F Una vita più dolce. - jeepneyjinggoy

Una vita più dolce.

“As if the glowing candlelight and the twinkling stars were not romantic enough, he had to light up the night sky with glowing bursts of colors.” 

Romance was in the air and the setting, ideal to get on one knee, pop the question and live happily ever after. Or, it can be the fifth sentence on page 56 of some romance novel (a P.I. Facebook thingy). But if you’re not ready to take that step, your bella will still love the exquisite yet wholesome, and down-to-earth Italian cuisine created by Michelin-starred Chef Marco Pedrelli.

Everyone must know by now what awaits at the Mandarin Oriental, Singapore’s signature restaurant -Dolce Vita. All the components of a dream storia di amore to romance the senses, the palate and the eyesight, yours and hers, are for the taking. Life in this place is nothing but sweet.

Singapore's best. Mandarin Oriental & the signature restaurant, Dolce Vita.

Two years ago, I was wooed into the sweet life by this chic Italian joint over brunch. Has it been that long? The taste of the foie gras was still lingering in my lips and I have returned for a second serving, this time over dinner.

Just like love, everything about Dolce Vita is sweeter the second time around. 

The best tasting Mojitos I've had by far.

Complementing the charming experience of dining was the new pool deck that stylishly transformed the area into a more sophisticated and luxurious niche with its lush tropical landscaping, well-appointed, Oriental-inspired private cabanas, and Italian glass mosaic embellished pool, the vistas are more breathtaking with the addition of Singapore’s new iconic landmarks, the gentle breeze was cool, the stars were out, in preparation for Singapore’s big day, fireworks were tinting the deep blue night with bright hues (as rehearsal, mind you), and most importantly, I was not only in the company of good friends, Karyn and Christian, but of the Dolce Vita’s amazing team as well- Michael Groll, Food and Beverage Manager, Alex Huel, Beverage & Operations Manager & Olivier Durand, Sommelier.

The new pool deck. An urban get-away by day & a romantic hideaway by night.

And the people you should meet & know at Dolce Vita.

Michael Groll, Food and Beverage Manager & Alex Huel, Beverage & Operations Manager

The Sommelier, Olivier Durand

We told the chef to “surprise us” with what Dolce Vita dining is all about. And he did, with tasting-sized courses so we could sample the best of the restaurant’s menu. Olivier, the Sommelier, who paired each dish with his wine recommendations from the wine chiller featuring over a hundred labels of fine wine was our personal tour guide in the world of vino.

The prelude to a magnificent meal.....

Tapas ala Dolce Vita.

Browsed the menu before we finally decided to ask the chef to surprise us with his choices.  The very-efficient food server is Filipina.

For the starters, we had the Millefeuille de Granchio Roiale, Millefeuille of crab, avocado mousse, mango salsa with lemon-olive dressing with the Mount Riley Sauvignon Blanc 2010 from Marlborough, New Zealand; the Burrata Tradizionale, Traditional Apulia burratea mozzarella cheese, served with vine-ripened cherry tomatoes with Esclan, Chateau d’Esclan 2007 from Cotes de Provence, France; and (my favorite) Terrina di Fegato Grasso, Foie Gras terrine with dried fruits and cranberry coulis with Muscat de Beaume de Venise, Domaine Durban 2007 from Rhone Valley, France.

Met the chef for the first time when he presented the starters.

Millefeuille de Granchio Roiale, Burrata Tradizionale & Terrina di Fegato Grasso

My apologies, I don't have the appetite tonight.

I could swear, I was full until the main course came: the Ravioli di Astice, Lobster and leek ravioli with leek coulis and Champagne foam with Pinot Noir, Moorooduc 2008, Mornington Peninsula from Australia; the Orata alle Patate, Pan fried sea-bream with la ratte potatoes, pea puree, accompanied by red wine sauce paired with Ruffino Chianti Classico, Aziano 2008 fromTuscany, Italy; and the Filetto di Manzo, Tenderloin of grain-fed Angus beef with pan-fried foie gras and black truffle jus with Jim Barry The Lodge Hill Shiraz 2008, Clare Valley from Australia.

Orata alle Patate, Filetto di Manzo & Ravioli di Astice.

Actually, I'm on a strict diet. 

Over great conversation about food and travel, we finished our hearty meal. To wave the white flag would be foolish because the desserts were next- the Torta di Mele, Slow baked golden apple with puff pastry, calvados ice cream and Tahitian vanilla sauce, best with Limoncello; the Crème Brulee, Caramelized Tahitian vanilla crème brulee with morello cherry confit with the Amaretto; and the Tiramisu, Glazed mascarpone mousse and white coffee cream, with rum and Marsala wine with the Grappa di Ciocolate.

The chef presents his delectable desserts.

Tiramisu, Filetto di Manzo & Filetto di Manzo. 

Dessert liqueurs: Grappa di Ciocolate, Amaretto & Limoncello.

I'm really not hungry. 

All good things come to an end. The meal, the place and the company were all superb. The memory will be cherished and the imagination will bring back the flavors of the praiseworthy cuisine Dolce Vita is proud of. It’s a no brainer why they have earned accolades from Tatler and Wine & Dine magazines as Singapore’s Best Restaurant and Singapore’s Top Restaurant, respectively.

I will be back, for sure. You should as well, with your bella, to dine and wine and maybe get on one knee and put that ring on her finger. She won’t and can’t say no. Dolce Vita will surely make your lives sweeter, una vita molto dolce.

Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on August 11, 2011.
(not all images in this blog were published in the newspaper issue)

Good friends. Superb meal. Outstanding restaurant. Dazzling backdrop. Unforgettable evening.

La ringrazio molto per rendere la vita più dolce! Chef, Michael, Alex, Olivier & the wonderful staff of Dolce Vita, Daphne for accommodating my request, Suzette for you warm welcome & Paul Jones for having me in your hotel. 

Maraming salamat Alu & Charisse for making all these happen!