The high-end dining scene in Singapore has been blazing hot recently with a slew of much-anticipated openings hogging lifestyle headlines.
The latest to tempt palates is Fiamma, aptly named after the Italian word for “flame”, representing a burning passion for cooking and the warmth to be had from dining with well-loved family members and friends.
Located within Capella Singapore and taking over The Knolls, it stands out for being a celebrity-driven concept, both in the kitchen and design.
No stranger to the resort, Fu previously saw to the refurbishment of Capella’s Chinese restaurant Cassia and its guest rooms and villas, and is a frequent guest.
The prolific creative admits though, that designing Fiamma is “probably the ultimate highlight” so far.
“I have very fond memories of the hotel. Probably one of them is of the tiered swimming pool with the Balinese stone and old banyan trees that are being preserved,” says Fu, in an exclusive virtual interview with us from his base in Hong Kong.
With Fiamma overlooking this view, he knew his starting point was to ensure a continuous flow through a unified experience.
“I questioned myself about how I could integrate the surroundings into the restaurant and make it a seamless, more cohesive experience from the indoor to out.
“That is the joy and uniqueness of the site, which is the aspect that I really want to celebrate – because where else will you find something like that in Singapore?”
The restaurant that stands today embodies all these traits, albeit in a subtle manner that complements than competes for attention – including with the food.
Dubbing the style as “rustic modernism”, Fu applied onto the crescent-shaped floor plan a spatial experience that is layered yet lively and interconnected.
It is carved up into five sections with windows running down the length to maintain strong visual ties to the outdoor.
“Even though it is very long and lean, there are different rhythms and moments curated within this journey.
“It's choreographed with a level of personality to engage the guests so that every time they come, they can have a slightly different experience.”
Commence at the reception that sets the tone with its low-slung armchairs and tables woven from rattan.
Immediately inside it is the Den, where one wall is lined with the wine fridge displaying labels from all over the world, especially Italy.
Next come the areas where the cooking takes centrestage, with first the Kitchen followed by the Pizza Chambers.
Beyond that is the Living Room or the main dining space, after which is the private dining room.
Al fresco seating is available too on the terrace, where the occasional dining companion might be a peacock and its family.
Although Fu uses the word “rustic” in describing Fiamma’s style, it is not a euphemism for basic – in fact, there is a lushness to the interiors, brought about through the colour palette and choice of materials.
Earthy browns, burnt or dusty orange, blush and touches of aubergine are used throughout.
Timber beams stretch across the ceiling, wrought iron fixtures act as accents and on the floor, Portugal Cinza stone tiles with a colour gradient have been used.
In the private dining room is a wall-hanging tapestry in mineral blue and turquoise that he personally designed, with a clear modernist flavour to it.
“Yes, it is a little pared down in a dark but very luxurious way,” admits Fu.
“The feeling I am trying to project is to bring in the light and tropical landscape from the outside.”
“Fiamma is one of those restaurants where the design is meant to be chic but in a quiet way, through the subtle undulation of hues and textures.”
More of a slow burn, and less of a raging inferno then? We totally get it.