Fernando Arévalo’s latest dining concept – contemporary Italian restaurant Capasso on Telok Ayer Street – is a gastronomic hat tip to his Italian-Colombian heritage.
One certainly did not expect Fernando Arévalo to open an Italian restaurant. Chef Arévalo, local gastrophiles would know, is chef-owner of nouveau Latin American restaurant Bacata, where he champions modern elevated takes on the cuisine of his native Colombia (and progressive restaurant Preludio before that). But here he is helming Capasso, a modern Italian restaurant newly opened along Telok Ayer Street right in the heart of Singapore’s bustling financial district.
Capasso is dark, almost forbiddingly so. Its decor is a curious blend of mysterious Art Deco and luxury contemporary chic, with accents of glass, marble, brass and velvet intersecting with purpose. The space itself is split into two sections, separated by flowing blue velvet drapes. On one side – where you enter – is the lounge, centred by an impressive bar. Through those blue curtains is the main dining room, flanked on one end by an open kitchen where the action is.
Capasso is named for Chef Arévalo’s own Italian grandfather, and its cuisine is inspired by fond memories of his time with his pops. And accented with his signature contemporary flourish, of course. Chef Arévalo spent a number of years heading Artemis Grill too, so he definitely knows a thing or three about Italian cuisine.
You may not recognise some of the dishes at Capasso. But the flavours are unequivocally Italian. The Anchovies de Nono is a surprising but luscious combination of figs and anchovies, their contrasting flavours elevated with a touch of champagne vinegar and vanilla. The Polpettone is a baseball-sized meatball stuffed with mozzarella cheese, seated on a tomato basil sauce that simply begs for fare la scarpetta with the delectable Pane Della Casa house bread. The bread, we insist, is a must-order, a useful delivery vehicle for the sauces that are to come later.
The Zucca Salvia is interesting, which comes as tortellinis stuffed butternut squash, honey and parmesan. The sweetness from squash and honey – along with a dusting of hazelnut – gives this dish Christmas dessert vibes, which can feel odd mid-meal. For pasta lovers the Pomodoro E Funghi and Coniglio Del Nonno are better bets, the former a simple but delicious tangle of drool-worthy tagliatelle with tomatoes and mushroom, while the latter features pappardelle smothered in a ragu of rabbit.
As for mains, you can’t go wrong with the Costata di Manzo. Grilled to perfection in a Josper, this chunk of Australian Angus comes beautifully juicy with a good hit of smokiness. Wash this down with a right proper Chianti Classico or a Montepulciano d’Abruzzo.
And if dessert isn’t your thing, you can always adjourn to the lounge for some digestifs to end the night on a proper note. There are some pretty decent cocktails here; the eponymous Capasso Sour is a whiskey sour spiked with Aperol, for example, while Nobligepresso is a cognac-laced espresso martini with a touch of butterscotch.
We’re sure Arévalo granddad’s pretty proud of his little Fernando.
Address 92 Telok Ayer St, Singapore 048472 (Google Maps link)
Opening Hours 12pm to 3pm and 6pm to 1am Tuesdays to Saturdays; closed on Sundays and Mondays
Tel (65) 8819 3306