Retaining its one-Michelin star status for the sixth consecutive year, Braci is all about stringing elegance and understated flavours together to honour each ingredient used. And the man responsible for that is chef Matteo Ponti. At the helm, the young chef dreams up a progressive menu that pays tribute to his Northern Italian roots peppered with personal anecdotes of life back home.
Dining in the 30-seater penthouse restaurant gets rather personal and the best seat in the house is one that faces the Singapore River, across the charming stretch that is home to iconic art houses. Before dusk, the large clear windows invite lovely rays of natural light that illuminate the modern quarters juxtaposed against the embers of the open-fire kitchen.
The season of summer brings forth a bursts of colour with a trio of bites: crisp potato flute piped with Italian pork trotter salad contrasted with buttery oscietra caviar; luscious Santa Margherita red prawns crowned on crispy snow fungus; and bluefin tuna tartare tart glazed with veal jus and finished with alyssum flowers reminiscent of horseradish.
Appetisers kick off with a plated rose shaped from silky cured kingfish, oily smoked eel and crunchy black radish. Ponti showcases an age-old preservation technique from Northern Italy with the clever layer of smoky carpione jelly which helps complete the dish. He also serves up his reinterpreted signature osso buco followed by another cheeky dish that includes charcoal grilled firefly squid and seasonal white asparagus.
Ponti attempts to bring a taste of the Dolomites to guests as he uses top-quality pasta made from single types of grains from the mountain range. And to showcase the abundance of nettles in the season, he pairs nettle pesto, made from a well-loved recipe of his mother's, with plump hamaguri clams, sea asparagus and borage. Each simple twirl of this pasta is fresh and floral, yet with an elegant touch of savouriness.
Another perfectly executed star is the sawara, dry-aged for seven days and gently seared on the shichirin. It is served with Ponti's reimagination of a classic Northern Italian pasta sauce made popular in the 80’s: his twist is a flavourful seaweed beurre blanc accented with smoked swordfish ham and sweet Spanish teardrop peas.
Besides the raved tiramisu tartlet dessert, make space for the new frozen parfait made from 12-month Grana Padano. The velvety sweet and savoury treat also incorporates white chocolate, apricot gel and an almond cookie base. And like a literal chunk of young Grana Padano, it is designed to give the contrasting effect of crunching into the salt crystals – an immortalised memory of Ponti’s father where he ends each meal with a chunk of cheese.
The seven-course degustation dinner is priced at $258 while the five-course goes for $208. Braci is also now open for lunch, where a three-course meal is priced at just $88.