‘An Italian’s Tale’ at Art is an avante-garde tasting menu that puts a modern taste of Italy on full gastronomic display.
If the adage ‘you eat with your eyes’ is any way true, you’ll be very full even before you set fork to mouth at Art. The progressive Italian restaurant by the ilLido Group, located on the rooftop of National Gallery of Singapore, offers an elegant modernist dining experience that’s a literal feast for the eyes.
Perhaps it has to live up to its name. Or the fact it’s located on the premises of an institution dedicated to promoting art and culture in Singapore. But chances are it is Daniele Sperindio, ilLido Group’s Group Executive Chef, who’ve been granted free rein at Art by ilLido owner Beppe de Vito. If the name sounds familiar, you may know Daniele Sperindio from his time at Open Farm Community and (now-defunct) Open Door Policy, as well as ATLAS, where he was putting to plate some of the most innovative dishes we’ve seen in a while. This was followed by a stint in Hong Kong, before Sperindio was enticed back to Singapore by de Vito with the promise of running a restaurant that met his creative needs.
Sperindio has curated a collage of modernist Italian twists on classics for Art’s a la carte menu that’s an ample canvas for his wild genius. But it’s the tasting menu at Art that is Sperindio’s magnum opus. This is where he fully expresses his creative self. The first instalment, ‘An Italian’s Tale’, is a whimsical gastronomic journey across Italy carved from Chef Daniele’s favourite memories of home and hearth.
From start to finish, ‘An Italian’s Tale’ is an edible gallery of familiar Italian flavours presented in abstract forms. The gummy of Chianti as part of the initial amuse bouche, for example. Or the starting ‘Grigliata Estiva’ appetiser of Syracuse watermelon and tomatoes, displayed carpaccio-style like a reverse Vitello tonnato.
An absolute favourite is ‘Seaside’, a pasta dish that’s literally a taste of mare nostrum. This is snappy al-dente taglierini pasta with a sauce rendered from Liguria’s famed Santa Margherita red shrimp, topped with briny sea grapes. A lot less Italian is ‘From Paris with Love’, but still a stunning work of art combining uni custard, creamed foie gras, and royal Oscietra caviar.
Or ‘Christmas Dinner’, featuring stuffed culurgiones in a broth that has all the flavours of a festive Christmas meal.
The list goes on.
As we were sipping on our wine awaiting our dessert course, we overhear the next table. “I’m Italian. This meal should offend my Italian sensibilities. But everything I put in my mouth only makes me miss home.”
The best art, after all, is thought-provoking.
And maybe that’s why Art was recently granted the Diploma di Buona Cucina by the Accademia Italiana della Cucina-Delegation, which is tacit approval from the Italian gastronomic authority that Sperindio – despite his liberal culinary flourishes – stays enough with authenticity and tradition. Or that Art was awarded a Michelin star in the Michelin Guide Singapore 2021 edition, proof that critics love his work.
We can’t wait for Sperindio to unveil his next episodic tasting experience. We’re sure it’s going to be a sight to behold, and a pleasure to the palate.
‘An Italian’s Tale’ is presented as a seven-course tasting menu at $208++ per person for lunch and dinner, with an optional all-Italian wine pairing available at a further $148++ per person. An a la carte menu is also available. Reservations can be made via www.artrestaurant.sg.
Address 1 St Andrew’s Road, #06-02 National Gallery, 178957 (Google Maps link)
Opening Hours 512pm to 2pm and 6pm to 10pm on Tuesdays to Saturdays; closed on Sundays
Tel (65) 6866 1977