The ilLido Group’s new GEMMA Steakhouse is an impeccable, upscale social dining venue with fantastic Tuscan-inspired steaks and other modern Italian favourites.
The Bistecca alla Fiorentina, that classic Tuscan take on the T-bone, is notoriously difficult to get right. That T-shaped bone – flanked by tender fillet on one side, and flavourful sirloin on the other – makes for troublesome cooking even for trained professionals. We’ve all been there – far too many times, the meat at the crook of the T turns out bloody, even the best renditions from the most highly-lauded steakhouses across town.
We’re glad to announce that we’ve found what we think is Singapore’s best Bistecca alla Fiorentina – the T-Bone Fiorentina Steak at GEMMA Steakhouse.
But before that. GEMMA Steakhouse is the latest gastronomic concept by award-winning chef-restaurateur Beppe De Vito of The ilLido Group, which is behind dining establishments such as Braci, Amò and Art. In fact GEMMA takes up the place in National Gallery where Art used to be; the latter itself moved upstairs, replacing the now-shuttered event space Aura.
GEMMA is positioned as a contemporary Italian steakhouse, and is impeccably and tastefully decked out as one. And despite being a rather open and convivial space, there are enough blind spots and secret corners for that cosy, romantic meal; so yes, one can fully expect to find the nouveau riche here with their supermodel girlfriends or secret mistresses in tow.
They may even appreciate how flawless the Florentine bistecca is at GEMMA.
You’re looking at a hunk of 200 days grain-fed Australian wagyu dry-aged locally aged for 30 days – you pay by weight – to concentrate its flavours, and flame grilled in a Josper oven to attain the perfect Maillard crust. But slice it open and you’ll find a most even pink doneness throughout. Sure, while it’s not a cut from the prized Italian Chianina breed, this still oozes plenty of beefy flavour with each tender bite.
Aside from the massive Fiorentina, other large-format cuts such as the Bone-in Ribeye Costata provide plenty of robust eating. There are specialty meats too – you’re looking at Japanese A5 Miyazaki Wagyu Beef Sirloin, 20-day aged Foyle Striploin from Ireland, and Te Mana Lamb Rack, using what is better known as the “wagyu of lambs” from New Zealand.
But GEMMA goes beyond the regular steakhouse trope. It offers a decent spread of modern Italian and Mediterranean-inspired options that provides for variety and daintier eating. We’re big fans of the Krystale Oysters, the creamy salinity of the Normandy bivalves enhanced by the tangy sweetness of the aged sherry vinegar. The Tea Smoked Ora King Salmon and the Challans Duck Prosciutto too are highly recommended as starters.
And befitting of The ilLido Group’s Italian roots, the pastas at GEMMA are fabulously on point. They may not be classic in any sense, but are perfectly executed. The decadent Cappellita Pasta, for example, sees the stuffed pasta dressed in an uni emulsion, and comes complete with Maine lobster. You can ask for a risotto version of this dish, too. The Spaghetti ‘Monograno Felicetti’ Cacio & Pepe comes closer to the original, coated in a rich, clingy sauce that tempts you to slurp up all its cheesy, peppery goodness.
There’s an extensive wine list here that is likely to impress even the pickiest of oenophiles, especially if they are into French and Italian wines. We can wax lyrical about the Barolos and Brunellos and the Super Tuscans on offer, but we really rather point out that GEMMA has an excellent aperitivo trolley that we highly recommend you avail yourself to. The GEMMA Negroni is a great way to start off – or end – your evening with, while the Gemma Martini masks its punchiness well with some citrus sweetness.
Good steakhouses are a dime a dozen in Singapore. But GEMMA sets itself apart from the competition with great aperitivo drinks, a luscious spread of Italian favourites tweaked for modern sensibilities, and, honestly, that stellar Fiorentina steak.
Address 1 St Andrews Road, 05-03 National Gallery Singapore, Singapore 178957 (Google Maps link)
Opening Hours 12pm-2.30pm and 6.30-10.30pm Tuesdays to Sundays; closed on Mondays
Tel (65) 8787 0977