I have always been a huge fan of the Mandarin Oriental, Singapore (as well as the larger Mandarin Oriental brand). Having stayed in the Singapore, Taipei and Kuala Lumpur properties, Mandarin Oriental to me, is synonymous to some of the greatest luxuries and indulgences one can partake in. As such, when I was graciously extended an invitation to personally experience Chef's Table with Chef de Cuisine Omar Bernardi at Dolce Vita, I was excited!
With a seating capacity of just six, Chef’s Table at Dolce Vita runs every Friday for S$150++ per person. During this dinner setting, you will get to experience a delectable six-course dinner menu (crafted from the best of seasonal ingredients and therefore, change from time to time) created before your very eyes. Specially curated wines will also be paired with your dinner by the award-winning sommelier, Inthran Ramasamy - so honestly S$150++ per person is not that much to pay!
I really liked the intimacy of the whole Chef's Table dinner - it was extremely personal and watching how beautiful (and delicious) food get created before your very eyes is quite an amazing experience. I also love how you can (and should!) have conversation with Chef Omar as he meticulously and somewhat effortlessly create the most beautiful dishes.
The first course of on the Chef's Table menu (once again, remember this menu changes from time to time due to the seasonality of fresh produce) was the Beetroot and Goat Cheese Composition, Quinoa, Sorrel, Cress. Since I do not actually enjoy goat's cheese (or any strong-smelling cheese), I did not particularly fall in love with this one - everyone else loved it though! Remember you should always communicate your dietary requirements and preferences to the chef as soon as possible for you to take full advantage of the dining experience.
The next dish was one that I really loved. The Sweet and Sour Sardines, Pine Nut, Raisin, Crisp Herb Bread was also paired with a glass of Prosecco from Col Vetoraz. According to Chef Omar, the dish was a reinterpretation of the traditional le sarde in saor. I love how the dish was being deconstructed to its individual parts - particularly the onion separation which I personally thought was pretty smart.
The third dish sampled was the Seared Prawns, Soft Polenta, Sage, Garlic Chips paired with a Pinot Grigio from Alois Lageder. Before I go into the food, can I just say how beautiful this wine is? Even though I am generally not a fan of pinot grigio since it can get quite dry, I really love how clean and crisp this one was. Also, while every component of the dish was executed well, I thought that the polenta really stood out from the rest.
This somewhat intimidating-looking Green Pea Risotto, Smoked Eel, Salmon Roe, Butter Sauce was the fourth dish that I sampled. The dish was also paired with a glass of Sauvignon Blanc from Lis Neris. Watching Chef Omar prepare this dish was kind of like living in the dream - you see how effortlessly he prepared the eels for the dish and how risotto is cooked (which by the way is a lot more difficult than you think!). Visually, I love the way the colours pop - green, yellow and orange. With all that being said, the taste of the dish is the true winner though!
As the fifth and final course before dessert, the Plancia Red Mullet, Confit Langoustine, Roasted Almond was paired with a Chardonnay from Vie Di Romans. Confit Langoustine is hard to prepare and truly, the last thing you want to do is to destroy an expensive ingredient like langoustine. Like all the other dishes presented, the dish was stunning on the eyes and on the palate.
Finally for dessert, a glass of Moscato d'Asti from Michele Chiarlo and the specially-prepared Milk Jam, Hazelnut Crunch, Vanilla Apricot Ice, Apricot Coulis. Even though I am not generally a dessert person, I finished this dish down to its very last bit. I loved the dulce de leche, the apricot ice cream and the slight tartness of it all.
While I have been to Dolce Vita at the Mandarin Oriental, Singapore previously, dining at the Chef's Table is a complete and I would dare say a defining experience. If you love quality Italian food and you respect the art of cooking, I simply cannot recommend spending a Friday evening here enough. For reservations, kindly call +65 6885 3500 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.