Last Updated: March 2, 2019
When one dines out, the place would typically serve a menu with some sort of theme, usually by cuisine. Here at Preludio, that’s thrown out the window as author’s cuisine takes centre stage. With author’s cuisine, the chef gets free rein in the kitchen, so be prepared for anything.
Located on the third floor of Frasers Tower, everything about this place is deliberately and carefully planned out.
The decor follows its current chapter, Monochrome. Bedecked in monochromatic furniture, artworks and paintings, tones of black and white dominate the space. Every chapter runs for about 18 months, after which the menu and curated decor will change.
Centring the dishes around a theme allows Chef Fernando Arévalo to get creative with the dishes. They aren’t confined by culture, race or geographical region.
Unlike most fine dining establishments, they’ve done away with stiff white tablecloths. The round tables encourage conversations, and make diners feel like they are being served in someone’s home.
For our dinner, we had the pleasure of trying the 8-Course setting (S$218++, additional S$158++ for wine pairing).
The first course was Elude, which had white beetroot, burrata, walnut crumble, dill-marinated cucumber, yoghurt foam and Primeur Sturia caviar. I assumed that it was named for its discrete presentation.
Within the yoghurt foam was a tiny portion of hidden walnut crumble and cucumber. Eating it with the caviar made it very refreshing. Besides a very palatable texture, I loved how sweet and sour the bright flavours were, despite using ingredients with gentle flavours typically.
You definitely aren’t seeing double with the next course, Allude. Although visually it may look exactly the same as the previous course, it’s anything but similar.
It’s made with fermented mushrooms, bone marrow, thyme croutons, preserved Amalfi lemon, mushroom potato mousse and Oscetria Sutria caviar.
Instantly, I detected a stark contrast in texture to the previous dish. This was starchier and denser, all thanks to the mushroom potato mousse. It was like an incredibly smooth, whipped potato.
For this dish, the flavours were rather intense and almost smokey — something that I was an immediate fan of.
Our third course uses smoked eel, lampascioni bulb, girolle mushrooms, heliantis, crosnes, salty fingers and viola flowers. The more unique ingredients in each dish are given the (literal) spotlight and work as a great conversation starter.
Adorably named Peek A Boo, the interactive third course from Preludio features a jasmine white rice cracker on top Diners can playfully crack it open to reveal the root vegetables, smoked eel and egg yolk emulsion (made with mustard and yuzu).
Eating this Insta-worthy dish was like enjoying the best of the forest, with its earthy notes and creamy consistencies. The textural contrast of the rice cracker brought the dish together, and my favourite element was the egg yolk emulsion with a sharp, peppery zing.
We reached the halfway mark by this point, but little did I know that I would get to enjoy one of the best pasta dishes I’ve ever tasted. The La Cortina is agnolotti (pasta squares with filling) with butternut squash and amaretto filling. It’s then topped with a parmesan sauce, almond snow and 25-year-old balsamic vinegar.
This prized balsamic vinegar tasted incredibly savoury and complex, with hints of sweet and bitter flavour that made this the perfect dressing for a dense pasta dish.
The pasta skin was thicker than I’d anticipated, but provided a nice chewy texture for the modestly-sized portion. The almond snow was a soft crumble that complemented the deep flavours of the balsamic vinegar. I only wish I could double the portion of this dish!
The White Opal is another crowd favourite. This is probably due to its delicate texture and flavours, and how the sweetness of the Patagonian toothfish came through beautifully. It came with a cauliflower puree, crunchy shallots, leek and almond milk bubbles, pickled fresh almonds and black olive powder.
This refined dish worked amazingly with the smokey black olive powder and I polished off in less than five minutes, though I was already five courses in.
When this ingredient was placed in the centre of our table, we were given numerous clues to guess what it was. We threw out guesses like tomatoes or a type of pepper, and it turns out that it’s actually Piennolo tomatoes from Naples.
The real main arrived in the form of Pata Negra, an Iberico pork dish accompanied by white apple and carrot puree, charred Piennolo tomato, black basil, pork jus and squid ink crumb.
I dislike tomatoes very much, especially when they’re meant to be consumed raw. But I gave the Piennolo’s a shot, and I was blown away by how amazingly sweet they were!
I feel like I can no longer enjoy any other tomato varieties done any other way (it’s charred in a josper oven and dipped into a tomato relish to emphasise its flavour). The pork itself was satisfyingly tender, and the marinade gave off a caramel-like layer that was truly gratifying.
We finally arrived at desserts, and the first one was Irezumi. This dish had salted black sesame ice cream on a bed of sesame snow, yuzu white chocolate ganache, strawberries with lime zest and baby basil. The dessert leaned more towards savoury and smokey, although the strawberries lent a refreshing zing of acidity and brightness.
Between the two desserts we enjoyed, I preferred this second one. The Gorbea Mountain was plated with blueberry mousse, yoghurt sponge, yoghurt ice cream, Idiazábal cheese, blueberries, blackberries, milk foam. This dessert was inspired by Pastry Chef Elena’s home city of Vitoria in the Basque country.
This combination of flavours was sweet and sour with a slight edge of saltiness. I loved the yoghurt sponge for its pronounced airiness and the sour tang from the mixed berries.
A great end to the meal, as well as an ideal palate cleanser.
I had no idea what to expect from this dinner at Preludio, given that all I knew was it would be a monochrome-themed meal. Despite the lack of colour, I was really impressed by the substantial flavours and elements that still managed to blow me away.
If you’re looking for an alternative fine dining option, Preludio is the next ideal spot that you should check out.
Expected Damage: S$80 – S$400 per pax
Price: $ $ $
Our Rating: 5 / 5
182 Cecil Street, Frasers Tower, #03-01/02, Singapore 069547
182 Cecil Street, Frasers Tower, #03-01/02, Singapore 069547