried till solid. I was later told that this was a mistake and that the yolk ought to have been still flowing when broken into. Alas, a dish that I would have potentially liked.
On the contrary, because the Partner does not like oozing egg yolks, he thoroughly enjoyed this! Best egg yolk he’s ever eaten!
Doppio Raviolo – Double filled ravioli with Parma ham and Parmesan, aged balsamic reduction and white balsamic foam
A really interesting way to present ravioli, if you’re ordering this as the mains, you would be served 8 pieces. The Parma Ham and Parmesan combination does work well together in the pasta, although I’m not that keen on the balsamic vinegar which you will see makes its appearance quite a number of times. The Partner thought it quite innovative and enjoyable to taste the sweetness from the balsamic and the sharpness from the cheese. My only grouse was that my pasta was a little dried out when served.
Rigatoni, Astice – Rigatoni with Boston lobster and bisque
For the mains, this was hands down, my favourite dish of the evening. If you’re a fan of pasta (and you don’t even need to be a fan of lobster), order this dish without hesitation! The lobster bisque was extremely flavourful. Usage of Rigatoni here was a smart move, as you can use a spoon to pick up the pasta, along with the rich bisque. You might even forget you have lobster pieces to enjoy as well, so good is the pasta and bisque already on their own! Only $34 if you order this as your main course.
Rana Pescatrice, Patate, Finocchio – Oven baked monkfish, sea asparagus, raising and mushroom, light ginger butter sauce
A rather normal and mild fish dish after the lobster pasta highlight.
Piccione, Mostarda, Tartufo Nero – Roasted pigeon, pear Dijon mustard, red chicory jam and black truffles sauce
I love pigeon so I quite enjoyed this dish. It was nicely seasoned, and came with a couple of sides if you want to up the oomph factor. Red chicory jam was very nice and help to cut through the meaty flavours from the pigeon.
Cioccolato, Olio Extra vergine d’oliva – Deep fried chocolate and Olive oil spheres
We were served 2 desserts to try. Me being a chocolate fan, this was obviously my kind of dessert. The olive oil spheres didn’t add anything to the dish if you asked me, but I really enjoyed cutting through the deep fried exterior to be presented oozing flowy chocolate. Heavenly!
Vaniglia fragole – Vanilla mousse and strawberry
The Partner being a fruit and berry sort of person enjoyed this dessert very much. I enjoyed it too, especially breaking apart the candy floss and dipping it into the strawberry sauce.
Service here is excellent, with the staff taking care to check back with you once in a while if everything is in order.
GAIA RISTORANTE & BAR
22 Scotts Road, Goodwood Park Hotel Singapore 228221
Lunch: 12pm – 2.30pm (Mon-Fri)
Dinner: 6.30pm – 10.30pm (Mon-Sat & Public Holidays)
Closed on Sundays
Tel: 6735 9937
Gaia Ristorante & Bar is part of the TRE Group. Read my reviews on other TRE Group Restaurants