Italian restaurants in Shanghai come and go like mushrooms after a rain. Salotto G is the latest to join the fray.
Salotto G has closed as of May 2017.
Salotto means ‘living room’ in Italian, and is the concept of the restaurant; A welcoming and comfortable living room of it’s owner, Mr. G.
The first floor of Salotto G offers traditional Italian fare, whilst the 2nd floor boasts a private chefs table menu, which features creations of the day and season by chef Giulio Di Sabato.
Many thanks to Stella @ Salotto G for the invitation to try the chefs table menu.
Although Salotto G claims to be modelled after a living area concept, in reality, the decor is more classy than they claim.
Dark wood, leather and warm lighting tastefully fill the first floor, giving a low key but classic feel. The second floor table settings almost look like a dinner date with count dracula. 8/10
As usual for Invited tasting, an average unbiased service score of 7.5 is awarded. I didn’t get to observe other diners’ service experience either.
The chefs table on the 2nd floor of Salotto G costs 488rmb per person, and encompasses 6 courses.
Before coming to Shanghai, Chef Giulio worked in a 1 michelin star restaurant in his hometown of Turin, Piedmont.
One rule that they have for the 2nd floor of Salotto G, is that no food from the 1st floor menu can be ordered at the chefs table. Luckily, They made an exception for us that evening.
Our meal started with an amuse bouche affectionately named a foie gras-misu. It was primarily a foie gras mousse, enhanced with hazel nut, some pineapple chunks at the bottom and topped with a single Amarena cherry.
This was certainly a promising start to the meal, the foie gras mousse was flavourful, yet delicate and light, enhanced with some chunks of pineapple at the bottom. The amarena cherry provided a fruity kick, balancing well with the foie gras mousse.
Our only complaint was that the biscuit base was a little thin and soggy. It would’ve been nicer if it was slightly thicker and crispy, like a crostini. That said, it was still a very pleasant bite, and deserving of a 8/10
Purple Potato, Organic Egg, Truffle Parmesan Foam, Shaved Truffle
Truffles with potatoes is a classic traditional pairing. This dish was served sans foam, after which, Chef Giulio came over to pump out the foam from the whipping siphon.
Sadly, while I thought the idea of this dish might have been good, the execution didn’t pull through.
The purple potatoes required a little more cooking, as they felt hard to the bite. The truffle slices literally were bland and had no flavour, despite being freshly shaved table-side. The foam didn’t stand up as a foam at all, and collapsed like a defeated cream sauce.
In fact, I had thought it was a cream sauce until Chef mentioned it was a parmesan foam later in the meal. The components of the dish simply weren’t executed well enough for them to form any synergy with each other. It simply didn’t look nor tasted good. 4/10
Cod liver, Pasito Jelly, Pistachio Crumble, Balsamic Pearls, Frozen blueberry
First taste of this revealed a fishy punch; Not necessarily a bad thing; In this case, the fishy taste was offset and balanced off nicely with the pasito jelly and balsamic pearls. However, served as it is, it felt incomplete as a dish. We only managed to gobbled it down with the house bread on the side. If not for the bread, this dish wouldn’t have been very palatable at all. The pistachio crumbs and blueberry provided interesting eye candy on the plate, but felt detached from the dish. 7.5/10
Asparagus Risotto, Ecuadorian prawns, prawn bisque
The highlight of the evening. Lovely al dente Italian rice, paired with crunchy and flavourful prawns that had been perfectly seasonedl The asparagus, young and crisp, was a joy, eaten together with the creamy risotto.
The prawn bisque sauce wasn’t overly strong, whose crustacean flavours helped lifted the risotto to a masterpiece level. Truly, one of the best risottos I’ve eaten in recent times, even surpassing that of Scarpetta’s. 9.5/10
Australian Tenderloin, black crust, foie gras sauce
Sadly, our main suffered from the same execution faults as seen from earlier. The crusted tenderloin was a creative concept, however in reality, the crust, made from quote “vegetable charcoal” was a soggy and grainy mess. Not only was the texture quite appalling, there was also no flavour to the ‘crust’ at all. The actual beef was cooked perfectly, tender with a medium rare doneness.
The foie gras sauce had some small cubes of foie gras in it, but sadly did not have a strong enough flavour to lift up the dish. This dish gets a 3/10 of enjoyment, with the points going only because the beef was actually perfectly done.
Pinsa, parma ham, olives
A variation of pizza where a flat-bread-like dough is used instead. This was an exception that was provided to us from the 1st floor menu. Usually, 2nd floor chef table diners can NOT order anything from the first floor menu. The ingredients were fresh and flavourful, cheese ample, making the simple pinsa very comforting to eat. 8/10
Apple Crumble, pollen sauce
The apple crumble was served as a cross section. It was a piece of pastry skin wrapped around a mound of caramelised diced apples; Not quite what we were expecting. It was actually a little difficult to eat, because the moment your fork broke apart a piece of the pastry, the whole thing would literally crumble; fall apart. We felt there were too much apples in it, and ended up scooping up bites of apple cubes with our forks, instead of picking up chunks of pastry AND apple together.
The pollen sauce also had a very unpleasant grainy texture. 4/10
In conclusion, a bit of a disappointing start of the Chefs Table at Salotto G, even though I applaud chef Giulio’s courage in trying to break the norm and do something special at Salotto G.