Gucci Osteria da Massimo Bottura in Singapore: A five-week pop-up in May at The Arts House
From Florence to Singapore
Last year, Gucci's curveball for its fashion legacy turned out to be Massimo Bottura (chef-owner of world no.1 restaurant Osteria Francescana)'s green-walled brainchild, Gucci Osteria — a 50-seater restaurant in Florence. It intrigued every style cognoscenti, critical gourmand, and obviously, follower of Bottura's convoluted mastery. We could very easily fall into the last category, since our last encounter with the chef himself when he was in town.
With due diligence from SAVOUR, the eccentric restaurant has sprouted up in our city for a five-week stint till 2 June at The Arts House. The historical location was chosen to parallel the Palazzo della Mercanzia in Florence, where the Gucci Garden is located. Common thread: Both buildings own a strong affinity with the arts and culture. Singapore's edition lets on a bigger seating capacity of 60 pax; with walls adorned with the signature red Gucci Herbarium motif wallpaper, which was specially flown in from Florence. As with all the crockery from the Gucci Décor collection.
A delightful scent roved through the room — which we later found out wasn't a Gucci fragrance but one of the works from AllSense Scent. Considering the restrictions that the SAVOUR team, Gucci co. and Massimo Bottura's crew had to work with based off the heritage building guidelines, the transformation of Gucci Osteria Singapore was a remarkable one. The room was dolled up with Gucci motifs; alongside the stage (that was already built within The Arts House) with the iconic lime green hue that's exactly the same one from Gucci Osteria in Florence. Look past the stage and you'll see a unsuspecting small opening, only to reveal another room that's allocated for bigger groups.
Helming the kitchen behind is a stellar team, led by head chef Karime López, comprising of talented individuals from Osteria Francescana (including López's husband, Taka, who you might fondly remember as the creator behind Bottura's 'Oops! I Dropped the Lemon Tart') as well as Gucci Osteria. A four-course set will be served for lunch while the seven-course will roll out during dinner.
Our meal commenced with housemade bread rolls, accompanied with a side of brown butter. Before we filled up on the carbs (our damage came up to three, with generous slabs of butter with each mouthful), the first course was served. Fresh uni crab, seasoned with spices and citron, sheltered by a crisp yellow corn tostado, adorned with avocado, pickled radish and dusted with coriander and hibiscus powder. A refreshing ode to Lopez's Mexican heritage. In between Bob Dylan's tunes and refined classic orchestra, came the famed highlight — The Crunchy Part of the Lasagne, a dish inspired by Bottura's childhood inklings of his favourite top bit of the Italian classic. To pay tribute to Singapore, the pasta sheet was coloured in red and white, instead of the usual red-green-white combination for Italy.
While my very attentive server warned me about the hot plate, the minced beef wasn't; rather it tasted perhaps too mildly warm. Still, it's hard to discount the complexity of the dish for what it is —a crisp wafer crafted to resemble an art piece, plated above ragu, bechamel and a strip of tomato terrine. All I did wish for, was a chunkier bite to make for the corner slab of the lasagne that I'm always eyeing on. Next, a decadent serving of wagyu tenderloin pared with daikon and vinegar-infused roots and a black garlic celeriac puree that we could easily lick the plate for. But not when you have social cues to observe in a makeshift Gucci lair.
For dessert? Charley Marley was created as a tribute to Bottura's second-born son, Charlie who's a big of chocolate. Think a decadent treat plied with kaya cream and dark chocolate ganache within a sandwich. Oh, and they're gleamed with gold dust with the words Gucci embossed within.
To the lucky ones that have already sealed in their reservations, bask in the glory. If you haven't managed to weed out the competition, we hope you lived vicariously through this piece. Alternatively, you may request to be put on the waitlist and pray earnestly for a divine miracle.
Gucci Osteria will run from 1 May - 2 June will open for lunch and dinner on select days. Diners can choose a specially curated four-course lunch ($128++), a seven-course lunch ($228++) or seven-course dinner ($278++) tasting menus that showcase a selection of dishes inspired by Bottura's travels. If you wish to be added to the waitlist, email firstname.lastname@example.org.