The aptly named Art Restaurant in National Gallery Singapore is a contemporary Italian fine dining restaurant by Chef Beppe De Vito. Before a recent rebranding, it was known as Aura and occupied 2 levels. Now Aura Sky Lounge and Bar is on the 6th floor and Art Restaurant occupies the 5th floor. Art says its “menu is an ever-evolving exploration of Italian culinary tradition” with ingredients taking “the lead in the creative process”. Dining at Art can be like a visit to an art gallery – a journey of discovery.
Art is part of the ilLido Group, which also has restaurants such as Amò, Braci and Southbridge under its umbrella. Before the change of name from Aura to Art, there was an Osteria Art in Market Street with classic Italian decor which exuded elegance and charm. Art combined the best of Aura and Osteria Art.
Art Restaurant in National Gallery Singapore is a swanky elegant place. The use of lots of mirrors adds a level of interest and a touch of drama to the space. It has various table configurations which can accommodate a couple or a small group of friends or business assocuates.
Menu of Art Restaurant
The Art restaurant menu changes from time to time. The menu presented when we were there for dinner recently was a fairly simple one printed on one page. Essentially there are degustation menus, which means you allow the chefs to surprise you. Prices are between $78 and $188. The a la carte menu offers only 4 mains and a few appetizers and deserts.
We did not feel too adventurous that night and ordered from the a la carte menu – Suckling Pig Rack ($48) and Challans Duck ($48). We chose to skip appetizers but picked two desserts to share – Honey Poached Pear ($18) and Gianduia Chocolate Hazelnut Gelato ($18).
The meal started with bread and amuse-bouches (compliments of the chefs). Detailed introductions were given for each of the amuse-bouches, though we must confess that we did not get all that was said and what we did hear we soon forgot.
Two items stood out it terms of the presentation. One looked like a small floral arrangement for the tables. Two pieces of bite-sized hors d’œuvre were hidden in the bowl of greens.
The other interesting item was the ham with chestnut paste served on opened chestnut shells, which looked like sea urchin or dry rambutans. The presentation was dramatic. Taste-wise, it was the most interesting and enjoyable amuse-bouche of the four.
The Challans Duck was recommended as one of the signature dishes of the chef. The duck had thick skin and its meat texture was smooth, almost like a quality cut of beef, and juicy. It had a rather gamy scent. The citrusy chinotto sauce was a good complement to the duck. Those who love to eat duck and don’t mind the gaminess would love the Challans Duck dish at Art.
The Suckling Pig Rack was presented in a pot filled with myrtle leaves. The rack was then cut up and served on a plate with fig, pieces of pork belly, and chestnut paste. Eating the tender pieces of pork with the sweet cooked fig and with the rich earthy chestnut paste was like eating two different dishes altogether – both delightful. In European dishes, often the sauce would be the most important element. The fig and wine sauce of Art that was drizzled sparingly on the pork was very good. It really enhanced the enjoyment of an excellent dish.
The desserts looked simple and the portion size looked small because they were served on large plates. The honey poached pear was refreshing and delectable. The chocolate gelato dessert was layers upon layers of goodness – with gianduja chocolate and hazelnut gelato on a soft base of chocolate cookie. It was enjoyable from the first bite to the last.
We finished our dessert with relish and asked for the bill. We were told we could not leave yet. Petits Fours were served.
The little morsels of confectionery looked pretty and were quite enjoyable too.
Dining at Art Restaurant was a delightful experience. The ambience was nice, the contemporary Italian menu was interesting and the food was aesthetically pleasing and enjoyable. We were very happy that we did not pass on the desserts. If the meal at Art was a journey of discovery, it was an interesting and enjoyable one.
Overall Rating: 4 TOPs
1 St Andrew’s Road
#05-03 National Gallery Singapore
Tel: +65 6866 1977
The Ordinary Patrons | Real Dining Experience of Ordinary People
an independent Singapore food blog