Preludio: An Introduction to the Stories of Fresh Produce
Some say that food memories are the most powerful of memories, evoking nostalgia and bringing you back to a specific moment in history with all the emotions accompanying that moment. At Preludio, the personal stories of food growers and producers are the inspiration behind the food by Colombia-born Chef Fernando Arévalo, paying homage to the people who work the soil.
Preludio is the new kid on the block in the local fine dining scene. Located at the third floor of Frasers Tower’s three-storey podium, the restaurant opens to a relaxing outdoor space, a rare find in the heart of the CBD. Inside, the restaurant’s warm glow invites you to a culinary adventure for your senses (and it is more than just for your taste buds).
“preludio”, from the word “prelude” i.e. “introduction”, alludes to the constant beginning of something new. Therefore, every 12 to 18 months, Preludio will release a new chapter and the guest experience will change according to the prevailing chapter. This journey into the territory known as “Author’s Cuisine” allows Chef Arévalo and his team to experiment with flavours, colours, textures and styles, free from ties to any individual genre of cuisine. It also allows the team to bring you dishes starring seasonal produce at their finest.
For its debut, Preludio opened with the chapter “Monochrome”. From the uniform of the wait staff, to the plates on which the food are served, and the very food that is plated and served to you, the theme is faithfully adhered to. Even the wine list follows through with the “Monchrome” theme, by categorising the wine into those grown on black soil (e.g. volcanic ash) and those grown on white soil (e.g. limestone).
On to the food. We started with “Elude”, which stars white beetroot that is grown in white soil and specially sourced from a market close to Pars. The white beetroot is accompanied by burrata (also personally sourced by Chef Arévalo, from Puglia, Italy), walnut crumble, dill-marinated cucumber, yoghurt form and Primeur Sturia caviar. This was one of my favourite dishes of the night, simply for the surprise that comes when you discover how complementary yoghurt foam and caviar could be. The amalgamation of the sweet and sour yoghurt foam and the salty caviar paints a flavour party with each mouthful.
“Elude” was followed by “Allude”. For that brief moment when “Allude” was served, I wondered if perhaps the wait staff might have forgotten that we finished “Elude” and mistakenly served the same dish again. This deja vu was because “Elude” and “Allude” looked almost identical. But their flavours cannot be more different. From the refreshing flavours in “Elude”, we are now introduced to the earthy goodness of fermented mushroom, bone marrow and thyme croutons, covered by a layer of mushroom potato mousse and Osceitra Sturia caviar.
The “La Cortina” was another highlight of the meal and starred a 25-year-old balsamic vinegar from Modena, Italy. The course started with an invitation to experience the balsamic vinegar through a smelling chamber, created by the fourth generation producer of the balsamic vinegar to allow diners a chance to experience her attic filled with casks of balsamic vinegar. The balsamic vinegar is then drizzled over a dish of agnolotti filled with butternut squash and amaretto, sitting on a parmesan sauce and covered by almond snow. Have a mouthful of the agnolotti, parmesan sauce and almond snow and you are immediately transported to the homely kitchen of an Italian nonna. Indeed, Chef Arévalo had created this dish to recreate his experience in the Italian home of the balsamic vinegar producer.
The “Pata Negra” was a dish favoured by my dining companion. The dish stars Iberico pork from family-run Torreon in Salamanca, Spain. Adhering to the “Monochrome” theme, the Iberico pork is covered in squid ink panko bread crumbs before pan frying. The Iberico pork is accompanied by Piennolo or grape tomatoes, which are grown on the volcanic soil of Mount Vesuvius in Naples, Italy. The tomatoes are air dried and smoked and subsequently charred under high heat before dipping in a tomato relish made from a reduction of tomato water vinegar and mustard seeds. The result is a tomato which bursts in the mouth to release the umami goodness of the juice within.
Indeed, the meal at Preludio was a gastronomic delight accompanied by wine pairings which seek to bring out the best flavours of the dishes. Each dish brought to mind familiar flavour profiles, hidden beneath creative and unexpected exteriors. The well-spaced interior of the restaurant also makes Preludio an ideal choice for business lunches (4 course / $55; 7 course / $98) and extravagant date nights (6 course / $168; 8 course / $218). Afterwards, you may even catch a glance of Chef Arévalo in the lounge, decompressing from a day in the kitchen with a glass of wine.
182 Cecil Street
Frasers Tower #03-01/02
Lunch:11:30am to 2:30pm,
Dinner: from 6:00pm.
Dinner: from 6:00pm.
4 courses $55++ (choice of mains)
7 courses $98++ (chef’s selection)
6 courses $168++ (additional $132++ for wine pairing)
8 courses $218++ (additional $158++ for wine pairing)
*Photos courtesy of Preludio and author’s own.