The garden is the first place Mauro Colagreco looks to for culinary inspiration. “I grew up with the flavours of the garden,” the Italian Argentinian chef‑owner of three‑Michelin‑starred restaurant Mirazur tells me over a Zoom call from France. He shares that as a kid, he spent many a holiday at the La Plata home of his grandparents, who had immigrated to Argentina from Italy and for whom seasonal ingredients from the Mediterranean were at the heart of their cooking. They grew in their garden a variety of herbs, vegetables and fruits, including tomatoes, that his nonna—Italian for “grandmother”—would use to whip up simple yet tasty dishes.
His family meals then included dishes such as eggplant salad, handmade tagliatelle with pesto sauce, and ravioli stuffed with charred spinach, ricotta, pecorino and his nonna’s secret ingredient of veal brain, which is considered a delicacy in Europe. During summertime, when tomatoes are abundant, she also taught the young Colagreco how to make a “fantastic tomato sauce” for their pasta dishes.
This deep affinity for nature’s bounty, which Colagreco developed early on in his nonna’s kitchen, is the inspiration behind Fiamma, his first Italian restaurant that opens this month at Capella Singapore. This is the renowned chef’s second partnership with the Capella Hotels & Resorts group, the first being the French-Italian establishment Côte by Mauro Colagreco at Capella Bangkok, which opened in 2020.
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While he knows of the plethora of Italian dining places already available in Singapore, Colagreco says that what sets Fiamma—Italian for “flame”—apart from them is the fact that the restaurant is anchored in his own unique cuisine, which combines his deep respect for nature with his Italian and Argentinian roots.
“In Argentina, we use a lot of fire in our cooking … we like to grill fish, meat and vegetables,” he shares. That is why Fiamma has its own custom‑built, wood‑fired pizza oven, where most of its offerings will be finished with a kiss of smoke. Famed for using seasonal produce that comes directly from his restaurants’ gardens, Colagreco plans to build an expansive one in the region in the near future. He posits: “My dream is to find one to two hectares of land in Asia where we can grow our own crops to use in our restaurants.”
In keeping with his culinary philosophy of only using what nature has to offer, Colagreco works closely with local and regional producers to curate an ever‑changing menu. So what are some of the signatures we can expect? He proudly shares that his grandmother’s classic ravioli, “cooked according to how she made it”, is part of the repertoire, as are classic family recipes that he modernised with his own touch—think a “delicious eggplant dish that is slow‑cooked in the oven and topped with pecorino espuma; seasonal fish done crudo style (raw and bathed in olive oil, citrus juice or vinaigrette); and a selection of meat dishes cooked over fire”.
For even more variety, he has included quintessential eats from different regions of Italy: pizza tartufo done Napoli style (with a thick and chewy crust, and a thin centre), and “Catch of the Day” grilled on the fire and finished in an oven to reference the style of the Liguria region. These plates are garnished with herbs such as basil, rosemary and thyme, all freshly picked from Capella Singapore’s existing herb garden.
In order to bring these dishes to life, Colagreco has installed chef de cuisine Antonio Corsaro at the helm. The Italian native—who sharpened his knife at notable establishments such as French restaurant Allard in Paris, Mediterranean restaurant BBR by Alain Ducasse in Singapore and Italian restaurant La Scala in Shanghai—also trained with Colagreco at Mirazur to understand the chef‑owner’s exacting vision for Fiamma.