PUBLISHED October 21st, 2015 04:00 am | UPDATED January 27th, 2017 04:10 pm
The location of Stellar at 1-Altitude at the heart of the CBD means it’s a magnet for corporate types boasting plump expense accounts. Its breath-taking views 62 storeys above Raffles Place also attract the kind of hopeless romantic who’s ready to splash out big time on an anniversary or that special date. But lest you think the food at Stellar is merely perfunctory, Executive Chef Christopher Millar will prove you otherwise.
Interior of Stellar at 1 Altitude, Singapore
The recently-introduced Constellations Gastronomic menu, which evolves with the four seasons, provides a good peek into the somewhat warped culinary mind of Chef Millar. His cuisine is contemporary, inventive and defies any pigeonholing by geography, a testament to his global training and world view.
In his hands, our favourite Carbonara becomes a better version of itself. Foamy cream is topped with rich milk skin, spiked with salty bacon ash, draped with a wet quail egg and adorned with shards of parmesan, all contributing to an overflowing decadence enveloping a perfectly cooked disc of lean Diver Scallop. A Gruyere Soufflé is even more assertive – the sharp, nutty cheese holding up nicely against what feels like a silky Yorkshire pudding, never mind that it isn’t a soufflé to a tee.
Diver Caught Scallop at Stellar at 1 Altitude
More cream awaits in a Truffle Risotto, not that we’re complaining. It’s easily the tastiest and most well-rounded dish of the evening – sweet, tender lobster in between bites of al dente Arborio perfumed with generous shavings of black truffle. If the amount of starch released by the rice is a barometer of how good risottos are, then this surely takes the cake. Another Italian winner is a Ravioli of Parmesan Custard that just slides in your mouth, accented by umami notes of the most succulent porcini mushrooms.
When it comes to more delicate ingredients, Chef Miller may seem long on inspirations, but short on finesse. A Quail Salad consists of unexciting iceberg lettuce interspersed with frigid quail, and dressed with an overwhelmingly sweet pomegranate sauce the colour of Ribena. Besides being awkwardly plated with full asparagus spears arching uncomfortably across the plate, the King Prawn at the centre of the dish also came overcooked the evening we tried it. While we appreciate a Middle Eastern twist to pureed Wood-fired Cauliflower, with feta and tahini thrown in for good measure, it falls on the wrong side of sour.
Vanilla Blancmange at Stellar at 1 Altitude
Nevertheless, a theatrical dessert finale means that the meal ends on a high note. Talented pastry chef Jasmin Chew possesses both the technical artistry and the presentational swag to pull off a showy plating of a multi-component dessert sampler right before your eyes. Top billing goes to a fluffy Vanilla Blancmange that leaves you at in a light, saccharine cloud, with the tang of a passion fruit coulis to round up the flavours. Hardcore chocophiles will immediately take to the Valrhona Chocolate Fire Ball, with ganache, praline, sauce and what have you, set in a burst of flames that invites gasps from nearby diners.
Valrhona Chocolate Fire Ball at Stellar at 1 Altitude
The good thing about a sprawling multi-functional complex like 1-Altitude is convenience –rooftop drinking is just one floor up and after-hours clubbing just one floor down. In this vein, we might in some way also take Stellar less seriously, but as a whole package, Stellar still packs a punch. Five years, eight Restaurant Weeks, full houses night in night out – now if that doesn’t count for something, I don’t know what does.
The Constellations Gastronomic Menu costs S$120++ for six courses, S$140++ for seven courses and S$160++ for eight courses. Krug champagne pairing is available for an additional S$400++ per person, with a minimum of seven pax.