The Place I checked out Griglia Open Fire Italian Kitchen recently, a new contemporary Italian grill restaurant by Food Concepts Group, which also owns Zafferano Italian Restaurant & Lounge and Z Bar. Located at 37 Craig Road, the name Griglia is inspired by summer outdoor grill known as the grigliata.
The 41-seater restaurant spots an open kitchen and the centrepiece is the specially customised cast iron charcoal grill where the chefs work their magic on. The interior of the restaurant is warm and cosy, denominated by wood, brick and metal.
The Food Most of the dishes are prepared over the grill and traditionally, Grigliata dishes are less intense and more Mediterranean in flavour.
The menu is conceptualised by Andrea De Paola, Chef Partner of Griglia & Group Executive Chef of Food Concepts Group, and is based on classic grigliata dishes from different regions of Italy with additional recipes from his family and friends.
From the menu, there are antipasti, artisanal salumi, main courses, sides, cheeses and desserts, and an extensive wine list of more than 100 wines from different regions, with up to 85% from Italy. The cocktails focus on different flavours of Negroni, Spritz and Gin & Tonic. Traditional Italian digestives, such as limoncello, amaro and grappa are also served.
From the garden section of the menu, I started with the Eggplant (S$15), which is quite uniquely prepared as it comes in layers of grilled eggplants with tomato, basil and served with smoked ‘Caciocavallo’ Fondue. I like that magic fondue here which is essentially melted smoked caciocavallo cheese, and goes especially well with the eggplant.
Another garden dish I had was the Burratina (S$16), where you get zucchini marinated with olive oil, mint and garlic, served on a thin and crispy tart. I like the delicate tart shell which holds all the ingredients together, topped with fresh burratina and garnished with herbs and olive oil.
The last garden dish I had was the Spaghetti di Martino (S$18), which sounds like a simple tomato pasta dish but totally worth trying in my opinion. I am never a big tomato base person be it for pasta or pizza, but I guess I enjoyed this dish because the tomatoes are so good. It is prepared from Yellow Tomatoes marinated with sea water, and the spaghetti is served with cream of Datterino tomato.
From the sea, a dish which surprised me is the Hiika Squid (S$18). You get a smoked Hiika Squid topped with grilled romanesco, palermo peppers and served with nduja foam. I like the smokiness of the squid where the texture is very tender unlike the typical chewy texture of octopus.
The Hokkaido Scallops Crudo (S$22) is paired with grilled white corns and served with Amalfi lemon and capers sauce. I like the tinge of zesty notes from the lemon which complements the scallops well.
From the land, the other pasta dish I had was the House-Made Pappardelle (S$20), where the pasta is served with braised pork jowl in chianti jus and crispy pork. Delicious pappardelle in al dente texture, and that pork jowl is rich in flavour, with the best bits being the crispy guanciale that totally reminds me of pork lard.
The main highlight on the menu is the Open Fire Grill section where you choose from a selection of beef, lamb, pork and fish. I had the Mediterranean Seabass Fillet (S$36/180g) where the seabass fillet is served with pickled mustard, red wine jus, garlic sauce and pickled lettuce dressed with balsamic vinegar and extra virgin olive oil. This is a relatively light main course to share, and if you are already planning to go for the beef, it is a good complement.
The highlight of my meal is the 30 Days Dry Aged Porterhouse ‘Fiorentina’ (S$128/700g), good to share for 2-3 persons. The dry aged Porterhouse is served with pickled mustard, red wine jus, garlic sauce and pickled lettuce dressed with balsamic vinegar and extra virgin olive oil.
This glorious steak is an Australian 100 days barley-fed porterhouse and is dry-aged for 30 days. Seasoned with extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper, it is cooked to a beautiful medium-rare with slightly charred edges. The flavour is robust, tender and flavourful. I really like the beef with the garlic sauce, one of my favourite condiments here.
Side dishes I had to go along with the beef included the Charcoal Grilled Baby Corn (S$8) served with Brown Butter Sabayon, a must try side dish if you can only have one. That brown butter sabayon is so creamy and goes well with the corn, or even the beef.
For desserts, there are only three options on the menu and that is really sufficient, because all three are good to have. The lightest flavour of all is the Capri In A Cake (S$12), a simple classic limoncello caprese served with Amalfi lemon cream and extra virgin olive oil ice cream.
Another interesting option is The Italian Souffle (S$14), a combination of Rosemary Souffle and Negroni Ice Cream. You get a full-bodied Negroni ice cream, which is a very different kind of souffle from what I had before.
The last dessert is the Cappuccinomisu (S$10), an alternative rendition on the classic tiramisu. I was surprised I like this because I personally am not fond of tiramisu. This Cappuccinomisu uses cappuccino foam and port wine cream, which is probably why I enjoyed it more than a tiramisu. The chocolate sponge and mascarpone elements complete the dessert well too.
Rants Serving portions of the pasta and starters are kept small, which only means you have more room to try more dishes.
Will I Return Again? I enjoyed my dining experience at Griglia where the dishes are excellent. This is a restaurant suitable for couple dates or a small group gathering where you have the luxury of trying more dishes on the menu. I also like the fact that the cuisine, though Italian, is not all about pastas and pizzas.
This was an invited tasting, though all opinions expressed are our own.
Make your reservation instantly at Griglia Open Fire Italian Kitchen here.
Taste bud: 4/5
Hole in the pocket: 4/5
Overall Experience: 4/5
Griglia Open Fire Italian Kitchen
37 Craig Road
Tel: +65 8949 7011
Monday to Friday: 12pm to 3pm; 6pm to 10:30pm
Saturday: 6pm to 10:30pm
Closed on Sundays
Ranted by The Ranter