Il Cielo, Hilton Singapore’s cosy fine dining Italian restaurant just got a breath of fresh air with the arrival of new chef Yohhei Sasaki.
While the restaurant continues to serve fine Italian cuisine, the personable chef Sasaki injects distinct Japanese influences in the form of delicate aesthetics, innovative flavour pairings and seasonal Japanese ingredients. The Tokyo native had spent most of his culinary career in Italian restaurants in Japan and Italy. Now, his cosmopolitan style and creative flair brings a refreshing change to the experience.
His six-course autumn menu ($138, until 30 November) encapsulates his style nicely. The meal starts boldly with a foie gras macaron, hearty in weight and nicely flavoured. The appetiser is a stunning encapsulation of autumn—a mound of eggplant bagna cauda, tender tangy marinated sanma fish with smoked burrata, caviar and miyoga leaf, presented under an upturned martini glass, first enshrouded in a mist of sakura chip smoke before the reveal as the glass is whisked away. Visual, olfactory senses are all delightfully assailed before one tucks into the riot of flavours.
The momentum continues with a tasty tagliolini of juicy sweet snow crab and a light ragout of three mushrooms. The main course of roasted maple duck breast was beautifully presented, perfectly tender and accompanied by a fragrant, decadentl rich espresso sauce. The chocolate foie gras tortellini on the side was rather thick at some parts though the oozing foie gras filling was lovely. The other option for mains was a scallop with tomino cheese and white polenta—served like a little hamburger, it was heavier, possibly a tad overcooked.
Dessert was a highlight: a most enjoyable, whimsical pumpkin pudding, draped with a sheet of soy milk jelly. Just sweet enough, surprisingly light in texture, it was worth setting aside stomach space for. The truffle oil and shavings of black truffle, while nice, was not necessary.
Set lunches start from $25 for two courses and degustation menus start at $88 for five courses. A wine pairing option of two wines and a prosecco costs only an additional $30.
Level 24 Hilton Singapore, 581 Orchard Road. Tel: 6730 3395
This was first published in Wine & Dine’s November 2017 issue – Happy Hour, ‘Restaurants’