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Review: A taste of Italy by Michelin-starred Chef Mario Cittadini at Mandarin Grill

This afternoon, we were invited over to Mandarin Grill in Mandarin Oriental Kuala Lumpur to savour A Taste of Italy — a special menu created by Michelin-starred guest Chef Mario Cittadini. Raised in Tuscany, he first cooked in Arezzo, then moved on to Norway, the United States of America, Spain, Australia and China. His intense passion for food, wine and travel combined with his native Italian heart for maintaining and introducing Italian flavours led to the dishes being served at the Mandarin Grill today.

mandarin grill - hokkaido scallops
Seared Hokkaido scallops are artfully placed atop Romaine lettuce leaves and drizzled with passion fruit sauce.

To start, we chose something light and fresh — Seared Hokkaido scallops, Romaine lettuce, passion fruit and bottarga. The scallops were incredibly plump and juicy, each slightly larger than a pingpong ball. Seared to perfection, the surfaces of the scallops were slightly caramelised while the insides maintained a delightful freshness from not being overcooked. The Romaine lettuce leaves added a nice crunch, and the dish had a wonderful light citrus flavour thanks to the passion fruit drizzle.

mandarin grill - tortelli
Parmesan emulsion and black truffle caviar melded together beautifully in these very flavourful tortelli.

Being fans of truffle, both black and white, we couldn’t resist ordering the Tortelli with Parmesan emulsion and black truffle caviar. The beauty of this dish lies in its simplicity. As we popped a whole piece into our mouth, we’re greeted by a comforting tenderness from the pasta. Biting into it, the tortelli shell gives way to a warm, almost caressing Parmesan emulsion. For the cherry on top, the fragrant black truffle caviar added a hint of saltiness and a nice roe texture to the dish.

mandarin grill - chicken breast
Moist and extremely smooth, this is probably one of the best chicken dishes we’ve tasted so far.

For our main course, we chose the Chicken breast chaud froid with savoy cabbage and more black truffle. Chaud froid means ‘hot cold’ in French, used to describe food that was prepared hot but served cold. In this case, the chicken breast was slightly cool, about room temperature. The meat was moist and tender, most unlike how dry and stringy cooked chicken breast can be. The black truffles lent a beautifully fragrant, earthy flavour to the dish and the little turnip halves provided little bursts of watery freshness.

mandarin grill - chocolate tart
If you’re in love with the cocoa, this is an absolute must-have.

If there’s one dish that’s got us singing for more, it’s the Tarteletta al cioccolato — warm dark chocolate tart with salted caramel and vanilla ice cream. As you crunch into the biscuit-like chocolate shell; rich, warm, dark chocolate begins to melt in your mouth. Then, a gorgeous salted caramel flavour flows in and makes the chocolate tart even more indulgent and dreamy. Not gonna lie, we want more of this.

There are three-, four- and five-course lunch options priced at RM148 nett, RM168 nett and RM188 nett per person respectively, while you can also have a five- or seven-course dinner at RM288 nett and RM388 nett per person respectively.

Mandarin GrillGround Floor, Mandarin Oriental, Kuala Lumpur City Centre, 50088 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, +60 3 2179 8960