il Cielo at Hilton Singapore – Homemade, Organic, Seasonal
Located on the top floor of Hilton Singapore, il Cielo (which means “the sky”) is a stylist contemporary Italian restaurant offering handcrafted homemade food, natural and organic ingredients as well as seasonal produce from Italy.
I have been wanting to try this restaurant for the longest time and I am finally here, thanks to the invitation from Hilton Singapore! We came super early, say 6.30pm, so that it is still bright enough for us to take some photos. With a paranomic view of Ochard Road skyline, the interiors and surroundings of the poolside provide an urban resort feel. Lovely view, they opened up the windows and we are seated in a semi-alfresco setting.
Helming the kitchen is Chef Omar Bernardi who loves to use natural and organic ingredients including organic flours, seasonal vegetables and herbs, sustainable seafood sources as well as fresh and natural cuts to prepare the dishes. Dining at Il Cielo begins with homemade truffle butter with black olive breads and the original grissini.
The Burrata ($38), a fresh Italian cheese made from mozzarella filled with bufala, was served on a bed of crisp salad greens and tomatoes. It was made upon order, which the chef dipping mozzarella curd into hot water, stretching it and filling it with bufala mozzarella and fresh cream. Its delicate taste totally won us over.
A prettily presented appetiser of Capesante ($32), or scallops done four ways, comprises of scallop topped with saffron sauce and caviar, another seared with foie gras and wine reduction, and the last with pancetta and truffle. If you enjoy a variety of different flavours, you will love this.
The restaurant makes Rome style pizzas using mostly Italian produce which are baked in open fire brick oven. Bosco ($45 for whole), a crispy thin Rome-style pizza made with flour from Vesuviana, topped with porcini, home cured Italian sausage and truffle. For something more extravagant, go for their signature il Cielo pizza ($50 for whole) which is served with maine lobster and caviar. Both pizzas taste great and it was hard for me to decide which one I prefer. So we requested the kitchen to do half-half.
Along with other Rome-style pizzas is the wide range homemade pastas made from organic flours including the rare Kamut, bulkwheat and spelt. Kamut is an ancient type of grain that is believed to have originated from Eygpt. It is suitable for people with wheat intolerance, are easier to digest, though they do have gluten.
Chef’s rendition of Kamut Spaghetti ($36) is cooked with sicilian red prawn, zucchini and caviar, which still provides rich flavour. The pasta was very nicely cooked till al-dente, which has a hearty, nutty flavour, an interesting departure from the norm.
Flavours of days past are also replicated at Il Cielo as we enjoyed the aromas and flavours of Italian cuisine the way they used to be prepared before modern day kitchen aids replaced traditional cooking over wood fire.
Special wood pieces from olive and cedar trees are also used in cooking to lend smoky aroma to the dishes, recreating flavours that was lost with modernization. For instance, Whole Sea Bass Flash Roasted on Olive Wood ($75) is fast roasted in the oven for an earthy flavour. The waiter is good at de-boning the fish for us, but you still got to be really careful while eating this dish. No need to dip any sauces, just enjoy the smoky aroma on each sweet tender fish meat.
Olive crusted Colorado Rack of Lamb ($50) with truffle mustard was also tender and subtly spiced, and the rack is really one of the best parts of the lamb. I was initially worried that the olive may be slightly bitter for my liking but it wasn’t.
Desserts was Amadel Dark Chcolate Souffle served with Spicy Vanilla Ice Cream ($18) – which is a chocolate lava look-alike dessert.
All year round, il Cielo will follow the seaons of Italy featuring the best of nothern Italy during winter months and southern regions of the country during summer months. An avid advocate for natural, organic foods from sustainable sources, Chef Omar worked with Italian purveyors to supply produce from Italy, other parts of Europe, Japan, USA and New Zealand to ensure quality the Italian Way. If you ask me a dish which I remembered from Il Cielo, it is definitely the wafer-thin crispy Rome-style gourmet pizzas and Kamut Spaghetti. You can also come up to the sky bar and enjoy a drink or two while enjoying the view.
Address: Level 24 Hilton Singapore, 581 Orchard Road
Tel: 6730 3395
Opening hours: Lunch from Monday to Friday 12pm – 2.30pm; Dinner from Monday to Sunday 7pm – 10.30pm. Sky Bar opens from Monday to Sunday 6pm – midnight.