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Dolce Vita @ Mandarin Oriental

Housed on the 5th floor of Mandarin Oriental by the poolside is Dolce Vita – an Italian restaurant helmed by a chef whose accolades include Michelin-starred restaurants around the world. Dolce Vita is great for romantic dates, not quite conducive for noisy gatherings like ours since we were intruding into the tranquil ambience created half the time. 

setting

I find joy in noticing details on the table before every meal starts. 

table flowers

Table flowers.

interior

Rest of the large restaurant.

bread

Bread basket was purportedly made from scratch – took quite a while before they could be served. The accompanying sauces were awesome! More so than the carbs themselves which were over baked or just right.

condiments

Loved the tomato paste best – laced with a tinge of spice, a great seasoning!

amuse bouche

Amuse bouche of chicken roll, so very ordinary in the sticky sauce. 

carpaccio

Tartare of grain-fed Angus beef tenderloin with potato nest and poached quail egg

Visually pleasing with novelties like a nest created from potatoes or the mashed egg trail leading to the rudy red looking beef tartare. I possibly cannot tell the difference between sirloin or tenderloin used for the tartate but it was tasty and that was good enough. 

tenderloin tartare

Raw, marinated beef of grain-fed Australian tenderloin with pickled shimeji mushrooms, truffle vinaigrette and arugula cress

Drawn to the shimeiji mushrooms, the thin slices were easy to love especially with all the light flavours thrown in. 

burrata

Traditional Apulia burrata mozzarella cheese, served with heirloom tomatoes, Ardoino olive oil and baby rocket salad

A beautifully presented burrata mozzarella cheese package – just like a parcel. Tasteless to most but I found the bland taste acceptable with the creamy finish. Not too outstanding in terms of flavour though but it grows on you. 

hokkaido scallop

Terrible lighting but the artwork before the broth was drizzled.

lobster

Lobster bisque with seared Hokkaido scallop and basil pesto

Atypical item on the menu for pomp and fuss, plate served with colourful bits first before the bowl is set alive with the broth. Full bodied lobster bisque with a bouncy yet overcooked scallop. Rich flavours that brought this soup to a victorious home run but a second order of it brought it from cloud 9 to ground zero almost instantly. First, the sous chef was tasked to cook the soup instead of the executive chef which they obviously tweaked the recipe and served up mushroom soup instead of lobster bisque. Secondly, the attempt by the executive chef subsequently failed to reach the highs that the first serving brought. 

medley

Medley of oxtail-foie gras cannelloni, spinach-ricotta tortellini and crab-leek ravioli

trio

Two of each pasta dish and the cannelloni was the most appetizing but the oxtail-foie gras stuffing was hardly what was described. Tasted just like pulled pork. The rest were more than forgettable and tragically a letdown for an Italian establishment. Pasta was hard and stuffing mostly bland. We resorted to a dash of Tabasco and a swipe of tomato spread for flavour. 

pasta

Homemade linguine with king prawns, finest selection of seafood, Italian parsley and garlic-olive oil glaze

This was just so average – bland once again and hardly impressive. Seafood aside, this would have been possible for an amateur home chef. Disappointing is the least to say about this.

Service glitches were one too many which resulted in forgotten, wrong and delayed orders. I appreciate the service recovery efforts of the team at Dolce Vita for trying – a dessert each to make up for the subpar experience. 

lychee sorbet

Lychee Sorbet

Served as a palette cleanser in between the delayed course. I was blown away by the rich yet not cloying flavours of lychee. 

white peach

Slow poached white peach with Riesling wine, raspberry cream and Tahitian vanilla ice cream

In essence peach jelly which was sweet and filled generously with peach chunks. I’m through and through a peach fan and found love in this. 

ricotta cheesecake

Italian ricotta cheese cake with lemon confit, blood orange sorbet and jellified mint

Soggy and soaked through, I wonder how long they left the dessert to set. The wonderful part about this was the blood orange sorbet – refreshing and literally made of blood orange concentrate. 

apple tart

Slow baked golden apple with puff pastry, calvados ice cream and Tahitian vanilla sauce

Hardly slow baked in my opinion if what presented was just pureed apples on top a dense puff pastry. Calvados icecream was a brainfreeze, nearly and the rest of it meh-morable. 

creme brulee 

Caramelized Tahitian vanilla creme brulee with morello cherry confit

Looked the best of the lot with a beautifully caramelized sugary layer but the crème brulee was clearly undercooked – totally liquid. 

choc bar

Dark chocolate bar with chocolate sorbet, caramelized orange zest, milk pudding and orange compote

Decent of the lot, the most decent in fact. Layers were not complex but complementary at least. 



tiramisu

Classic Italian tiramisu with fresh mascarpone cheese and savoiardi

Too soggy despite the promising outlook. 

birthday

Chocolate Fudge

For the birthday girl, this soggy chocolate fudge was hardly divine.

The pacing of the meal was bad, intervals between courses were too long as much as I wish for conversation to fill the gaps comfortably. Subpar food despite the kind gestures displayed by the support staff. A great pity infact since they have the makings of a fine dining establishment right down to service but the quality of food is hugely lacking.

Dolce Vita
Mandarin Oriental, 5th Floor

A foodie born to eat, shop and travel. Forced to work.

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