Trattoria Gallo d’Oro is the first restaurant by co-owner and head chef Carlo Marengoni, most recently of the Marina Mandarin Hotel. Tucked in the sterile concrete streets around Central Mall, chef Marengoni cooks up northern Italian dishes from his hometown of Bergamo, Italy. The decor of this neatly packed 30-seater is simple: dark wood furniture, terracotta floor, shelves of wine bottles, outcroppings of exposed faux brick and mirrored wall panels. There’s a windowed kitchen, too, where you can sit and watch the chefs at work.
Chef Marengoni’s food is served in rustic, shallow casserole-style plates, and the concept is ‘have food, must share’. He offers a limited sharing menu of the day ($58 per person), but even the à la carte dishes are served one by one and put in the centre of the table.
The starters work well, from a deftly shaved, melt-in-your-mouth carpaccio di manzo ($18) to a tender, batter-fried calamari ($18) that’s lightly coated and crisp, with a creamy caper-dill tartar sauce.
For mains, we love the house speciality of home-made pappardelle with sausage and baby spinach ($20) in a sublime parsley cream sauce with house-made fennel and oregano pork sausage. One letdown, though, is the ossobuco ($28), in which the tender, braised veal shank is overwhelmed by a sea of rosemary-scented tomato ragù. Most of the dishes could also benefit from a dash more seasoning.
The house-made desserts are a toss of the coin, too, from the sublime – a lemony custard and almond torta della nonna ($10) cake crowned with a giant scoop of the creamiest vanilla gelato – to a less successful tiramisù ($10) that’s too dry and covered in too much cocoa.
While this is a solid restaurant, the food doesn’t quite fully convince – and nor does the concept, since you can share at any restaurant if you choose. Yvonne Ruperti
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