Taste of an Italian summer at Griglia Open Fire Italian Kitchen
Even if you have experienced an Italian summer just once, it stays with you.
The smell, sun, sweat and smiles are entrenched in my memory.
When I found out that Griglia Open Fire Italian Kitchen celebrates barbecues during Italian summers, I was intrigued.
At this Craig Road restaurant, almost all the ingredients - not just the meat and seafood - are cooked with a cast iron charcoal grill.
The food here is casual and simple, nothing is overly fussy or fancy. Now that friends can dine out in groups of five, this is a great place to gather.
When it comes to Italian cuisine, there are a few items you should not miss - and I found all of them here.
The first is Eggplant.
What is this magic that the Italians have over the eggplant? The version at Griglia ($15) is delicious.
Grilled eggplant with tomatoes and basil is served with smoked caciocavallo cheese, creating a delicate dish that tastes of summer.
Of course, you must never skip pasta. The Spaghetti Di Martino ($18) is light and clean, with yellow tomatoes.
The pasta is tossed with roasted tomato jus before serving, and the brightness of the dish is a winner.
It is easy to find a good squid dish in Italy, and there is a good one here too.
Hiika Squid ($18) features grilled Palermo peppers with grilled squid.
The winning element here is the nduja foam. I am biased but nduja is truly one of the best ingredients for any cuisine.
I remember when I was in Florence, a local was shocked when I said I did not want to try the beef.
At Griglia, the Grass Fed Wagyu Beef Striploin ($68 for 200g) is tender and juicy, and the sauces accompanying it complement it perfectly.
But not much distinguishes this from the grilled beef you would elsewhere in Singapore, so if you want to skip it, try the Whole Spanish Turbot (from $58 for 400g) instead.
Griglia turns to Spain for fresh wild turbot and prepares it seasoned with extra virgin olive oil and sea salt.
It is cooked and served whole, which makes for a "wow" presentation.
One of my favourite moments was saved for the end.
When I think of an Italian summer, lemon comes to mind. And they are beautifully used in the dessert Capri In A Cake ($12).
The Amalfi lemon cream is divine, and it is stuffed into a flourless almond cake and served with equally tasty extra virgin olive oil ice cream.
Memories of eating lemon gelato during my trips to Italy came flooding back. I cannot wait for summer to make a return.