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The artist behind the menu

Samantha Chiew & Audrey Simon
Samantha Chiew & Audrey Simon • 5 min read
The artist behind the menu
Sperindio: My inspiration for my menu creation comes from my experiences around the world and my memories from my home. Photos: Art di Daniele Sperindio
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Eat your way through Italy at the one-Michelin-starred Art di Daniele Sperindio, a rooftop fine dining establishment that expresses food as an art form

At the young age of 13, chef Daniele Sperindio found his passion in food. At first, his culinary experiences were located within his hometown of Genoa, Italy, but Sperindio knew that there was more to learn and taste outside. To satisfy his curiousity, he crossed continents, training under Michelin-starred chefs like Grant Achatz at Alinea in Chicago and Yoshihiro Narisawa in Tokyo. Sperindio was also the sous chef at the former Michelin-starred restaurant Antica Osteria del Bai in Genoa, Italy, before becoming the group head chef under celebrity chef Ryan Clift in Singapore.

Nominated several times for awards at the World Gourmet Summit Awards of Excellence, chef Sperindio has also directed the culinary programme of the award-winning Atlas Bar in Singapore since the bar’s inception, where he was an integral part of the opening team. After a brief time away from the Singapore dining scene, he returned in 2020. Singapore was “love at first sight” for the chef and the pull to return to Singapore was strong.

Today, chef Sperindio, now 36, is the chef and owner of the eponymous Michelin-starred restaurant Art di Daniele Sperindio, located at the top floor of the National Gallery of Singapore, and casual Italian concept restaurant Gemma, in the same building.

“My inspiration for my menu creation comes from my experiences around the world and my memories from my home,” the chef tells Options during a tasting session at Art di Daniele Sperindio. “Our menu changes at the start of every season. I pick the seasonal ingredients. Then, to create the menu, I think about what the ingredient reminds me of. The dish could symbolise a memory, a person, or scenery that I experienced in the past.”

See also: Culinary magic

Every dish evokes a memory from the chef’s travels or ignites a sense of nostalgia from his childhood days in Genoa. Apart from being a masterful chef, Sperindio is indeed an artist too. At the end of the tasting, diners will be given the menu listing all the food served — some of which are represented by pictures designed and drawn by chef Sperindio himself. “If I didn’t become a chef, maybe I would be in the animation industry. I love to draw and tell stories,” says the chef.

Menus are handed out after the meal as Sperindio prefers diners to listen to the explanation of each dish as it is being served. In this way, we feast with all our senses — hearing, sight, and smell, followed by taste and touch.

Our Italian culinary journey begins with a delicate starter, Cappon Magro, also known as “fast-day capon”, which is a take on the Catholic tradition of fasting where no meat is served. Instead, Sperindio cleverly uses white beetroot as a subsitute, while the light saltiness of the royal oscietra caviar balances the poached l’etoile oyster, and drunken pear snow, which is cooked in rose wine. The whole dish is at once flavourful and refreshing, preparing the palate for a heavier course to follow.

See also: Choco-chic

The La Superba is for all pasta lovers and connoisseurs, who are sure to appreciate the quality of the pasta that is made with 32 egg yolks for every kg of flour. Water is substituted with an infusion made of clams and stock fish (air-dried cod, a Scandinavian ingredient that is also used typically in Genovese cuisine). The dish looks simple enough but every bite is as intense as the first, with your sense of taste detecting the various ingredients that go into the dish.

Winter is Coming is the title of the next dish, a take on an episode of the hit TV series Game of Thrones. But fear not, there is nothing ominous forthcoming for this dish, only the chef’s brilliance of keeping the honeyed quail moist inside a crunchy coating of pumpkin and sunflower seeds. The bird is plated with chestnut gel and finished with an aged celeriac jus (part of Sperindio’s signature line of vegetarian jus out of his Ageing Kitchen — where he ages his meats and veggies to make jus), and served with sides of green lentils royale cooked with tomatoes and guanciale.

Sperindio’s humour extends to his dessert — it is called Tourists on Mount Vesuvio — a reference to Vesuvius, the volcano in Naples that erupted in AD 79. For this dish, the volcano is re-interpreted with an assembly of latte di bufala gelato, bitter cacao nibs, biscotto all’amarena, and 40-yearold balsamico. For a bit of a heady end to the meal, the gelato is served on a whiskey-laced toffee, which is so delicious, you want it as a pantry staple at home.

Do try the Pane e Poesia, a rustic sourdough that is served with the meal. We also enjoyed every bite of the high hydration ciabatta. Both are made with artisanal flour from Mulino Sorbino in Piedmont, and served with a curated selection of premium Italian extra virgin olive oils, and butter specially sourced from Beppino Occelli — artisanal butter makers working with milk from cows raised on the Langhe and Piedmontese Alpine pastures (Sperindio has been recently ordained to the Order of the Knights of Alba, a historical congregation aimed to preserve and promote produces and traditions from the area).

The degustation menu at Art di Daniele Sperindio is presented as a seven-course tasting menu at $328++ per person for dinner, while the lunch degustation menu has three, four and five courses available at $158, $188 and $208 respectively

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Art di Daniele Sperindio
1 St Andrew’s Road 06-02
National Gallery Singapore 178957

Tel: (65) 6866 1977

Opening hours:
Tuesdays to Sundays
Lunch: 12:00pm to 2:00pm
Dinner: 6:00pm to 10:00pm
Closed on Mondays

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