There’s much more to Italian food than just pizza and pasta.
This is what Luigi Stinga – the new chef de cuisine at Mandarin Grill @ Mandarin Oriental Kuala Lumpur – hopes to instil in Malaysians. Originally from Naples, Chef Stinga joins from a stint at the 2-Michelin star Seta in Mandarin Oriental, Milan, and he draws from this experience as well as flavours inspired by his grandmother’s cooking to create modern dishes with just a touch of rustic familiarity.
The Mandarin Grill has also undergone a facelift and now showcases botanical elements, including light green and turquoise colours that are an expansion of the adjacent KLCC Park’s lush greenery – a veritable oasis in the heart of a concrete jungle. Able to seat up to 76 guests, the restaurant features a private dining room and semi-private dining area, making it ideal for casual meals and special celebrations.
I started off the meal with a creamy mushroom medley, followed by a risotto (the exact names escape me). The risotto was cooked perfectly, with nuanced, cheesy flavours that were not overwhelming.
If you could only order one item, go for the Ravioli Di Baccala – Chef Stinga’s specialty. The dish features cod fish, potatoes and oregano. The flaky texture of the fish disperses its sweet, natural taste with each bite, lovingly enveloped in ravioli which is cooked perfectly. My sample portion only had a few pieces; I wished there was more!
Cernia In Umido, or giant grouper served in miso sauce and celeriac. This had a more East-Meets-West approach, what with the miso and bok choy, but the flavours were well balanced.
Slow cooked lamb with the perfect pinkness and no hint of gaminess.
Of course, one has to keep room for desserts! The deconstructed Tiramisu rounded off the meal on a sweet note, with a wonderful blend of mascarpone cream, coffee and chocolate beautifully presented like a work of art.
Mandarin Oriental Kuala Lumpur, Kuala Lumpur City Centre, 50088 Kuala Lumpur
Opens for lunch and dinner, daily