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Features 1 minute 30 November 2020

MICHELIN Guide Malta 2020 : Under Grain, Valletta

What’s so special about this basement restaurant; one of only three awarded a Michelin Star in the first Malta guide ?

Malta Michelin Guide restaurant

The first ever MICHELIN Guide Malta was published in February 2020 and features restaurants across the Mediterranean islands of Malta and Gozo, reflecting the diversity of the islands’ cuisine, the talents of their chefs and the quality of the ingredients available.

Of the 26 restaurants chosen for inclusion in the guide, 3 restaurants – De Mondion, Noni and Under Grain – were awarded One Michelin Star. Michelin Stars are awarded to restaurants using top quality ingredients in dishes which feature distinct flavours, and which have been carefully prepared to a consistently high standard.

We take a closer look at Under Grain, a delightful cellar restaurant in Malta’s capital, Valletta.

The Rosselli Hotel is a beautifully restored 17th century palazzo – the former home of one of the Knights of Malta – situated on Merchants Street, in the heart of the capital. On street level, you will find the hotel’s informal, all-day restaurant, "Street", but slip through the secret sliding door and descend the stairs and you arrive in "Under" : a dark, stylish basement restaurant with a vaulted ceiling, plush seating and striking black marble-topped tables.

"Under" is inspired by the tailoring profession and evidence of this theme is all around. At the beginning of your meal, you are presented with a sewing pattern menu and use tailor’s chalk to mark your chosen dishes – and once you’ve finished eating, your bill arrives on a pin cushion. Glance up and you’ll see stylishly kitted out mannequins, clothing displays, rolls of fabric and sewing machines around the room.

But what does the tailoring profession have to do with good food ? Like a tailor, head chef Victor Borg takes pride in his work and is skilful with his hands, using his natural talent to produce a beautiful end product. A tailor uses the best possible materials and, at Under Grain, top quality ingredients are all-important ; these are expertly cooked to create unfussy, modern Mediterranean dishes, which show restraint, balance and understanding, whilst bursting with gloriously harmonious flavours.

Dishes listed on the seasonal menu might include tartare of sea bass with oyster Chantilly, pickled white radish and dill oil ; marinated zucchini, stracciatella, green olive and sea urchins ; BBQ rump of milk-fed veal with pickled clams, bagna cauda and vin jaune or roasted dentex cooked in bonito butter, fricassee of cuttlefish & chanterelles ; while delicious desserts could include warm chocolate mousse, ginger ice cream and honeycomb or yoghurt bavarois, juniper berry meringue, warm pistachio and extra virgin olive oil cake.

Attention to detail is an important concept when it comes to tailoring and equally so in the running of a high end restaurant. From the delicious food to the well-priced wine list, everything you need at Under Grain is taken care of by the confident and attentive staff. The restaurant runs like clockwork and all that’s left for the guests to do is relax and enjoy themselves.

Click here to see all restaurants listed in the MICHELIN Guide Malta

Pictures : Under Grain Restaurant.

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