Last Updated: February 20, 2021
The novelty of sky dining can get tiresome, banking on jaw-dropping skylines and arrowed as a cliché venue for proposals—some may say. But Level 55 of ION Orchard has never felt weary on my eyes, regardless of the purpose of my visit. Today it’s home to 1-Atico, 1-Group‘s infant addition to its family. It splits itself into three concepts, FLNT, FIRE, and Atico Lounge (opening soon), with an impressive walk-up to Level 56 constructed into the towering space to demarcate the two dining areas.
FLNT is splashed in sexy black-and-gold trimmings, creating a modern contrast between dark and light. The space isn’t made to feel any less vast, in spite of the noir theme; in fact, it lends the area a welcome facelift to match the modern Peruvian-Japanese fare that FLNT offers.
FIRE, on the other hand, feels cosier and intimate—a dining hall that’s smouldering with dark brown accents. The views here are still stellar, nonetheless, but the heavier tones surely mirror the burly Argentinian wood-fired menu.
While each section heralds its own menu, I was placed in an opportune position to have a go at both in one evening. While it might seem daunting to the average appetite, I’m here to mete advice from both sides of 1-Atico so you may be free to decide which gets your vote.
Like any decent ceviche, what I look for is brightness and a touch of zest. The Ceviche Nikkei ($25) hit the nail on the head, especially since this dinner came deservedly after a long workday. From the punchy assistance of lime and yuzu to the smooth interruption of fish with leche de tigre (tiger’s milk), an introduction to the meal similar to this would be welcomed and embraced.
Delicate flavours follow through, much like 1-Atico’s fittings—light, yet alluring. The Inka Sushi (S$14) was but a very shrunk-down donburi (in its essence) but still left an impression with a jumble of flame-seared fish, ikura, and ice lettuce.
Naturally, for an establishment like this, size is negligible and taste is a lording factor that’s highly prized and requires pondering. Naturally, if portions are a concern for you, FIRE might do better in pleasing your expectations.
However, if FLNT still draws you in with its dainty beauty, may I suggest you forget all else and strut briskly to the Gindara Misoyaki (S$28). Perched solo—as it should—on a plate, grilled miso cod bares itself for the taking, flake by flake. Showered only in aji verde (Peruvian green sauce), this fish course is one to outwit many others you’ve enjoyed before. I was enamoured by its simplicity, not fully understanding how a humble recipe could arrest my senses till the last bite.
Bread fanatics, FIRE has one dish you can’t pass up—the Wood-fired Sourdough Brushed With Wagyu Fat, Served With Yerba Mate Smoked Sea Urchin Butter (S$10). For a name this long and a price that handsome, it’s wise to note that the Wagyu fat was barely noticeable. However, slather on the sea urchin butter and we’ve changed the game. Briny, salty, and of course, buttery, it’s a spread you’ll be wishing 1-Atico sold in jars.
Not to mention, that impeccable char. Gorgeous.
While wood-fired food naturally arouse the association of red meat, the Patagonian Red Prawns ‘Parrilla’ (S$28) might seem like a frail choice to blast over soaring heat. The prawn leads the way to ocean sweetness, while the Northern criollita sauce puts a pep in its step.
Seen here is a single prawn, but bury that frown because the regular portion will most certainly involve more. Although I found comfort in this seafood main, I couldn’t help but compare FLNT’s treatment of ocean fare; an unfair likeness, but one I couldn’t shake off the entire evening.
Once again, I’m met with a friend from the sea in the form of Salt-Baked Whole Rainbow Trout (S$52 for 400g, S$70 for 600g). Typically served as a whole fish at the table, ours was conveniently de-boned in the kitchen and plated for humble portioning. Being a naturally emollient fish, it was the first texture I noticed, even before the suppleness of its flesh. Fennel seeds, parsley, lemon zest, and salmoriglio (an ancient, Italian marinade and dressing) make for a straightforward outfit, so the fish is allowed breathing room to bask in its naked glory.
There’s little to fault with such a dependable produce, but to proclaim it revolutionary would be quite a big ask.
I find it funny how, sometimes, the littlest detail can be the element to push you into the ‘favourite’ camp. Miniature Alfajores & Dulce de Leche Cookies (S$3 each) mimick the full-sized dessert, but in palatable bite-sized munchables. What’s there to say, but that these proved to be reminiscent of old school jam-filled butter cookies—only this time, they were packed with velvety caramel (well, its adjacent, to be exact).
I wholesomely wanted to be divided between FLNT and FIRE, but FLNT gripped my attention from the start and nothing could countervail that. Even though I completely expected myself to be imprisoned by the heavy flavours at FIRE, surprisingly the seafood stole the limelight.
That’s not to say FIRE’s meat doesn’t hold merit; go forth and venture into 1-Atico to prove me wrong. Meanwhile, the dream of when my lips can rest on the Gindara Misoyaki again remain.
Expected Damage: S$60 – S$75 per pax
Price: $ $ $
Our Rating: 4 / 5
2 Orchard Turn, ION Orchard, #55-01, Singapore 238801
2 Orchard Turn, ION Orchard, #55-01, Singapore 238801