Mauro Colagreco, Chef-Owner of World's Best Restaurant Mirazur on Why Singapore Is Special to Him
While road to recovery remains an arduous one for the restaurant industry across the globe, diners in Singapore have been counting their blessings as more opportunities to dine out safely are progressively made available, alongside more options to savour world class dining.
“Singapore is, for me, one of the most important cities for gastronomy and holds a special place in my heart,” shares Mauro Colagreco of critically acclaimed restaurant Mirazur, which will be hosting an exclusive three-month residency in Singapore at Mandala Club from May 14.
This is the first time Colagreco will be visiting the island since attending The World’s 50 Best Restaurant Awards ceremony in 2019, the year Mirazur made history by becoming the first French restaurant to earn the No. 1 spot on the feted list.
He adds, “Moreover, we believe that Singapore is the platform for excellence, for new concepts and avant-garde gastronomy. From street food and gastronomic restaurants, my culinary experiences every time I visit the city have been extraordinary and a real source of inspiration for me and my cuisine.”
Suffice it to say, the “lunar menus” that the Mirazur team will be serving are inspiring and ambitious in their purposeful celebration of biodynamic agriculture. “Our cuisine is very intuitive and will adapt to the 365 seasons that nature offers us,” Colagreco explains, as he points out the challenging nature of this culinary approach, which is guided by the moon’s movement. “Because of its influence on living things, the moon inspires us to create a menu in four variations—an opportunity to meet the plant, animal, land and sea essences surrounding us,” he muses.
The “leaf universe” menu, for example, features different leaves as the guiding element for the dishes. While the “flower universe”, its most colourful menu, boasts “a pictorial and fragrant journey”.
Colagreco will be in the kitchen for the initial set-up period, though 12 of his senior team members—including head chef Luca Mattioli, who has trained with Colagreco for more than five years—will remain in Singapore for the entire duration of the three-month pop-up. “After the set-up and as France moves further out of lockdown, I will return to Mirazur in Menton, hoping for a summer reopening,” he affirms, noting as well that he will be back in Singapore to see the residency through.
It also seems certain to be one of the hottest tables this year. And a first for many of the island’s avid diners who have yet to visit this gem of a restaurant on the French Riviera since it started serving menus aligned with the lunar cycle in June last year. As such, we’re glad that Colagreco made time to share a little more about what we can expect.
Because the dishes at Mirazur are also decisively associated with Menton and local agriculture, how are you able to showcase the restaurant’s unique culinary approach at this pop-up?
Mauro Colagreco (MC) In France, the Mirazur experience is connected with nature and its life cycles. Since the reopening in 2020, we have created four universes according to the lunar calendar and the impact of the moon’s position on the plants in our gardens. Depending on the diners’ date to the restaurant and the lunar calendar, our guests can discover one of our four universes: leaves universe, flowers universe, roots universe, fruits universe.
In today's urban societies, we are increasingly distanced from a regular relationship with nature. This disconnection leads to a loss of trust and instinct. Bridging the gap between our common urbanity and our collective need to reconnect with life cycles is what inspires us the most in our daily work. Decoding nature through our senses, getting to know it better allows us to enter into its intimacy, giving rise to respect and admiration and then the desire to take care of and preserve it.
We want to bring nature and its comprehension to Singapore and thus have created menus according to the four universes we have at Mirazur. The entire experience, from the restaurant design, the menu to the littlest touchpoints, will be evolved according to the universe.
We are excited to be working with local talents to bring the Mirazur residency to life—from the local team of over 55 front and back-of-house staff supporting the Mirazur team; to the local businesses working to recreate a unique Mirazur dining experience in Singapore. They include award-winning local botanical design studio This Humid House for the interior design and botanical arrangements, and Singapore-based art consultancy The Artling for art curation, amongst many others.
How dependent are the dishes you create for Mirazur on what is grown in Menton versus the ingredients you discover on your many travels?
MC As chefs, we have a responsibility to create trends, educate future generations of both aspiring chefs and the public, and are very aware of sustainability. At Mirazur, we aim to use the product fully, respecting its soil, growth, and the product itself at its best. Through our actions and commitment, we can become a role model and inspire others to take up the challenge. This is our contribution to the future.
In Singapore, for instance, rather than heavily rely on ingredients specially flown in, the menu for the residency programme will incorporate local produce and possible items from iconic culinary institutions. The Mirazur team will present a holistic interpretation of Mirazur’s traditional four lunar menus with Singaporean influences and ingredients throughout. This will be a completely unique take on Mirazur’s cuisine.
With restaurants in China, Hong Kong and Thailand, and most recently Carne in Singapore, it appears you have a fondness for Asia. What do you love most about the region and its varied culinary cultures?
MC Asia offers culinary products that we cannot find in Europe, or in South America! I really like the diversity. The idea to have my Argentinian origin in South America, then discover Europe for 20 years and now discover Asia with my restaurants satisfies me.
How real are the chances of you opening a fine dining restaurant in Singapore?
MC Singapore is really one of the most dynamic cities in the world for gastronomy. Having opened Carne earlier this year and now our Mirazur pop-up presented by Mandala Club, we are excited to see what the future holds for us here and look forward to announcing new projects in the next few months. There is such a variety of concepts from street food to fine dining, and all are very interesting. We’ll see what Singapore reserves for us.