Is this the Best Set Lunch?

Of all the food related experiences I’ve had in Singapore over the past few years one of the best tips I can share is that set lunches in this town offer pretty much unsurpassed value for money. Unlike one off dining events like Restaurant Week the set lunches that are offered, at many if not most restaurants, are the bread and butter of a restaurant. They lure the punters in, the idea being that you’ll spend up on wine or be tempted by the a la carte with the end result being that you spend more than the initially quoted price. Which is entirely fair enough. In fact I almost feel guilty when I keep to the standard set lunch menu and walk out feeling satisfied and still with change of a $50 in my pocket.

That is exactly what happened recently when I tried the set lunch at Gattopardo. I’ve been to Gattopardo before and very much enjoyed the experience. On that occasion though my friend and I were celebrating our birthdays and my truffle obsessed friend was tempted by the truffle that was available on the day from the a la carte menu. We ended up spending $145 per head for two courses each, a glass of wine each and one dessert between two, although that amount did include a bomb for the truffle related items. The food was fabulous, as was the service, but you would get poor pretty quickly spending that kind of money on a regular basis.

On my recent visit though, although my friends initially drooled over the a la carte, in the end we were all more than pleased with the choices for the set lunch of the day. One great thing about the Gattopardo set lunch is that they change the menu weekly, so it’s perfect for those wanting to make it a regular lunch spot. There are three choices each for appetisers and mains (with only one supplement on our visit) and a choice of either dessert or a cheese platter for the final course. That in itself is most unusual. Usually a cheese course will be available with a supplement, rarely as a standard set lunch menu item. We were also pleasantly surprised to receive an amuse bouche of saffron rice to tempt our palates for the next course. One other point to note about Gattopardo is that each dish was presented beautifully, this goes for either the a la carte or the set lunch.

The Wagyu beef carpaccio, served simply with rocket and parmigiano was a perfect starter. Very tender and soft Wagyu that fell apart with a deft prod of the fork. Other choices were a Caprese salad or a salad (I can’t recall exactly what and foolishly I took no photos of the menu). For mains I chose the Linguine vongole from a choice that included grilled barramundi or a steak dish (available with a supplement). Everyone was happy with their choice. The pasta was a perfect size, not too big or too small, full of flavour (although I do prefer my vongole with a little more chilli) and the clams were super sized and well cooked in a flavoursome broth.

We all chose the cheese course to finish, the trolley arrived with a choice of five Italian cheeses; gorgonzola, aged pecorino, fontina, saffron pecorino and a softer pecorino. Each serving was individually cut from the board and served with honey and a fig jam.

The serving sizes were all good, possibly not enough to fill someone with a large appetite (like Husband for instance) but perfect for the average eater. Another distinguishing feature of Gattopardo is the shophouse location with options of eating outside on the terrace, downstairs on one of two intimate tables, upstairs in the main dining area or in the smaller dining area.

All the rooms are well lit with comfortable furniture and a refined but not too stuffy atmosphere. It’s a much nicer space than the previous location at Fort Canning Hotel.

For those who like to entertain clients for lunch I would absolutely recommend this venue, it’s comparable to Luke’s, Absinthe and OCF in terms of quality and service. And at $36++ per head for three courses it’s excellent value. If it’s not the best set lunch it certainly counts in my top 5.
34 Tras Street, Singapore, 079026
phone +65 6338 5498

You can read Part 1 and Part 2 in my Set Lunch series by clicking the links. Have you found any good set lunch deals around town? 

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