Looking for a new spot to get your Italian food fix? Make it LUCE by Davide Giacomelli. Opened just last month at InterContinental Singapore, the restaurant offers "traditional Italian cuisine at its purest" and, likely to every tippler's delight, a nice selection of thoughtfully-crafted cocktails.
Who is Davide Giacomelli?
The Chef de Cuisine of his namesake restaurant has cut his teeth at three-Michelin-starred Le Meurice Alain Ducasse, one-Michelin-starred Trattoria Vecchia Lugana, one-Michelin-starred La Speranzina Restaurant & Relais, among other notable restaurants across Europe.
In short, the 30-year-old is a product of first-rate training, and moved here in February after beating some 120 other chefs in the hotel’s global hunt for a culinary superstar. His vision? To introduce a 'bistronomic' (a combination of ‘bistro’ and ‘gastronomic’) concept in our local culinary scene.
Hearty Italian cuisine in a pared-down menu
If you dread getting bogged down by choice overload (hey, it's a real phenomenon), you'll applaud the lean food menu. Apart from only having three types of sharing plates, it also has only four starters to choose from, all of which are lip-smackingly good.
The recommended starter is the Bruschetta ($19), but as someone who loves cheese and tomato in equal measure, I found myself reaching for several servings of the Parmigiana di Melanzane ($19), a mille-feuille of fried aubergine baked with fresh tomato sauce, basil, mozzarella and parmesan au gratin.
If you'd rather a well-grilled octopus, there is the Octopus Peperonata ($36), which is cooked Sicilian-style and served with roasted ratatouille.
There are only two types of risottos and pastas to choose from (see, no need for decision fatigue.) The signature risotto is the Acquerello Lobster ($46), Carnaroli rice (an Italian medium-grained rice) cooked in lobster stock with half Boston lobster and chervil.
It is a straight-up winner, but if you're up for something pungent, try the Acquerello Gorgonzola ($38), Carnaroli rice cooked in vegetable stock and “mantecato” with gorgonzola. I wondered beforehand if it might be too much of a good thing but ended up scraping remnants off the plate at the intimate tasing.
The more notable of the two pastas is the Tagliatelle Coda di Manzo ($36), fresh homemade tagliatelle with deboned oxtail—the recipe was passed down to Davide by his grandmother and the dish is gratifying.
But if you prefer something protein-heavy, there are three mains to choose from, including the Merluzzo alla Puttanesca ($46), pan-fried Atlantic cod, and Tagliata di Manzo ($59), dry aged sliced boneless beef rib-eye.
Desserts and drinks
For something fruity, order the Baba Ananas ($18), which is Baba cake (a small yeast cake saturated in syrup made with hard liquor, usually rum) with passion fruit pineapple syrup, mango compote, lemongrass chantilly and served with coconut gelato.
And if can never refuse a well-done tiramisu, the LUCE-misu ($18) will leave you wanting more—this deconstructed version is not overly sugary and has a luscious blend of textures.
As for drinks, there is a wide selection of wines and more than 15 cocktails to choose from, so you'll be hard-pressed to not find something you like.
This includes The LUCE Sling ($24), which has Pigskin Gin (the first Italian barrel-aged gin), Benedictine D.O.M. and cherry brandy; and InterContinental Negroni ($28), which has barrel-aged gin, coffee and jasmine tea-infused vermouth, Campari and bitters.
The best part of it all? You can also sample Davide's offerings at wallet-friendly prices: A two-course lunch set is available at $34, and a three-course at $40. The menu changes on a weekly basis, which means you'll still be able to enjoy a variety of authentic Italian cuisine.
LUCE by Davide Giacomelli is located at InterContinental Singapore (80 Middle Rd, S188966) and open Wednesday to Sunday.