Italian-Argentinian chef-restaurateur Mauro Colagreco is a force to be reckoned with. A former alum who worked the kitchens in France for culinary greats like Alain Passard, Alain Ducasse and Bernard Loiseau, he is the first Latin-American and non-French citizen to receive three Michelins for his restaurant Mirazur in Menton, France. That same year in 2019, Mirazur was voted No.1 on The World’s 50 Best Restaurants list and subsequently inaugurated into the “Best of the Best” category in The World’s 50 Best Restaurants awards.
Since opening Mirazur in 2006, the enterprising chef has built a mini dining empire of restaurants and brasseries in Paris, Nice, Cannes, Beijing, Macau and Florida. He also owns an international burger chain called Carne. Closer to home, Colagreco opened Côte by Mauro Colagreco at Capella Bangkok in 2020, which bagged a Michelin star a year later.
Just what is the secret to his enormous success? “One of my secrets is to start my own style of restaurant in a place I’ve never been to before. We went with Mediterranean cuisine. It allowed me total freedom to envision and interpret how I wanted. We approached things with our very own style, allowing us to surprise people while still being focused on quality,” he tells the Michelin Guide.
Marking the second collaboration with the Capella group, Colagreco opened Italian restaurant Fiamma at Capella Singapore taking over The Knolls. Translated as ‘flame’ in Italian, Fiamma embodies the chef’s burning passion for cooking, offering a repertoire of authentic, traditional dishes inspired by his Italian roots and his grandmother’s cooking.
In a time when restaurants are reshaping luxury through a return to simplicity, Colagreco envisions a sincere, convivial and down-to-earth space where people can savour life through collective experiences and memories, bonded together over hearty flavours at the table.
“After what we’ve been through during the pandemic, diners now want to enjoy life. They want to come to a place where the food is amazing and the ambience makes them feel good. People want to feel happy again,” he explains.
“Customers also care more about what they eat now more than ever, and question the origin of the product – like how much carbon emissions it took to get here. Whenever we open up a restaurant, the first thing we look at is how we can minimise impact.”
A big believer in sustainability and reducing environmental impact — Mirazur which has “Plastic Free” certification takes ingredients from its own garden and local farmers — Fiamma’s concept is to also showcase the freshness and bounty of local and regional ingredients, especially organically-grown produce.
Unlike his fine dining establishments, Fiamma is strictly casual and the only one that is so close to his heart, in which he has drawn intensely into his childhood memories and personal heritage. “Fiamma is different because it's a casual concept for me to express my Italian roots. It’s a place for big groups friends and families to come, relax and savour the recipes that I grew up with. I want the people feel it’s like my home,” shares the 45 year old father of two.
The earthy chic interiors, brought to life by Hong Kong-based architect André Fu, ooze contemporary Mediterranean vibes punctuated with lots of green plants. “It’s soft, open and well-lit which are very important details for me. I am very happy with the design. I love that it’s not your typical Italian trattoria or too Baroque,” he laughs.
The menu presents the nostalgic and familiar, set ablaze with rich, new flavours — comforting plates of handmade pastas; hearty Polpette, Italian-style meatballs; and made-from-scratch pizzas, fired up in an enormous Napoli pizza oven.
Of his favourite dishes, Colagreco insists we try the Carpaccio di Pomodoro E Pesca comprising an assortment of heirloom tomatoes and yellow peach, sliced thinly and topped off with chives. The refreshingly light, zesty plate is the nod to some of chef’s earliest memories in the vegetable garden with his grandfather.
My personal favourite is Colagreco’s rendition of gambas, the Crudo Di Gambero Rosso Di Mazara which features extremely fresh Mediterranean red prawn crudo served with kumquat and green peas.
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Pizza at Fiamma is perfection — large, crispy, airy with a honeycombed crust that’s enveloped by the taste of smoky wood. The Diavola, a favourite of Colagreco, is equal parts delicious and delicate spiciness of salami picante, balanced with the roundness of mozzarella and pecorino cheese, topped with basil. The Genovese, melted Parmigiano Reggiano, mozzarella, with a homemade, fresh pesto, is another pizza to put on the list.
For Secondi, the Pescato del Giorno, or fresh fish of the day which also varies by the season, is prepared in the style of the region of Liguria; tasty yet light, with fresh vegetables finished with a tangy lemon-infused butter sauce for balance. Seafood lovers will enjoy the Cioppino seafood broth filled with fresh clams, langoustines, scallops and crab claw in a thick milky broth.
Round up the meal with Fiamma’s Dolce selections, such as Panna Cotta Esotici which comes with a crown of tropical pineapples, mangoes, passion fruit and pine nuts, or Meringa Cotta, a visual feast of perfectly airy méringue, with the toppings of gold flakes, berries, a taste of vanilla ice cream and fresh fruits. For a touch of the traditional, the emblematic Tiramisu celebrates completely the gourmandise, generosity, and authenticity of Italian family dining.
Of course, a visit to Fiamma won’t be complete until you’ve paired your meal with wine. Colagreco will be taking this opportunity to showcase some of his favourite wines back home with a focus on female winemakers from Italy, as well as select wine labels from Argentina.
Colagreco also shares that the menu will constantly evolve through the co-creation of his young head chef, Antonio Corsaro, who helms Fiamma. “Antonio was recommended to me by Alain Ducasse. He’s a very good chef and has some amazing ideas. I’m giving him plenty of freedom to create his own identity and make this kitchen come alive!”
1 The Knolls
Contact: 6591 5046
Opening hours: Mon – Sun | Lunch & dinner: 12pm – 10pm