Amuse Bouche - Zucchini Flan topped with Taleggio Cheese Fondue and Crushed Walnuts
|Vegetariano - Green Asparagus Spears with Stewed Wild Mushrooms and Polenta|
|After three grams of truffles have been shaved on top of the soup|
|Crema di Patata – Potato Parmantier Soup with Poached Egg Yolk and Black Summer Truffle (before the truffle shavings)|
|Tagliolini – Buckwheat Tagliolini with Black Summer Truffle and Pike Caviar|
|Rossini – Seared Angus Beef Tenderloin with Foie Gras Steak and Truffle Sauce|
|Tri Colour Pasta - not on the menu but a gooey rich treat from the chef|
|Cioccolato, Molten Lava White Chocolate with Summer Truffle and Crunchy Rum Gelato|
Garibaldi presents Alba Black Summer Truffles
Dinner at Garibaldi is always an experience and this month is no different. Making the best of seasonal produce, the innovative Chef Giuliano has developed a menu for summer black truffle season. Flown in from Alba, Italy, these divine delicacies are being used in a menu based in tradition with modern highlights.
A pre-dinner drink in the lively bar atmosphere of Garibar is a contrasting entry to the upper, more elegant but still friendly, ambience of Garibaldi. For an Italian menu laden with generous shavings of black fungus, there could be no more appropriate start that an effervescent glass of Prosecco. Expeditious staff had my fingers grasping a chilled glass while hubby parked the car, affording me a few minutes of palate cleansing, appetite whetting moments and mental preparation for the feast ahead.
|Sun Dried Tomato Focaccia|
Hubby arriving, we proceeded upstairs to the cozier, more private setting of Garibaldi. Having a reservation, we were greeted by name and noted the attentive, individualized service that the restaurant is known for. Ushered to our seats, our first choice, still or sparkling water, was offered as a bouquet of bread sticks bunched in a tall vase in a soil of red salt was rested on our table. Not being able to decide on what to choose from the a la carte menu, we went with the chef’s tasting sequence and left the wine pairing to in-house sommelier, Gilbert.
Shortly after ordering, sun dried tomato focaccia arrived hot from the kitchen with olive oil and balsamic vinegar. An exciting Amuse Bouche followed. A zucchini flan topped with Taleggio cheese fondue and crushed walnuts had the appearance of a mini iced cupcake. It disappeared in our mouths just as fast as would have the cupcake in a six year old’s too.
|Cortese di Favi|
A white wine from Alba Italia proved a perfect start for truffles from the same region. The Cortese di Favi, Pio Cesare 2009 with its citrusy presence but slightly earthy tone provided the acidity needed to cut through the creaminess of our first plate and also a complement to the, difficult to pair with, asparagus, in, Vegetariano, Green Asparagus Spears with Stewed Wild Mushrooms and Polenta. The asparagus was cooked making it tender to bite into with a snappy finish and the polenta so creamy that at first I mistook it for whipped potatoes. A generous three grams of black summer truffles are generously hand grated on top of every dish. The delicate shavings, black around the rim, exposing a patterned whitish hazelnutty interior deliquesced upon contact with our moist tongues.
Proudly surviving the first challenging asparagus wine pairing, the sommelier had his work cut out for him with the second dish featuring a runny poached egg. Both asparagus and egg come with a report card reading, “does not play well with others,” especially in terms of wine matching. Finding the right buddies, with sufficient strength, endurance and complementary natures, to put together with the duo is a qualified counselor’s job.
The strong acidity of the Tuscan Pomino Bianco, Castello Pomino by Frescobaldi proved a capable match for the Crema di Patata – Potato Parmantier Soup with Poached Egg Yolk and Black Summer Truffle. The strong character of the Italian chardonnay blend stood up to the thick and smooth soup and its earthy oakiness complemented the truffle. We enjoyed trying the soup in stages: first, a spoon of soup, then a sip of wine; then, some croutons providing a buttery crunch, and another sip of wine; finally, breaking the egg and allowing the yolk to flow into the soup and more wine. This multi-level dish is best enjoyed slowly so as to appreciate the complexities of the flavours and textures.
Up next, not on the menu, but a little treat from the chef, was a multi coloured pasta creation. A pasta shell naturally coloured with spinach, squid ink and an infusion of vegetable stock and saffron enveloped a ricotta, spinach and egg yolk filling. Still runny, the bundle is waiting to be opened and first incision sees the golden liquid stream onto the plate.
Asking for additional minutes between courses we noted the attentive, but unobtrusive service and smiled at how our glasses were magically refilled and plates cleared with minimum distraction. We also took a moment to appreciate the Italian tunes vibrating the air getting you in the mood for romance, an excellent meal, great wine or all three. It also gave us a little time to reflect on the meal and think about what makes a memorable tasting menu. For me the key is a link between dishes. In this case, the truffle connection is obvious, but the theme also progressed in intensity from lighter to stronger.
A French Champagne, Gosset, was the well chosen palate cleanser next presented. It also served as a classic pairing with the caviar and buckwheat in the third dish, Tagliolini – Buckwheat Tagliolini with Black Summer Truffle and Pike Caviar. The rustic noodles were rough and earthy providing a contrast to the salty caviar that popped between my teeth. The Rossini – Seared Angus Beef Tenderloin with Foie Gras Steak and Truffle Sauce came next and switching to a medium red, the Belnero 2008 Castello Banfi, was a timely change in colour. Finely scalloped potatoes were stacked up with a cream cement aside the tender Australian beef topped with foie gras and truffle shavings. (Absolute indulgence!!!) Both the starch tower and flesh exuded juices as carved. The relatively young Tuscan blend of Sangiovese and cabernet sauvignon had a good structure and also enough acidity to provide refreshment, balancing out the fatty foie gras.
Cioccolato, Molten Lava White Chocolate with Summer Truffle and Crunchy Rum Gelato was finished off with a Moscato Di Asti 2010 Balbi Soprani. The lower alcohol content of the slightly aerated sweet white was appreciated as a lighter finish than the commonly used dessert wine or fortified liquor. White chocolate is often a classic pairing for white truffles. The Summer Black Truffle though did well with the creamy foods throughout the menu and continued to please right through dessert.
|Moscato Di Asti|
All dishes come with a rich three grams of truffle shavings. Available, both via a degustation menu, or a la carte, August is the time to sample these delicacies while still in season. The five course Black Summer Truffle tasting menu costs RM230++. The hidden bargain though is the additional wine pairing for a mere RM65++. If you’re going to spend that much on a meal, you may as well go all out, taking the meal to a much higher complexity with wine companions.
Don’t come to Garibaldi to eat. Come to dine. Come to savour. Come to explore. Come to experiment and come to learn. The Black Summer Truffle menu is full of dishes worthy of deeper contemplation. Plan a leisurely meal allowing the sommelier to guide you into pairings that will elevate an excellent Italian dinner to an adventure in the forests of Alba.
Reason to visit: Alba Black Summer Truffle Menu, fine Italian cuisine, excellent service, menus created by not one but two Italian chefs
Italian Restaurant and Bar
Lot G10 & G22 Bangsar Village I
Jalan Telawi Satu
59100 Kuala Lumpur
+6 03 2282 3456