Braci is one of five restaurants in Singapore by Italian chef Beppe De Vito.
Our first impression is that Braci is peculiarly situated in Boat Quay, an area known for dive bars and kitschy, uber-touristy restaurants that sit along the waterside and jam-packed streets. But once you find the restored shophouse housing a Korean fried-chicken shop on ground level and head up five floors in the elegant lift behind it, you’ll find a small, chic and sophisticated restaurant with an open kitchen where the chefs are calmly and precisely going about their work.
If you manage to delay your hunger pangs, head upstairs one floor for a quick aperitif on the rooftop, which magically manages to shield all the crowds below, giving only views of the water and Singapore skyline. It may seem hard not to stay up there all night, but the aroma from downstairs will draw you away from the tranquil chill and potent cocktails.
Braci offers a thoughtful balance of open kitchen combined with the intimacy of separate tables that make it easy for conversation with your dining party and the ability to dip in and out of the kitchen magic being artfully created beside you.
The restaurant earned its first Michelin star after only a year of being open. Sommelier Joseph tells us that the entire team were blown away when it was awarded, but it turned out to be no fluke, with Braci retaining the star for a second year.
The chef comes to introduce each dish, so you know exactly what you’re eating, and will elaborate or keep it brief depending on your preference, but we have to say, you’re missing out if you don’t find out exactly how many ingredients go into the Sweet Underwood dessert (51), why the sommelier has chosen to pair this dish with that wine or where the olive oil and bread come from (the chef’s brother and father’s farm in his home town in Puglia). The entire team are friendly and passionate about the food they are creating, from the ingredients to the preparation and presentation, and it comes through beautifully in the dining experience.
From the degustation menus, you can choose to have the four-course Surprise menu (S$100), five-course Epicurean menu (S$150) or five-course Gourmand menu (S$200). You can also pop in for the à-la-carte menu, making it an easy option whether it’s a special-occasion dinner or weeknight meal.
Here’s a look at some of the dishes:
The tuna tartare tartlet amuse-bouche was revealed inside a Russian matryoshka doll, and it’s clearly a dish the staff at Braci delight in presenting, theatrically removing the top to reveal the treasure inside. The tartlet is topped with a heap of golden caviar from the white pearl albino sturgeon. The tartare had a clean, light, refreshing bite, with several textures giving way to the crisp tartlet underneath. Paired with a pale golden Jacquart Brut Mosaïque champagne with a hint of honey, this was a lavish opener.
Pane Toscano is given a status by the EU law that guarantees its authenticity (PDO, protected designation of origin). The recipes dates back to AD8, which blows the mind as much as the thick crust and airy interior delight the taste buds. There’s no salt in the bread, but its slightly tangy flavour requires nothing to accompany it. However, it does come with an olive oil from Chef De Vito’s own home town in Puglia made by his father and brother, and it adds another powerful flavour dimension that evokes much love from our table.
The scampi (S$32) is grilled and laid in a pool of miso and coconut milk, topped with a scampi-head emulsion, so you get a beautiful mix of sweet and buttery flavours with the plump scampi meat and cool crackle of raw Vietnamese rice with cocoa on top. The sommelier paired this rich dish with a Pomino Benefizio Riserva that had a citrusy aroma giving way to a creamy and floral flavour that lasted long after; we were hooked and will be hunting for that bottle.
Remarkably for a scallop dish (S$TBC) with so many exciting ingredients like smoked egg yolk and guanciale already going on, we were swept away by the tomatoes that, although tiny, provided powerful pops of flavour.
This is opulence at its peak – homemade taglioni with sea urchin and caviar (S$58). This is a rich dish to be savoured slowly.
Tochigi Wagyu (S$88) is known for its intense flavour and attractive marbling, and these elements were allowed to shine here, with a simple knot of garlic scapes and an off-piste sesame sauce. Paired with a polished and full black-cherry-noted Paolo Scavino Barolo, this dish was epic.
As if we weren’t already experiencing full-blown food adoration, then came the CHEESE – so good it deserves full caps. This whisky and barley cheese (S$TBC) had only just arrived in the chefs hands that day, and we were besotted with it. The wild berry sorbet (S$18) was also lovely.
There is no way you could implore us to choose between the cheese above and this Sweet Underwood (S$20) dessert. Amongst others, this 51-ingredient dessert features orange raspberries, edible flowers, peeled grapes, matcha moss – and the chocolate shavings? Try mushroom. It shouldn’t work, but it works so well that we may cast aside our previous love affair with chocolate and shack up with fungi in the future. An amber-hued Castello di Pomino dessert wine added a sweetness that was pleasant though almost entirely unnecessary.
Now these are some petits fours…
My dining companion remarked that this was very possibly the best meal she had ever experienced. And it really was a spectacular showcase of technical skill, carefully sourced and unique ingredients and incredibly passionate staff who have managed to create a friendly and convivial atmosphere to rival the dreamy flavours that pervade the menu. It’s easy to say we were enamoured with our experience at Braci, and we will now be expectantly eating our way through Chef De Vito’s other restaurants around town.
5–6/F, 52 Boat Quay, Singapore 049841,+65 6866 1933, book online
This write-up is based on a complimentary media tasting provided in exchange for an honest review and no monetary compensation. The opinions expressed here represent the author’s.
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