Tuesday, 20 March 2012
Da Gaetano, Hamrun, Malta
Continuing on from my last post where I dined at the truly scrumptious Cafe Tivoli, I was enraptured in the underestimated foodie paradise that is the village of Hamrun. As much as I love a steaming bowl of pasta, my body was crying out for some chunky fresh veg with a Maltese twist. Where better to find it than Hamrun's Da Gaetano?
Despite the Italianate name, Gaetano's is Maltese through and through. Keeping with the 1960s appearance of the area, the cafe has similar decor to Cafe Tivoli- these aren't retro designed, these are original! Sheltering from yet another brewing storm outside, I ordered a gallon of potent coffee (Euro 1.50) and intended on just stopping briefly, but the fabulous display of food in the cabinet at the front enticed me to stay longer. The talented chef came out and chatted to us, explaining what the dishes were and told us about his passion for his career. He had previously worked for major hotels and on cruise ships all over the world, but now he has settled back home again, whipping up Maltese and international treats for the villagers of Hamrun. He also runs a catering service- if you happen to stop in the cafe, ask to see his fabulous photo albums. His photo albums are a foodie's dream, a treat for the eyes which make your tastebuds water. The albums depict the buffets, fruit carvings and cakes he has created over the years, a testament to his passion.
Back to the food in question. I had a delicious Marrow stir fry, seen above. The Maltese are crazy about marrows and you can't avoid this green succulent treat on the island. The marrows were sautéed in a spicy sauce heightened with cracked pepper and juniper berries with a fragrant olive oil base. The Carnivore chowed down on a chicken curry, one of the dishes this wonderful chef learned on his trips around the world. Both meals cost 5 euro, well worth it when they are prepared by such an enthusiastic chef. In addition, there are Escargots on offer for the brave, rigatoni bakes, Maltese rabbit pie and a selection of naughty cakes. As there is no menu here, you can even place an order of something you would like to eat the following day, come back and have a bespoke meal. I ordered a Stuffed Aubergine, but sadly the bad weather meant the cafe was closed on the day I planned to return. What a shame.
If anyone knows the chef from Da Gaetano, please pass on my regards and show him this review!