Italian food never ceases to amaze us. We were invited to a hot seat at the highly-anticipated Gucci Osteria pop-up at The Arts House, a collaborative effort blending Gucci’s signature eclecticism with the tongue-in-cheek stylings of renowned chef Massimo Bottura, of three Michelin-starred Osteria Francescana (Ranked #1 in The World’s 50 Best Restaurants 2018), and opens for the month of May (just in time for Mothers’ Day, might we add). Were we about to pass on its maiden voyage into international waters? We think not.
After a tour of the locale and welcome drinks at the door, lunch started off with a refreshing shot of Watermelon and Rosehip, served by members of staff decked out in Gucci aprons. A home-made infusion with watermelon representing the tropics and rosehip for Gucci’s prolific use of florals — an introduction to the fusion-esque nature of the collaboration.
Drawing inspiration from Chef Karime López’s Latin American heritage, the Uni Crab Tostada presented itself as a bed of sweet crab salad and layered with briny, Hokkaido uni sauce topped with a crisp yellow corn tortilla cracker piled high with pickled radish, avocado pieces, avocado puree and chipotle mayonnaise. Finished with a final dusting of coriander and hibiscus powder, with a touch of coriander cress ends the dish with a mild, tangy finish.
Next, much like people who only eat corner pieces on a brownie, the Crunchy Part of the Lasagna goes straight for the good stuff. Chef Bottura’s playful reinvention of his favourite childhood dish is albeit more elegantly presented – a delicate fried pasta sheet perched atop a small dune of ragù and airy béchamel sauce – but stirs nostalgic emotions of eye-opening wonder of anyone’s first time savouring the cripsy top layers of a lasagna.
We certainly needed no introduction to the choice cut of a wagyu tenderloin in Meet the Meat. Roasted in vegetable charcoal ash for smoked finish, with a creamy dollop of sweet black garlic and celeriac puree on the side and dressed in thin sheets of pickled daikon, the dish ticked all the flavourial boxes on our gastronomic checklist and sent us to foodie heaven.
And for dessert: the Charley Marley, affectionately named after chef Bottura’s second son and a fanatic of all things chocolate. Gold-dusted layers of “GUCCI” embossed hazelnut biscuit (in case you forget where you are) encase rich hazelnut pralines and decadent dark chocolate ganache, a stunningly beautiful (and delicious) dessert.
In chef Bottura’s seven-course menu, sweets come in the form of Strawberry Fields. Candy-pink cubes of strawberry are dressed in a marinade of lychee and vanilla, then piled atop a thin wafer of lychee meringue, balanced on a bed of whipped cream.
The month-long affair is nothing short of an experience in decadent dining, with a price tag to prove it. Yet, having had a taste of chef Bottura and López’s lovingly curated menu, it would be difficult to say this place isn’t worth saving up for.
The Gucci Osteria Pop-up is located at The Arts House Singapore, 1 Old Parliament Lane, Singapore 179429. Open for lunch and dinner on select days from 1 May to 2 June. The four-course lunch is priced at SGD$128++, the seven-course lunch at SGD$228++, and the seven-course dinner at SGD$289++ inclusive of a glass of champagne to start.