Mirko Febbrile has spent the last eight of his 31 years in Singapore. Most of that time was spent as chef de cuisine at one-Michelin-starred Braci, though the Pugliese native’s most recent and surprising coup came in the form of a hit hawker pop-up in Chinatown Complex hawking handmade pasta.
The chef’s latest challenge – returning to his Pugliese roots and its characteristically unfussy, no-waste fare by way of Fico, a casual Italian diner in East Coast Park.
The 115-seat restaurant, which opened on May 18 at the Bayshore nook of the park, is backed by The Lo & Behold Group, whose portfolio includes the likes of Odette, Claudine and Esora.
Dining space reminiscent of Puglia’s masserias
It is a charming space informed by the design language of Puglia’s masserias (rustic farmhouses) –meaning lots of natural materials, complemented by a soothing colour palette and a lush outdoor terrace with commanding views of the sea.
Fico’s dining room configuration also evokes the Italian spirit of conviviality. Case in point: a centrepiece of a 14-seater communal table that anchors the hall, spurring conversation and sparking friendships with hearty sharing plates and plenty of good wine (from Puglia, of course).
Guests will also be able to watch live pasta makers preparing their meals through the open kitchen while dining off plates designed closely with Pugliese family-run Ceramiche Nicola Fasano, under custom light fixtures courtesy of Parisi 1876 (also from Puglia).
Pasta made fresh
The menu at Fico features Mirko’s takes on the honest cuisine of his home region. Expect fresh seafood and seasonal vegetables designed to be shared with the table.
Small plates include focacinna, the lovechild of pizza and focaccia, served with a classic combination of gulf anchovies, baked black olives and capers, or a pancetta-wrapped wheel of melted Tomino, a mild, pale-yellow cheese which originates from Piedmont outside of Puglia.
You can fill up on medley of fresh pastas like the Denti Del Drago, meaning dragon’s teeth in reference to its rough jagged edges, draped in white ragu; or their sharing mains, including a whole grilled seasonal fish stuffed with Margherita onions, tomatoes and lemon or a grilled pork collar backed up by green asparagus spears and drizzled with colatura (essentially Italian fish sauce).
For a dose of theatricality, a revolving selection of desserts – think pastries, cakes and ice creams – will be wheeled out to guests in a cart.
Come June, Fico will open a dedicated takeway kiosk that serves grab-and-go grub modelled after Pugliese street food favourites including panzerotti (a fried savoury turnover) and burrata gelato, finished with a strawberry tomato jam and lashings of Coratina EVOO.
1300 East Coast Parkway (Next to Carpark F2); ficomasseria.com