South American fine-dining restaurant Araya has opened its doors at the Mondrian Singapore Duxton, joining the likes of Kengo Kuma-designed omakase joint Suzuki as the hotel refreshes its F&B offerings.
Said to be the first South American fine-dining restaurant in Singapore with a focus on Pacific coastal cuisine, Araya will be helmed by a legendary culinary coupling in the form of its namesake, Francisco Araya along with pastry chef and partner, Fernando Guerrero.
Both Chilean-born chefs have an impressive list of credentials on their resume – Araya’s career spans Michelin-starred restaurants like Spain’s Mugaritz and Borago in Santiago.
He is also an alum of the legendary Spanish molecular gastronomy temple El Bulli (now-defunct but reopened as a museum), where he stayed for four years before venturing out and scoring a Michelin star at his Japanese-Latin American joint 81 Restaurant in 2013.
Now though, he’s sharing the stage with wife Guerrero, equally well-armed with international pastry kitchen experience at Alegre in Chile and Napa Wine Bar & Kitchen in Shanghai, as they express South America’s rich interplay of cultures in a chic 30-seater restaurant replete with design elements from the continent.
These include Chilean timber, a malachite table from the Andes, and a blondish-brown hue on the walls that nods to the dramatic sunrises over the South American country.
As for the food, you can expect a hearty Brazilian moqueca (fish stew) uplifted with Japanese kinki (shortspine thornyhead) and a traditional ceviche featuring shio koji-cured scallop as the star alongside a tiger’s milk, ginger and green apple sorbet.
Both flavours and ingredients are part inspired by chef Araya’s time in Japan, and part inspired by the presence of the Japanese diaspora throughout South America.
Elsewhere, you’ll find smoke-kissed Wagyu picanha (sirloin cap), the king of Brazilian steaks, balanced with a bright shallot and raspberry vinegar chimichurri, a koji-marinated pigeon accompanied by aged mole negro (a savoury-spicy chocolate and chilli sauce), arroz caldoso (similar to risotto) and its own offal, along with dessert a la chef Fernanda in a celebration of seasonal florals and milks from across Patagonia.
For now, the restaurant only serves dinner with a fixed menu in the main dining room as well as a private space for more intimate affairs.