Spelt without an ‘i’ but pronounced with (perhaps to fit in with the four-letter sequence of its sister restaurant and, you know, edginess), the restaurant does a niche of Japanese tradition-meets-Peruvian ingredients. It takes this Nikkei cuisine a step further by having its sharing plates delivered straight from white binchotan, also known as sumiyaki.
The menu follows the golden rule for South American food —have decent ceviche. We only wished the tortillas, carrying a subtle yuzu hint and deliciously served with avocado, roasted hazelnuts and white corn, added a bit more crunch to the pairing texture. Others are perfected by the modest touch of spice like the foie gras taco with rocoto yoghurt dressing, and the aji verde on the tender miso-infused cod.
Naturally, tipples are sake-forward. Across the board, the current five are definitely for those who walk on the sweet side. You have Mizuame, nicknamed Hi-Chew, with a flavour profile that effectively echoes the Japanese candy with a blend of Kyoho grape sake and Cointreau. It also comes served with fancy dry ice to remind diners of Mount Fuji and the fact that they probably haven’t travelled in a year.
You get a peek of the grill in the semi-open kitchen that sits adjacent to a relatively pared-down bar. The simple furnishings are ideal in the lofty space, allowing the 56th-floor city vista to take its rightful place centre stage.
Things get a little more intimate in the adjoining all-Argentinian restaurant. Led up a dark flight of stairs that anchors the dining space, you get a cosier ceiling height but the same window panorama.
In honour of the Asado, the country’s social ritual—like the American barbecue, only more sacred—the restaurant spares no expense living up to its name. In a variety of wood-fired techniques using oak, apple and almond wood, the communal-style dishes are prepared in its own open-fire pit and wood hearth parrilla.
Here, seafood outshines the meats. The mud crab ‘Rescoldo’ is served with Hokkaido scallops and the interesting choice of clementines and fennel pollen, which works. So does the parrilla- grilled Patagonian red prawns with its Northern Criollita sauce. Still, the succulent Salt-baked whole rainbow trout steals the show by giving one, as it’s carved tableside for viewing pleasure.
The vegetable platter certainly deserves a mention as well. Enriched by the touch of direct fire, pretentious as that sounds, Plato de Verduras that includes potatoes, corn, asparagus and smoked salt peppers would easily make its way around the table.
Fire stands apart in its dedication to authenticity with a culinary development team comprising Argentinian chefs Soledad Nardelli and Patricia Ramos. Family recipes—including the faultless Flan ‘Adriana’, an ode to the wife of the Argentine ambassador —are used.
His Excellency Federico Barttfeld also contributed to the exclusive Negroni-based signature cocktail. Though an aperitif, its deliciously bitter taste matches perfectly with the sufficiently sweet dessert, and makes for a satisfying way to end the night.
1-Atico is located at ION Orchard, Level 56, Singapore 238801.