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Review: Our Michelin-star Meal at Restaurant Gaig

Chef Carles Gaig has opened a Singapore outpost of his renowned namesake restaurant in Barcelona and it’s just as great as the original
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Telok Ayer just got a little more exciting.

Celebrated chef Carles Gaig, whose eponymous restaurant in Barcelona has maintained a Michelin star for over a decade, has opened the first outpost of Restaurant Gaig on Stanley Street in Singapore. What’s better is that the sister restaurant is a close copy of the original, century-old dining temple in Spain, in terms of the menu – which means no plane ticket is necessary to have a taste of Gaig’s award-winning Catalan and Spanish plates.

Even the dining room makes you feel like you’ve stepped into a cosy and stylish Spanish home with rustic interiors, wicker chairs, rough textured walls, wooden partitions, and traditional European art. It’s inviting and homey – the kind of place you’ll want linger around with friends long after dinner is finished.

And dinner, to that end, is absolutely outstanding. Chef Gaig, who was in town during our visit, treated us diner to his signatures, starting with perfectly roasted chicken croquettes, Patatas Bravas (golden nuggets of deep-fried potatoes with a crisp exterior and fluffy centre, dressed in tomato sauce and aioli), and a beautiful shrimp All I Pebre (a classic Catalan stew made with almond, hazelnut, garlic and paprika reduction; pictured above on right).

The Gaig experience wouldn’t be complete without having the traditional cannelloni – an utterly divine dish of roasted meat wrapped in the most sublime cannelloni sheets and doused in truffled cream sauce. It’s a 150-year-old recipe traditionally served during Christmas in Barcelona, but you can have it anytime here. Another dish that the Gaig family is particularly proud of is the Txangurro (think of it like a Spanish version of Singapore’s chilli crab): sweet, succulent crabmeat mixed with onions, tomatoes, leeks and a hint of spice, then stuffed into the shell of the crab, topped with rich hollandaise sauce and baked in the oven.

Of course, there is paella, and a must-try is the squid ink seafood fideua, which tastes like the ocean and doesn’t leave black stains on your teeth. Cooked with fish stock, the dish uses short vermicelli noodles instead of rice, and is served with a magical aioli to slather on with each bite. The oven-roasted suckling pig – the most tender and the juiciest that we’ve ever had – also deserves an honorary mention. A standard serving at the restaurant consists of four pieces, but if you’d like more (you would), you can pre-order a half or a whole pig 48 hours in advance.

Save room for desserts. The classic Catalan Crème Brulee, which comes served in a martini glass and layered with a tangy-sweet lemon syrup at the bottom, a light cream custard foam and ice cream combination in the middle, and a thin layer of cracking caramel at the top, is light and wonderful. The orange ice cream soufflé is another delight if you like to end on a citrus-y note, or try the rich and warm red wine poached pear served with a touch of Chantilly crème.

 

Right: Pear infused with red wine, Chantilly cream

At lunchtime, you get choose a selection of three tapas and a main for $38++, or $45++ with dessert. But the a la carte menu is available at both launch and dinner, from Monday to Saturday. We also hear that Chef Carles makes an appearance in the kitchen often, with season produce in tow, so look forward to special dinners in the coming months.

 

Restaurant Gaig, 16 Stanley Street, Singapore 068735, tel: 6221 2134. Reservations can be made via Chope.

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