A “father of the fatherland” seems a peculiar muse for a restaurant. Then again, politics and food are as inseparable as bodies and shadows, and, in a sense, Italian General Giuseppe Garibaldi represents the revolutionary ideals that this colourful outlet on Sukhumvit 16 has strived to achieve. Prosecco cocktails? A Mediterranean menu that borders on fusion, but doesn’t feel tired, complicated, nor entirely fused? Symmetrical, post-industrial design? The General would be proud.
“Fusion” is a loaded word. Its use in culinary lingo often sends diners racing the other direction. Garibaldi’s, however, ventures into this murky rhetorical territory without hesitation. Chef Marco Rosato, an Italian who worked in Paris, has shaped and sharpened a menu of Mediterranean cuisine that reflects his diverse professional experience. The dishes aren’t game-changing, per se, but rather smart and so well-executed that the regional undertones lift rather than muddle them.
The grilled halloumi, roasted beet, and spinach salad (B290), a Cypriot specialty, dances from flavour to favour, the brine of goat cheese playing a balancing act with balsamic vinaigrette. Petite pine nuts give crunch to contrast smooth elements. While the salad may have a definite sphere of influence, it jells with the freshness that embodies the spirit of Mediterranean cuisine.
An asparagus and seafood soup (B260), which includes a shrimp perched tail-up in the forest-green broth like a buoy in the shoal, offsets earthy, puréed asparagus with sweet cherry tomatoes and buttery shellfish. The soup sets up hardier fare, such as house-made ravioli in black truffle cream (B440). Four pillows of spinach-filled pasta, buried in a sauce flecked with truffle flotsam, cradle an egg yolk. When broken, the yolk sends the sauce over the top; soft and rich, with a texture like melted marshmallow, its decadence could silence the city’s most strident mouths.
France makes an appearance, albeit in a supporting role, in pan-fried pigeon on porcini risotto (B540). The saltsweet kick of a moon-shaped parmesan tuile evens out the smoky bird, and ideal bite in the Arborio rice suggests Garibaldi’s has found the formula for fusion success.
Though Rosato pulls off these gallivanting styles, the most memorable dishes nevertheless return to his Italian roots. Swordfish with capers, black olives, and piquant cherry tomato sauce (B490), a dish filled with energy, shouts “Italy!” to the rafters. The only appropriate way to cap a Mediterranean journey like this is with an espresso from the bar — an espresso martini, of course.
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