He was unsatisfied. Chef Fernando Arévalo—beanstalked and sporting a perpetual light five o’clock shadow— knew that he could do better; that he could elevate this culinary field to something special. This travail—if successful—would make him stand out but it is always the nail that sticks out that invites the hammer.
‘Change’ would be a dogged theme for Arévalo and it would continue to be so for his restaurant, Preludio. Envisioning his restaurant as a novel, each chapter will act as a theme to stoke the creativity of Arévalo and his staff. His first chapter? Monochrome.
But it’s more than just the inspiration of black and white. While the décor and staff’s uniform are in accordance with the theme, the food menu and wine list are stripped of their distracting ‘hues’ to reveal their fundamental selves.
The alcohol is chosen for the kind of terroir it flourished from—from the dark volcanic grounds to the chalk-rich fields. Dishes are not centred on a certain region, after all, how can you shackle the imagination? Utilising the Author’s Cuisine, where a chef’s creativity is unbridled to produce meals like Elude— white beetroot, burrata, walnut crumble and dill-marinated cucumber are mixed in to a yogurt foam and accompanied with young primeur sturia caviar and followed by Allude… which looks like the last dish. Concocted and plated to spark a sense of déjà vu, within the mushroom potato mousse is a medley of fermented mushroom, bone marrow and thyme croutons; a side of Oscietra Sturia caviar.
There’s also La Cortina, an agnolotti pasta. Named after the room Arévalo stayed in when he visited the producer of the 25-year-old balsamic vinegar that is used in the dish, the pasta is al dente with a butternut squash and amaretto filling and sits in a lovely Parmesan sauce.
The presence of fun never strays from the serious note of the effort that goes into each dish. It’s foolhardy to think in absolutes—it’s not black or white; there’s no right or wrong—but in this case, Preludio gets an unanimous stamp of approval.
Preludio is located at 182 Cecil Street, Frasers Tower, #03-01/02. For information and reservations, call 6904 5686.