Paired to perfection

Stinga (left) and Mandarin Oriental Kuala Lumpur general manager Christian Tavelli.

IMAGINE being seated in a restaurant overlooking a beautiful park, while serenaded by violinists.

And while taking in the ambience, the delicate flavours of fine Italian cuisine leaves an impression on the taste buds.

That is the classy experience one gets when dining at Mandarin Grill in Mandarin Oriental, Kuala Lumpur, which reopened after several months of closure due to the movement control order (MCO).

Bringing to life the culinary wonders is chef de cuisine Luigi Stinga, who has masterfully fused classic Italian elements with local ingredients.

To say that the Uovo Crema Di Scarmoza, Scorza Nera E Tartufo (Egg Scarmoza Cream with Black Peel and Truffle) was delightful is an understatement.

The appetiser had the right firmness and balance of flavour.

The combination of eggs and Italian curd cheese was a treat to the palate.

Finely grated black truffle added to the presentation and gave the dish a pleasant, earthy flavour that balanced the buttery yolk.

The Tagliolini Alla Chitarra Cacio E Pepe Con Ricci Di Mare (Tagliolini with Cheese and Pepper and Sea Urchins) is a dish to remember.

As the friendly waiter served up a plate, the enticing aroma of pecorino was hard to miss.

Each strand of pasta was creamy, and the addition of black pepper gives a pleasant mix of piquant and spice.

The Cappelletti Ripieno Di “Beef Rendang” E Brodo Di Funghi Alle Spezie (Cappelletti Filled with Beef Rendang and Spiced Mushroom Broth) was the highlight of this dining experience.

This dish successfully showcased two culturally distinct traditions on a plate, by combining a classic Italian meal with the traditional rendang.

Cappelletti, which resembles the shape of a hat, is rather interesting. Traditionally, the pasta dough is filled with stewed meat, cheese and some spices.

But Stinga departed from this tradition and opted for beef rendang instead, to give diners a taste of both worlds.

The rendang filling had just the right blend of spices and was not spicy.

While the light mushroom broth in which the cappelletti were soaked in was pleasant on its own, tasting it together did wonders in bringing out the flavours.

Agnello Su Crema Di Cipollotto, Patate E Limone Nero (Lamb on Onion Cream, Potatoes and Black Lemon) was a sumptuous treat, and ideal to satiate one’s appetite.

The lamb was prepared just in between rare and medium rare to enable diners to appreciate the juicy flavours of the meat. The tender meat was served with potatoes and a thick onion puree.

Carnivorous connoisseurs will definitely enjoy this hearty serving.

The sweet and sour onion puree complemented the smoky and rich lamb texture.

By this time, I was already full, but nonetheless eager to try the desserts.

The deconstructed tiramisu did not disappoint.

Its elegant presentation was nothing short of fine, culinary artwork.

The Panna Cotta Alla Vanigla E Kumquat (Panna Cotta with Vanilla and Kumquat) was an exquisite treat for the eyes and palate. The cream was velvety with a pleasant sweetness. Combined with the thin chocolate on top, this dessert was simply irresistible.

MANDARIN GRILL, Mandarin Oriental Kuala Lumpur, Jalan Pinang, Kuala Lumpur City Centre. (Tel: 03-2380 8888) Business hours: Wednesday to Sunday, noon to 2pm (lunch), 6pm to 10.30pm (dinner).

This is the writer’s personal observation and not an endorsement by StarMetro.

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