Wednesday, October 27, 2021

Griglia Open Fire Italian Kitchen - New Restaurant on Craig Road Brings You a Taste of an Outdoor Italian Barbecue

Griglia_Craig_Road_singapore_menuGriglia, the new kid on Craig road, aims to transport diners to a 'grigliata' — an outdoor barbecue party that the Italians often indulge in with their loved ones. It's always a hearty affair; everyone brings along fresh produce and throws them onto the grill over a strong fire fueled by charcoal. When produce is that fresh, all you need is a light sprinkling of salt and some top quality olive oil to bring out the best in them. And that's exactly what Griglia is all about. The menu is centered on dishes cooked on a custom-made cast iron grill flown in from Russia, and diners can expect unique dishes built with lightly-seasoned ingredients that are reminiscent of the "mix and match" concept typically observed at grigliatas where attendees pile their plates with anything they desire from the grill. 


griglia_italian_food_singaporeCarefully designed with elements (such as wood, metal, and bricks) which remind one of a grigliata, Griglia offers diners a great view of their open kitchen, and proudly showcases the grill which is, no doubt, the centrepiece of the spanking new space. Little pots of herbs are displayed on the counter, and these go into some of your dishes. I've always found watching the chefs hard at work an amazing sight, and I think that chefs do enjoy the feeling of having their craft appreciated as well. 


As Griglia doesn't have a bar, or a bartender at your service, the bar prepares and packs their signature negronis into adorable little bottles that are available for purchase. Expect unique negronis infused with chocolate, and rosemary. I had the Chocolate Negroni and I adored the distinct chocolate notes that kicked in when the strong taste of the negroni mellowed out. 

The first dish did tickle my fancy quite abit. As a huge fan of burrata cheese, I was excited to dig into the Burratina($16). In a crisp house-baked tart shell sits charcoal-grilled marinated zucchini slices and a blob of fresh burratina that's garnished with roasted pine nuts, baby rockets, herbs and drizzled with extra virgin olive oil. I love the combination of pine nuts and burratina and the light sour kick that the zucchini lent to the ensemble.  
The second dish wasn't something I would typically order, as it comprises all the things that I don't eat, but I gave it a go anyway and was surprised that the moist and soft Eggplant($15) which is a lighter interpretation of eggplant parmigiana, packed great flavours! Imagine slow-baked tomatoes, grilled eggplant, and basil all baked together before being served with a smoked 'Caciocavallo' fondue. The creamy cheese bound all the flavours together perfectly. 
Now, something from the sea. Hiika Squid($18) is dressed with salmoriglio and cooked over the charcoal grill, before Palermo peppers are added to remove excess vinegar and achieve caramelisation. The dish is then served with nduja foam. Squid might not be the first thing that catches your eye when you're browsing the seafood selection at Griglia, but I strongly recommend that you give it a try. Instead of the rubbery and overly chewy squid that we so often encounter, Griglia's Hiika squid was executed to perfection, and I love that you can taste the natural flavours of the fresh seafood, and also amp it up with the nduja foam which carries a hint of spiciness. 
The Hokkaido Scallop Crudo ($22) is a classic Grigliata dish that features seafood, corn and lemon. The sweetness of the grilled scallop went hand in hand with the sweetness of the lightly crunchy white corn kernels. The Amalfi lemon and capers sauce lent an appetizing brightness and tartness to the dish and rendered this creation a solid winner in our eyes. I especially enjoyed the textural contrast between the firm but soft scallop, and the crunch of the corn.

A celebration of the simplicity of Italian cuisine, the Spaghetti di Martino($18) is whipped up with roasted tomatoes that have been brined in Italian sea water, tomato cream made from Datterino tomatoes confit, and grangnano pasta prepared aglio e olio style. Who knew that roasting, grilling and cooking with just simple ingredients such as extra virgin oil oil, garlic, and white wine can lead to the creation of such a brilliant dish with flavours that hit all the right spots? The portion is definitely on the small side, and I wished we could have had more of it, but it's a gourmet plate of pasta that would please your palate. 
Now, my favourite dish of the night has to be the House-Made Pappardelle($20). Imagine hand rolled pappardelle with the perfect al dente texture, fresh tender Australian pork jowl that's been simmered for 4-5 hours, and slow roasted crispy guanciale from Colonnata all on a plate. Sounds amazing, doesn't it? Well, it tasted better than it sounded or looked! I absolutely loved the texture of the pasta and how this entire dish was a flavour bomb that wasn't overwhelming in any way. The flavours were very well balanced and you will find yourself craving for more after every bite. The portion is also on the smaller side, sadly. I hope they would consider launching a full-sized version because I would come back again and again for it! It's definitely one of the best plates of pasta, in terms of taste, that I've had in Singapore!

The Grilled Whole Spanish Turbot ($58/400g, $98/$800g), which Griglia touts as one of its stars, was quite interesting. Griglia is the only restaurant to be serving up a 400g fresh wild turbot, and from Spain no less, in Singapore. I was really excited for this dish which comes complete with romaine lettuce, Amalfi lemon dressing and some condiments such as sea salt, pickled mustard, and garlic sauce. I would say that the Turbot was cooked well, and the fresh flesh of it was firm and tender and packed full of that natural and distinctive taste of the fish. While the lemon dressing perked the fish up a little, I didn't particularly think that the condiments, apart from the roasted garlic sauce, elevated the fish much. Perhaps my palate is more attuned to stronger flavours, and I felt that the dish could have been tastier. That said, I believe that those who love turbot will relish this. 
Pretty in pink, the Grass-fed Wagyu Striploin MBS 3/4 ($68/200g) came with the same condiments that accompanied the turbot and I found that a little strange as I wouldn't think that the same condiments would work with both a light-tasting key ingredient such as fish and a strong-tasting one such as beef. Armed with a decent amount of fat, the cut of beef was quite succulent and had a great texture. It was not too beefy on its own, and every bite promised a lovely ooze of juices that kept me hooked. I enjoyed it with a dash of sea salt and the chianti jus which injected a nice sweetness that enlivened the meat. I would recommend that you get the Potato Puree ($10) to go along with the striploin as they are simply a match made in heaven. Served with smoked caciocavallo and fresh horse radish, the shallot potato puree was incredibly smooth and plain addictive. Even though I was already very full, I made sure I finished all of it! Also, do order a glass of the delicious Arlequin Merchant of Venice Shiraz which complements the beef to a T!


For dessert, we had Capri in a Cake ($12) which saw a flawless and brilliantly-crafted Amalfi lemon cream sandwiched between flourless almond cake, served with a dollop of extra virgin olive oil ice cream. While I found the almond cake a tad hard and a little dry, the lemon cream tossed any gripes I had out of the window. It was truly exceptional. Creamy, with just the right amount of acidity, the cream was a stunner — I can eat it on its own! I haven't come across such beautiful lemon cream in awhile now and Griglia's lemon cream is what dreams are made of. The olive oil ice cream was really delightful too and the entire combination works really well together. 

Service was impeccable, with every dish meticulously explained, and recommendations generously offered. Portions are on the smaller side, and made for sharing, so bring your pals along and order heaps to share!

37 Craig Rd 
#01-01, Singapore 089675
Monday - Friday : 12pm -3pm, 6pm - 1030pm
Saturday : 6pm - 1030pm

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