I have stayed at the Hilton Singapore on a number of occasions in 2013 and 2014 - read about my experience here - but yet I have never had the chance to visit the signature Italian restaurant il Cielo which is located on the rooftop of the Hilton Singapore. The award-winning restaurant, il Cielo, which translates into 'The Sky' has recently unveiled a new menu that is designed to evoke all five senses - sight, smell, taste, hear and touch. Italian Chef Riccardo Catarsi prides himself in creating a sensorial dining experience with his new menu as he places a strong focus on using seasonal fresh produce as well as sustainable seafood choices.
Located on level 24 of the Hilton Singapore, il Cielo overlooks the free-form swimming pool and offers a seating capacity of up to 48 diners (32 seats indoors and 16 seats by the pool side). Because of the smaller seating capacity and the view that the restaurant provides, it is truly quite a romantic location for a meal (especially dinner!).
If you are looking for a dinner spot with a few close friends, il Cielo offers a private dining room that sits up to 10 diners with panoramic city views of Orchard Road. Anyway, here comes some photos of the food - do pardon the noise in the photo as the restaurant was pretty dark in the evening and I did not want to ruin the dining atmosphere with an intrusive flash.
If you are looking for a recommendation for a starter, give il Cielo's famous Buffalo Milk Burrata (S$25++) served with Heirloom Tomato Carpaccio, Basil Cream and Olives a try. Non-cheese lovers (like myself) will definitely enjoy this dish as the refreshing and light flavours prepare you for what is to come.
As I have mentioned earlier, Chef Catarsi prides himself in using sustainable seafood and seasonal produce. As such, it should be noted that the menu is subjected to changes according to what is in season. Seafood lovers will definitely enjoy the Fantasia di Capesanne (S$28++) which is served with perfectly-cooked MSC (Marine Stewardship Council) certified Hokkaido scallops in a bottarga mayonnaise.
If I had to pick one dish that I truly love at il Cielo, it would have to be the Spaghetti with Maine Lobster (S$39++), Fresh Tomatoes, Italian Basil and Burrata Cheese. Cooked with freshly-made pasta in a delicious sauce, this dish also comes with generous servings of fresh lobster. I love the intense flavours and the contrast between that and the naturally sweet lobster flesh.
Another notable dish from the new menu is the Pumpkin Charcoal Ravioli (S$24++) with Chickpeas Cream, Red Onions, Modena Balsamic and Black Truffles - you will probably see black truffles in a number of dishes as it is currently in season.
If there was a dish I had to pick for everyone to try at least once, it would have to be the Branzino di’orbetello (S$68++) which is a whole sea bass that is roasted on olive wood - you will definitely notice the fragrance when the dish is first served. The bones are then gently and skilfully removed table-side so you can indulge in the smell of this dish while you watch as the fish gets completely deboned.
Here's a plate of art and as Chef Catarsi has explained to me during dinner (and hopefully I have interpreted it correctly), the dish represents a contrast between chaos and order (one on each side) and I guess it reveals the complexity in harmonising the different components of this dish - the smooth pumpkin cream and the creamy toothfish (S$45++)that is cooked beautifully.
Even though I am truly not a dessert person (my idea of a dessert is a glass of Gin), I really enjoyed both desserts that I have sampled at il Cielo. The Macarons and Strawberry Composition (S$14++) is served with a delicious sorbet that is made in-house and visually, this dessert has got to be one of the prettiest ones that I have seen in a while.
If you only have enough stomach space for one dessert, the choice is easy - opt for this delicious Tiramisu Millefoglie which comes with a cappuccino gelato to die for. The gelato tastes like a blissful marriage between a solid espresso and deliciously sweetened cream. To be honest, I am seriously impressed with il Cielo and I am just surprised at how quiet the restaurant has been (considering how reasonable the prices are). If you are looking for a new place to check out (regardless of whether or not you would like it to be romantic), il Cielo has to be on your list!
This was an invited media-tasting session, though all views expressed are my own.
Il Cielo - Hilton Singapore
581 Orchard Road, Level 24 Hilton Singapore, Singapore 238883
Opening Hours: 12PM to 230PM | 7PM to 1030PM
T: +65 6730 3395