Garibaldi Italian Bar & Restaurant, Bangsar1 Mar 2011
Like il Lido last year, Garibaldi’s arrival to Malaysian shores has been eagerly anticipated, not least because the Singaporean export comes with superb reviews.
In a city where Italian food reigns supreme, the launching of a critically acclaimed Italian eatery is to foodies akin to the opening of a standalone Louboutin store for shoe-aholics.
Unlike il Lido however, Garibaldi’s location in a mall—albeit a trendy one in the ‘right’ neighbourhood— rather than as a standalone must be due to commercial considerations, just as the decision to give the restaurant two separate menus is a canny call that’s already paying dividends.
Split into two levels, Garibaldi’s lower dining area is rather more modern, with a menu comprising pizzas, pastas and snacks.
Upstairs, the fine dining restaurant is presided over by a different chef, with a menu that is tangibly closer to its Singaporean counterpart. Although the small dining area is intimate and imbued with a natural light that floods the room during the day, the hotelbanquet- room-green finishing is a little dubious.
Happily, your attention doesn’t have too long to ponder over the setting, as service is excellent, and you are quickly distracted by the arrival of complimentary bread.
An efficient way to sample Garibaldi’s cuisine is to opt for the degustation menu, but since the staff are perspicacious and able to think out of the box, you can just as easily order from the a la carte and request for a pasta to be divided into four serves, say, thereby serving as an interstitial course between appetisers and main course.
The fegata with roasted goose liver, caramelised apples and balsamic vinegar is a popular choice. Competently prepared, it’s a tasty, if not memorable, starter.
Homemade pasta always succeeds in resuscitating in me the desire to make my own fresher, tastier pasta rather than buying the significantly more inferior store bought alternative. Garibaldi’s homemade tagliolini with braised duck ragu, duck liver sage and pumpkin is no exception.
The inspired combination of ingredients makes the sauce a superb foil for this canvas, while the liver lends lilting, albeit subtle, undernotes to the zesty but not rambunctious ragu sauce.
Main courses need to be ‘renovated’ somewhat: the veal in the scaloppini with porcini mushrooms and truffle sauce tended towards the rubbery side while the osso bucco, a signature dish at Garibaldi, seemed to have lost its way.
Propitiously, the desserts—all uniformly excellent in execution, presentation and taste—more than compensate for any disappointments incurred during the meal. The pannacotta is the stand-out sweet: quiveringly acquiescent and with a texture that defies belief, Garibaldi’s pannacotta is a masterpiece that has caused me quite a few sleepness nights since then.
With a little work on the main courses, Garibaldi could easily become one of the top Italian eateries in town, and I for one hope they work out the kinks.
Lot 10 & G22, Bangsar Village 1, Jalan Telawi Satu, Bangsar Baru, KL.
Tel: 03–2282 3456