Elegant but homely meals served Catalan-style in the heart of Telok Ayer
The hype: Celebrity chef Carles Gaig takes his Michelin-starred Restaurant Gaig from Barcelona to Singapore, settling along the end of a quiet street in Telok Ayer. Restaurant Gaig Singapore doesn’t just bear its older, Catalan sister’s namesake—it shares as well the same fiercely guarded family recipes and traditional Catalan dishes, passed down through five generations of Gaig chefs.
The vibe: Instantly elegant from the minute you breeze through the automated sliding doors, Restaurant Gaig’s interior is a breath of fresh air with modern furnishings and strategically placed potted plants. The greens, natural light, and textured white walls come together to create a comfortable space evocative of nature—further enhanced by the overhead glass structures in front of the open kitchen that look convincingly like a greenhouse.
The food: First things first, if you’re looking for typical Spanish grub, don’t expect to find it here. Restaurant Gaig focuses on showcasing Catalan cuisine—subtly but surely distinct from Spanish cuisine, in its nuanced use of ingredients and preparation.
That said, some things remain the same. Classic tapas are available to help ease you into the extensive menu. The Jamon Iberico croquette (min. order of two, $4.50 each) is a fried ball of homely comfort, bathed in bread crumbs and deep fried with olive oil. Cut it gingerly open for the real treat—shredded chicken and jamon iberico (a Spanish cured ham) mixed together in a warm gravy that oozes out. If you’re used to the classic patatas bravas ($9.50) of Spanish dining, you’ll be surprised to see it taken up a notch here. Gaig forfeits the standard wedges-style presentation for elegantly sliced cubes, garnished with aeoli and ketchup on the side. The result is a potato dish that doesn’t leave you too carb-loaded—just hungrily wanting more.
Not to be missed either is Gaig’s traditional cannelloni ($15.50), a comforting dish of cannelloni pasta sheets, stuffed with roasted beef and pork and bathed in a truffle cream sauce. Warm and satisfying, the dish is proudly touted as the restaurant’s signature, made from a 150-year old recipe traditionally served during Christmas in Barcelona.
For your main, ditch your usual paella for the squid ink and seafood fideua ($29.50), which substitutes vermicelli noodles for rice. The noodles are springy and evenly coated in the squid ink so it isn’t overpowering, even for first-timers of the messy dish. And for meat-lovers, the boneless suckling pig with strawberry and celery salad ($25.50) is a must-try—beautifully plated, juicy and drenched in a house sauce that pairs surprisingly well with the acidic kick of the fruit.
Dessert is no less elegant an affair with the Catalan creme brulee ($10.20), presented here in a delicate martini glass. Spoon out the creamy custard, baked extra fluffy with a texture almost like beancurd, and don’t forget to dig to the bottom of the glass for the caramel ice cream and sauce.
Why you’ll be back: Restaurant Gaig is a conveniently located stop for those in the CBD to check out simple but beautiful (and authentic) Catalan dishes, before making the decision to fly to Barcelona to check out the real, Michelin-starred deal. Set lunches are affordably priced too, at $38 for a starter and a main—perfect if you’re in the mood to treat yourself but not break the bank.
|Address:||Restaurant Gaig, 16 Stanley St., Singapore, 068735 Singapore|
|Area:||Central, Tanjong Pagar|
|Price Range:||$ - $$$|
|Open since:||July, 2017|
|Opening hours:||Mon-Fri noon-2pm; Sat 6-9:30pm|
|Nearest train||Telok Ayer|
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