The Mandarin Oriental, Singapore officially unveiled the refreshed poolside Italian restaurant, Dolce Vita about a month ago and while I have been to the restaurant on multiple occasions, I have not dined there since the refresh. I was recently invited down to the restaurant to check out the modern new interiors and also to enjoy a carefully-prepared meal by one of the chefs to celebrate this joyous occasion.
I arrived at the restaurant ahead of time (the restaurant officially opens at 6:30PM for dinner service) and was promptly seated at the BAY@5 which is a poolside outdoor lounge that is located directly in front of Dolce Vita. I was also offered some water as well as some chips and nuts while I waited for the restaurant to get ready. My table was soon ready and I was shown to my table where I was greeted with a glass of delicious mixed berries and yoghurt (this really is the perfect summer beverage!).
Some freshly-baked sourdough was served alongside a dish of delicious olive oil and the most decadent butter which I simply could not get enough of. Strangely enough, Dolce Vita seemed to have stopped serving the green basil butter - not too sure if this is the new standard though! I worked through the breads pretty quickly and the staff were friendly and attentive enough to offer more which I politely declined (you've got to save some stomach space for the actual food!).
I was first served an amuse-bouche of sicilian lemon jelly and a delicious fennel espuma on top. I loved how special the fennel espuma was and how the slight saltiness contrasted with the citrus flavours underneath it.
The first dish on the menu was the Vitello Tonnato (S$32++) which is essentially a thinly-sliced milk-fed veal loin (underneath) that is served with a special tonnato sauce as well as a selection of seasonal and pickled vegetables on the side. Native to the region of Piedmont, the tonnato sauce is made from anchovies, capers as well as tuna. The sweetness from the pickled onion and the tonnato sauce went marvelously together.
If I had to pick my favourite dish from the evening at Dolce Vita, it would probably be the Tortelli (S$36++) which is stuffed with homemade tomato confit and served with seared langoustine, caciucco, burrata flakes and marjoram.
One of most popular main dishes here at Dolce Vita is the Merluzzo (S$48++) which is a steamed cod fish fillet served with almond milk, water cress, sea urchin as well as long beans. Out of curiosity, I asked the chef on the rationale behind the use of sea urchin and there is actually a special story behind it - apparently sea urchin was used in place of a particular French oyster varietal since the ingredients that they have received were not up to standard once. It is also through this accidental experience that they found out how well the sea urchin is actually complemented by the almond milk (and vice versa).
The final course for dinner was a Tiramisu (S$16++) which is made with mascarpone mousse, Espresso as well as chocolate textures. What impressed me most was perhaps the absence of ladyfinger biscuits - the dessert was held up by the mascarpone mousse and the contrast of textures from the mousse and granulated coffee beans as well as chocolate was an interesting harmony of different components. The Dolce Vita at the Mandarin Oriental, Singapore is a great Italian restaurant that offers a beautiful view of the swimming pool and also the nightly laser show in front of the Marina Bay Sands (so long you get the right tables) - if you are ever looking for a romantic poolside Italian restaurant, this could be your best bet in Singapore!