Food Review: Restaurant Gaig At Stanley Street | Revamped Menu & Expanded Space With Excellent Catalan Cuisine
The Place A slice of Catalan cuisine along Stanley Street, I first visited Restaurant Gaig when it first opened back in 2017, where the restaurant went through an expansion of space and menu revamped last year. Restaurant Gaig Singapore is actually the first international outpost of the Michelin-starred restaurant in Barcelona by chef Carles Gaig, a celebrated name synonymous with Catalan cuisine. The Stanley Street restaurant is family-owned, run by Carles’ daughter, Núria Gibert, along with executive chef Martí Carlos Martínez, who trained under Carles. It now spots an expanded dining space including a private dining room.
The space of Restaurant Gaig is homely without the fine dining formalities, and it does remind me a little of the restaurants tucked in a lane in Barcelona.
The Food The menu has undergone a revamp recently, and you can expect to find a more Catalan-centric menu where Chef Martí introduced new dishes to showcase his innovative interpretation of traditional recipes in a refined and contemporary style. The menu includes tapas, paellas and mains.
For a start, I had the Salmorejo Soup With Burrata Cheese And Jamón Ice Cream (S$17). Yes, jamón ice cream caught my eye and while I am usually not a big fan of cold soup, this dish is a stunner. It is creamy in texture and the various components like the tomato, burrata and jamón ice cream just blend so well together.
The Smoked Salmon, Avocado Sauce, Tomato And Dill (S$22) is another dish I enjoyed. Fresh smoked Ora King salmon from New Zealand is wrapped with local Chinese spinach, which looks like seaweed visually. Instead, the spinach and salmon makes an interesting juxtaposition in terms of flavour. The accompanying ingredients like the avocado sauce, wholegrain mustard, and Feuille de Brick crisps complete the dish well.
If you love foie gras, the Duck Foie Gras Terrine With Anchovies And Hazelnut Sablé (S$25.50) is a must have dish. The house-made duck foie gras terrine is served with L’Escala anchovies, raspberry coulis, hazelnut sablé, and a semi-sphere of duck foie gras. The way to enjoy the dish is to spread the foie gras on the delicious and crispy hazelnut sablé (which certainly makes for a good snack on its own), where the flavour of the anchovies cut through the rich flavour of foie gras quite well, to my surprise.
Moving to the hot tapas, a refined interpretation of a popular Spanish fritter is the Tortilla De Camarones (S$12.50), where the crispy shrimp fritter with sakura ebi is topped with deep-fried caridean shrimp and lemon mayonnaise.
The other tapas I had was the Bomba De La Barceloneta With Brava Sauce And All-i-oli (S$15), which is basically deep-fried breaded potato ball with spicy minced beef, served with aioli and brava sauce. Bomba actually means ‘bomb’ in Catalan, and the black colour to resemble a bomb here is from dark squid ink bread. The kick of this dish also stems much from the brava sauce, which is quite spicy!
If you only have space for one tapas (which I highly doubt would be the case), you must try the Gaig’s Traditional Cannelloni Stuffed With Beef And Pork (S$16.50). This dish is a signature at all Gaig restaurants, and Gaig’s cannelloni has been made using the same 150-year-old recipe since the restaurant’s beginnings as the Taberna d’en Gaig in 1869.
The Cannelloni is stuffed with beef and pork, and the best element here for me is the truffle cream sauce which is drop-dead delicious.
For a tapas more exotic, there is the Veal Tongue Fricandó (S$20), where the veal tongue is paired with black trumpet mushrooms stew. Delicious and rich flavour of the stew here which is seasoned with cayenne and cinnamon, and the mushrooms also elevate the flavours of this dish overall.
On to meats, I had the Charcoal Grilled Octopus With Cauliflower Textures (S$32.50), where the charcoal grilled octopus is served with pickled cauliflower, cauliflower purée, and roasted cauliflower. Tender Galician octopus here, and I definitely can do with more of the crispy roasted cauliflower.
The last savoury dish I had was the Quail Escabetx (S$32), where the pickled quail is served with confit onions and vegetables. Interestingly, this dish has its roots in Persian cuisine and the quail meat is surprisingly endearing for me given that it is not one of my favourite type of meat typically. It certainly helps that it is not gamy at all.
For dessert, the Pa Amb Oli I Xocolata (S$15.50) is a chocolate lover weakness for sure. This dessert is an endearing childhood treat of chocolate, olive oil, and bread that brings warmth to many Catalan hearts. There is Valrhona Ariaga 66% dark chocolate ganache, olive oil ice cream, and crispy chocolate bread. A very good end to the meal, and the mix of chocolate and olive oil is just magical.
Rants Due to the design and acoustics of the space, it can get noisy when the restaurant is packed.
Will I Return Again? While Spanish restaurants are aplenty in Singapore, Restaurant Gaig is one of the few ones which specialise in Catalan dishes. If anything, the recent dining experience I had at Gaig gives me the impression of a stronger Catalan character on its menu, and the dishes are executed with more finesse than my dining experience 3 years ago. For that, I am definitely looking forward to returning.
This was an invited tasting, though all opinions expressed are our own.
Make your reservation instantly at Restaurant Gaig here.
Taste bud: 4.5/5
Hole in the pocket: 3.5/5
Overall Experience: 4/5
16 Stanley Street
Tel: +65 9771 2674 / +65 6221 2134
Mondays to Saturdays: 12pm to 2pm; 6pm to 10pm
Closed on Sundays
Ranted by The Ranter