LUCE by Davide Giacomelli is Intercontinental Singapore’s new flagship restaurant, offering a fresh yet authentic perspective to Italian classics.
Ash & Elm is now LUCE by Davide Giacomelli.
Intercontinential Singapore’s modern Mediterranean restaurant has given way to the recently-opened flagship Italian eatery, the result of a global hunt by the hotel for the next gastronomic superstar. Chef Davide Giacomelli beat out a field of 120 other chefs from around the world – from a total of 200,000 hopefuls! – and winning the opportunity to helm his own namesake restaurant. With that blank canvas Giacomelli came up with LUCE, an Italian restaurant with a modern bistro-style flourish.
Note to guests of Intercontinential Singapore: that’s still where you head for your breakfast. But come lunchtime, the space transitions into a warm and inviting Italian bistro that’s cosy and enchanting in the evenings.
Giacomelli leans on his over 13 years of culinary experience – including at several Michelin-starred restaurants across Europe such as two-starred Le Meurice Alain Ducasse and one-starred Restaurant Le Diane in Paris – for his namesake Italian restaurant. It’s why Chef Davide’s take on Italian favourites, despite being native Italian himself, features influences from other parts of Europe.
Luce means light in Italian. At LUCE by Davide Giacomelli, Chef Davide aims to bring bright, fresh and seasonal flavours to the fore. And while the menu items don’t sound particularly inspiring, what you get punches above its weight class. Parma ham, buffalo mozzarella, tomato concasse, and salad leaves are in perfect proportions on the garlic-rubbed pagnotta for Bruschetta. The ubiquitous Artichoke and Bottarga Salad is more luxurious than it sounds, a verdant salad of artichokes and leaves dressed in salsa verde, and then smothered in shaved parmesan and bottarga.
And if the Parmigiana di Melanzane – essentially an eggplant gratin, or an Italian twist to Greek moussaka – sounds too rich, it really isn’t with a lovely fresh tomato sauce and basil helping cut through all that cheese.
Also highly recommended is the Octopus Peperonata. This is Sicilian-style grilled polpi, with Chef Davide revealing his French influence by serving up on a bed of ratatouille instead of the usual caponata. Then there’s Chef Davide’s signature Acquerello Lobster, a risotto of perfect Carnoroli rice so unctuous and flavourful from being cooked in lobster stock you may just forget about that half Boston lobster it comes with. Nah, of course you won’t.
Pasta lovers will enjoy Tagliatelle Coda di Manzo, the al-dente flat noodles coated with a delicious ragu rendered from shredded oxtail. For something lighter on the palate, there’s Tagliolini con Vongole e Broccoli, the broccoli being the extra fibre the doctor ordered.
You’ll be torn for mains. The Tagliata di Manzo of dry-aged sliced beef ribeye or Chicken and Asparagus with Intingolo will appeal to carnivores, but what impressed was the Merluzza alla Puttanesca. This is delicate panfried cod served in a Napoli-style puttanesca sauce, imbuing the fish with a melange of very vibrant Italian flavours from olives, anchovies, capers, and garlic.
Save space for dessert. The LUCE-misu is a must; it’s one of the better versions we’ve had in recent time thanks to a crunchy feuilletine that added texture. We’d recommend the Baba Ananas – a tropical creation of a sponge cake soaked in passionfruit and pineapple syrup – except that we think it needed a healthy splash of rum for a proper rum baba.
Like the food, the beverage programme at LUCE is very concise. There are a number of cocktails here, such as the very fruity LUCE Sling as well as the InterContinental Negroni, the hotel’s iconic tipple. The wine list, orchestrated by in-house sommelier and restaurant manager Artem Viglione, are centred mostly around the top winemaking regions in Italy.
Personally I like that LUCE by Davide Giacomelli represents a departure from the typical hotel restaurant. Unlike most other hotel restaurants that offer burgeoning cosmopolitan options in an attempt to cater to every palate and dietary preference, LUCE is singularly focused.
Its menu is very tightly curated; sparse almost.
And that’s a good thing.
LUCE by Davide Giacomelli
Address 80 Middle Rd, InterContinental Singapore, Singapore 188966 (Google Maps link)
Opening Hours 12pm to 2.30pm and 6pm to 10.30pm Wednesdays to Sundays (bar operates from 5:30pm for pre-dinner drinks)
Tel (65) 6825 1008