The Place Catalan cuisine is hard to come by in Singapore, so we were pretty excited to check out the few weeks old Restaurant Gaig along Stanley Street in CBD. The Gaig brand is not unfamiliar to Catalan cuisine, with the original restaurant in Barcelona run by Chef Carles Gaig been awarded with one Michelin Star since 1993 in the Spain’s edition of the guide. The casual space at Stanley Street is managed by Chef Charles’s daughter, also the family’s fifth generation.
The space of Restaurant Gaig along 16 Stanley Street feels homely and inviting. We like the casual setting and cosy space where the service tends to be more personal and attentive.
The Food The menu features tapas, paellas, and classic Catalan stews, with ingredients mainly imported from Spain as well as local suppliers. The wine list features mostly Spanish selections if you need a drink or two to go along. We started with the Patatas Bravas (S$9), where the deep-fried potatoes are served with spiced tomato sauce and aioli.
The Jamon Iberico croquette (S$4.50) is one of our favourite bites to start. This version could have been better if the fillings were more creamy and cheesy.
When we read from the menu that the Gaig’s Traditional Cannelloni (S$14) is a recipe from 1869, the year where the Gaig family first restaurant opened, we knew we have to try this dish. It looks like an unpromising pale white sheet, but this was so delicious. What lies beneath the white cannelloni sheets is a combination of roasted pork and beef, drenched in truffle cream sauce. This dish is apparently a 150-year old recipe traditionally served during Christmas in Barcelona, a must try here at Restaurant Gaig.
For paella, we tried the Presa Iberica and Mushroom Paella (S$27.20) a deviation from the more commonly seen seafood or squid ink paella. Unlike the Spanish versions, the texture of the paella here was less moist and creamy, but it made up in terms of its flavours.
For mains, we tried the Whole Red-mulled with Homemade Pickled Mushrooms (S$23.80). I thought that this dish was average as the flavours were very light with many small bones within.
Another highlight of the restaurant’s menu is the traditional Catalan stews, such as the Shrimp ‘all-i-pebre’ or Pig trotters with turnips. The Shrimp ‘all-i-pebre’ (S$22.30) looks simple, but that sauce accompanying the prawns was amazing. The fresh prawns are cooked with almond, hazelnut, garlic and paprika reduction, where we also tried dipping our bread in it.
For desserts, we were impressed with what we had. The Orange Ice Cream Soufflé (S$10.20) is something I knew I have to try when I spotted it on the menu and true enough, it didn’t disappoint. It is not a soufflé per se, but I surmised that the soufflé here refers to the light and airy texture of the ice cream. This dessert is one of the signatures for the Gaig family, prepared with a secret technique which has been perfected through generations.
The other dessert we had was the Catalan Crème Brûlée (S$10.20), served in a cocktail-like glass unlike the typical French fashion. The texture is a extremely creamy with what tasted like loads of whipped cream, topped with bits of the hard caramel. The surprise here is the caramel ice cream within which we felt was the best element. The best way to enjoy this dessert is to dig it all the way down and have the different components together.
Other than the a la carte menu, Restaurant Gaig offers a set lunch that includes a selection of three tapas and a main for S$38++, and with the addition of dessert for S$45++. The a la carte menu is served for both lunch and dinner from Monday to Saturday. The restaurant is closed on Sundays.
Rants Portions for the dishes here are generally small. A good estimate is at least S$50 per pax for a decent and filling spread during dinner.
Will I Return Again? It was a cosy dining experience at Restaurant Gaig for us. The service was warm and sincere, and the staff will be more than happy to share and recommend dishes if need be. And while the food provided us a good glimpse into Catalan cuisine which we are rarely exposed to in Singapore, we found the price point slightly high for its portion.
This was an invited tasting, though all opinions expressed are our own.
Make your reservation instantly at Restaurant Gaig here.
Taste bud: 4/5
Hole in the pocket: 3.5/5
Overall Experience: 3.5/5
Monday to Saturday: 12 to 2.30pm; 6pm to 10pm
Ranted by The Ranter