SINGAPORE — In my job as a food writer, I try my best not to be overtly impressed or in awe of restaurants from its outlook. Unfortunately, I found myself in the unfortunate situation of wonder and amazement as I stood in this lift, soaring 62 floors above Raffles Place, with the skyline of Singapore's CBD slowly coming into view and expanding into a wide vista of an ombre evening sky. I hate that my heart, in all its futility, is wrestling with feelings of wonderment because I know, hard as I try, that this will impair my judgement of the food I'm about to try. But, I understand that it means the restaurant has to try that much harder to move my needle of approval by a mere notch because 'how dare you influence my thoughts with a spectacular view of a setting sun.’
The restaurant in question is Stellar at 1-Altitude. Its clunky moniker is no way representative of its gilded mise en scène. It's a fairytale setting of soft lights, white linens, an impressive wall of spirits, and attentive servers who will neatly fold your napkin each time you leave your seat. Clearly, this is where you go to impress.
Every dish is a work of art and a deliberate effort at culinary finesse. And at the price you're paying, you should expect nothing less—no cutting corners, no overcompensation for subpar taste, and especially no SOMETHING. The food is Australian inspired, which means it's progressive, multicultural, dynamic, and innovative while maintaining the search for direct relationships with artisanal producers and farmers. It's just the Aussie way of doing things.
It starts with The Forest in The Ocean, so named to reflect the elements of vegetation (morsels of forest berries and morel) and the ocean (thick-sliced abalone) cradled in an abalone shell. There are lots of softness going on here. Still, the fruits' acidity and mushrooms' broth is a welcome burst of flavours that stops the entire presentation from being too placid. It's sour, it's sweet, and with the thoughtful addition of slices of rich foie gras, is just the right touch of luxe.
Elsewhere, a plate of Sea and Tea features a prominent cut of charred baby fennel with hints of orange that sits on a bowl of Japanese flying squid, which at first glance reminds one of popcorn kernels. The prized find beneath is a length of succulent octopus poached in camomile tea then charred. A Floating Daisy is a bowl of artichoke volute, chopped hazelnuts and saltbush—a silvery-green toothed-edge leaves widely found in the deserts of Australia. As a soup, it's much too rich, but it's nothing a quick sprinkle of salt can't rectify.
Mains come as a stunning plate of A Cow In The Garden utilising a handsome slab of an oyster blade of the Mayura wagyu beef. This oft disregarded cut is famously known by beef aficionados as being beautifully marbled, lusciously fatty, and incredibly tender. Here, it is encrusted in bone marrow crumbs and served on a puree of the sweetest Naruto sweet potato. A dramatic drizzle of red wine jus, chervil oil, bone marrow infused sauce, parsley, thyme and shallots bring this dish together quite boldly.
When it comes to fine dining, I do admit to being a bit reticent to see fish as one of the offerings. But there is a case to be made here for diners who don't eat meat. Dining, after all, should be an inclusive activity. My cautious is also due in part to a personal preference for fatty, flavourful meats and, sadly, fish is neither of that. I put aside my misgivings and savour Stellar's Textural Me Dai. A meaty chunk of a Japanese Medai Butterfish is delicate and buttery and sits to the side of a heap of rainbow chard and a shallow pool of cod tarama beurre noisette. Pescatarians would rejoice.
Stay for desserts. You're about to experience the most extravagant, elaborate, highly unnecessary, but oh so theatrical Dessert Art, served up by a pastry chef who, by the looks of it, seems to have done this too many times to count. She lays a black (clean) acrylic board on the table, starts painting the surface with creams, and assembling desserts down the length. A sprinkle of flower petals there, crumbed macaroons here, a drizzle of dulce de leche at the front and suddenly, five desserts manifest before your very eyes—Banofee, Isaac's pain, Rolling in Flowers, Inside a Terrarium, and Vais is nice. It's all very delicious and extremely creative—indeed, a real sweet tooth heaven on earth.
Sure, for some, the price is something to baulk. Yes, it is pricey. But is it worth every cent? A hundred per cent. It is luxurious dining at its best in a place where culinary creativity thrives, and gastronomical adventures await. With a skyline that doesn't quit and a sweeping view of Singapore from up above,
Choose from either an Elements Menu priced at S$168++ per person, or the nine-course one priced at S$228++. A wine-pairing experience of carefully hand-picked wines with each course can be enjoyed at an additional S$88++ and S$108++ for the six-course and the nine-course respectively.
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Mon‒Fri: 12pm‒2pm, 6:30pm‒9:30pm