Welcome to the Plenitude Suite, a private dining space that was rolled out in modern Australian restaurant Stellar At 1-Altitude in August. Perched on the 62nd level of One Raffles Place, the intimate eight-seat communal dining room gives diners a front-row seat to learning about the provenance of ingredients, such as the caviar, cheeses and beef that are on the menu, while being immersed in the whimsical multimedia projections across the walls and dining tables. To top it off, there’s plenty of champagne to go around to keep the night in high spirits.
The suite is named after the concept of a plenitude, which stands for the maturation period of champagne. Helmed by Stellar’s executive chef, Christopher Millar, the Plenitude Suite typically offers a 10-course menu, which pairs seasonal dishes with Dom Perignon champagne.
In between courses during the three hour-long meal, diners can watch videos of Millar chatting with oenologists and farmers in France. The virtual cross-country trip takes them to the historic Abbey of Saint Peter of Hautvillers in north-eastern France, where Dom Perignon was born, a sturgeon farm run by French caviar producer Sturia in Bordeaux, the Bapt Henri cattle farm and the production houses of acclaimed cheese-maker Herve Mons.
Besides seeing the produce up-front, Millar relishes the opportunity to meet and cultivate a closer relationship with the farmers and food producers. “When we receive these amazing ingredients in Singapore, we don’t know exactly what has gone into producing them,” he says. “These farm trips are about digging deeper; getting to know the farmer and understand what goes into creating some of the most immaculate ingredients. It gives us a whole different perspective and appreciation of the ingredients.”
He says: “Scott is a progressive farmer, who pushes things ahead by using technology to bring out the best of his environment. It is inspiring to meet such custodians of wonderful produce. After meeting them, you feel a greater sense of responsibility to deliver the perfect produce.”
On farm trips, Millar also collaborates with chefs from around the world. As part of his recent trip to Australia, he dropped by his hometown Melbourne to cook with chef and friend Philippe Mouchel, who is the chef-owner of his eponymous French restaurant in Collins Street. Mouchel, who is the protege of the late legendary chef Paul Bocuse, has run restaurants in Australia for the past 20 years. During the trip, the two chefs showcased two ways of cooking with the flat iron cut of the Mayura wagyu — Millar grilled the steak while Mouchel opted to make a classical French dish, beef tartare, which was seasoned with capers, colatura (anchovy sauce) and smoked vinegar.
Millar says: “By doing these exchanges, it allows us to keep learning techniques as chefs and it gets our creativity flowing. We bring what we’ve learnt back into our kitchens.”
Millar says: “Creating this pairing for the Dom Perignon Rose, we used the Mayura oyster blade, which has a complexity to it. It has a rich nutty flavour, which pairs very well with the freshness and vibrancy of the rose.”
The rustic-looking platter, which is draped with pine leaves, houses rolls of chocolate parfait with sherry reduction that resemble coal briquettes, “lump coals” that are charcoal streusel-studded choux puff loaded with rhubarb mousse, and served with a smoky mist from meringue doused in liquid nitrogen.
The biggest spectacle of the night is reserved for the last. Diners are mysteriously blindfolded before they are unveiled to see a shimmering galaxy of candles placed on a starry table backdrop.
Millar hopes that the experiential dining session at the Plenitude Suite can leave an indelible mark on diners through heightening their understanding of the produce and champagne.
Legend has it that when Benedictine monk Dom Perignon first encountered champagne, he famously said “Come quickly, I am tasting the stars.” Quoting Dom Perignon, Millar says: “When diners finish their experience in the Plenitude Suite, they must feel like they have been drinking stars.”
The Plenitude Suite is located at Stellar At 1-Altitude, Level 62, 1 Raffles Place