Culinary review: Luce by Davide Giacomelli at the Intercontinental Singapore
The place Located at Intercontinental Singapore in what was once Ash & Elm, Luce by Davide Giacomelli is a new Italian concept in IHG ownership by Executive Chef Davide Giacomelli. The space retains the same interior as Ash & Elm, so it’s still the familiar high-ceilinged space with skylights above the restaurant. Luce means ‘light’ in Italian, where the new concept aims to focus on fresh, local ingredients, with a seasonal à la carte menu that will be renewed quarterly.
The food Luce’s dishes are the culmination of chef de cuisine Davide Giacomelli’s training under the tutelage of several Michelin-starred chefs throughout his career and pay homage to his first love affair – the sight, the smell and the flavors of classic Italian cuisine at his father’s restaurant in the picturesque town of Sirmione, “the pearl” of Lake Garda. The menu is concise from starters to pastas, main courses and plates to share. You won’t find pizza on Chef Davide’s menu if that’s what you’re looking for, as he wants to highlight the lesser-known but equally worthy Italian dishes.
I started with the bruschetta (S$19) – grated garlic toast topped with Parma ham, buffalo mozzarella, crushed cherry tomatoes, rocket leaves and basil.
One of the dishes that the staff recommended to me was the Octopus Peperonata (S$36) – Octopus cooked Sicilian style, pan-fried with ratatouille of red and yellow peppers, red onions and fresh tomatoes. Nice bright colors on the plate with the mix of greens where the octopus has a chewy texture.
If there’s one dish you must have at Luce’s, it’s the much-loved Acquerello Lobster (S$46), which did not disappoint. The Acquerello lobster dish uses Carnaroli rice, a type of Italian rice from northern Italy. Carnaroli is also known as the “king” or “caviar” of risotto rice, and is said to produce the creamiest risotto. This dish is more indulgent because the al dente risotto soaks up the rich essence of the lobster stick prepared with half a Boston lobster. A must-try dish here!
In the dish, I opted for something lighter in the mouth, Merluzzo alla Puttanesca ($46). Seared Atlantic cod is served with a fresh homemade tomato sauce, taggiasca olives, anchovies, pantelleria capers and fresh herbs. Not really an element of surprise on this dish, but a well executed cod dish.
For desserts, the Fragola (S$18) is a fairly light option with strawberry yogurt mousse, yuzu chocolate cream, strawberry coulis and dulce crumble. Otherwise, opt for the namesake Luce misu (S$18), a variation of the traditional tiramisu. I’m not usually a fan of tiramisu but this version isn’t as sweet, as there are more chocolate elements where the bitterness balances the sweetness. You get mascarpone cream espuma, espresso syrup, lady finger sponge cake and crispy feuilletine.
Getting mad I would certainly like to see more outstanding dishes created on the menu in the next round, because while the savory dishes are generally competent, only the lobster Acquerello left a deeper impression.
Will I come back? It’s a good move from Ash & Elm to Davide Giacomelli’s Luce where there’s a clearer definition of cooking. The concise menu works well and every restaurant should have a signature dish, and in this case, lobster risotto for me and Luce-misu for dessert. The spacious setting is also ideal for couples or group meals.
This was an invitational tasting, although all opinions expressed are our own.
Make your reservations instantly at Luce by Davide Giacomelli here.
taste bud: 4/5
Hole in the pocket: 4/5
Overall experience: 4/5
Luce by Davide Giacomelli
80 middle road
Tel: +65 6825 1008
Wednesday to Sunday: 12:00 p.m. to 2:30 p.m.
From Wednesday to Sunday:
The bar is open from 5:30 p.m. for aperitifs
6:00 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. (last order at 9:30 p.m.)
Rated by The Ranter