Dressed in the cheery colours of summer, the dishes at Art befit the restaurant’s swanky new location at National Gallery. The Italian fine dining establishment returns after six months and looks to have settled comfortably in its new home with chef Beppe De Vito jumping right in.
The man himself brings each course to the table. As expected, there are items from his family farm added to the mix of locally-sourced and artisanal Italian produce. Each dish, no matter how small, has such rich provenance that its introduction reads like a short story.
The teaspoon-sized amuse bouche of sunchoke (also known as Jerusalem artichoke) skin, for example, is filled with burrata made in Singapore with milk from the Dolomites mountain range in northeastern Italy, then topped with pistachios from Sicily. To get the taste and consistency of burrata he wanted, De Vito worked with the Italian cheesemaker in Puglia for months.
When it comes to using great ingredients, the trick is finding ways to accentuate what’s already there. A lot of Art’s offerings are cleverly constructed flavour bombs with minimal embellishments. Shavings of a nutty 36-month-old Parmigiano Reggiano on a bed of burnt cream on flimsy rice tuile is an explosion of creaminess and umami.
The same goes for the Spaghetti ‘Monograno Felicetti’, pasta from Puglia made from organic single grain flour and Dolomites water, served with a whole scampi and seemingly innocuous red sauce. Made with a reduction of the crustacean’s head cooked at a low temperature, the sauce has an intense natural sweetness.
Adding the element of bitterness can also be complimentary. The main of Challens duck from House Burgaud comes with a Chinotto molasses jus. The citrus fruit from the myrtle-leaved orange tree commonly found in Italy is too bitter and sour to be consumed on its own. It’s usually used in spreads or liqueur. Here, the fruit is cooked for 48 hours then molasses is added for a caramel, citrus and slightly bitter reduction for what essentially is a digestif on a plate.
There’s plenty to choose from the lunch and dinner a la carte menu. Instead, we recommend getting the tasting menus of three- ($78), four- ($108) or five courses ($138) for a more fulfilling culinary trip to De Vito’s country.
1 St Andrew’s Road, #05-03 National Gallery, Singapore 178957. Tel: +65 6866 1977. Opening hours: 12pm to 2pm and 6.30pm to 10pm from Mondays to Sundays. Make reservations at firstname.lastname@example.org