For the uninitiated, the Mandarin Grill at the Mandarin Oriental Kuala Lumpur has recently re-opened its doors after a facelift, with the Italian grill focusing on refined Italian cuisine with a modern touch. The dishes are a mix of elevated traditional Italian to Asian touches, from the luxurious sea urchin Cacio E Pepe to their umami spiced Beef Rendang cappelletti.
Mandarin Grill at the Mandarin Oriental Kuala Lumpur
The Mandarin Grill is one of the most established hotel restaurants in town, thanks to their ever changing and hosting of great chefs and restaurants, including world renown Aziamendi 88, serving modern Italian with an Asian twist. The restaurant was refreshed in July 2019 with botanical motifs in its interior. The kitchen is headed by Luigi Stinga who carries a wealth of culinary experience under his belt with stints at multiple Michelin starred restaurants in Italy, such as 1-Michelin star Restaurant I Salotti and L’Accanto; 2-Michelin star Restaurant Quattro Passi, Il Pellicano and Seta; and 3-Michelin star Restaurant Piazza Duomo.
“Throughout my culinary journey, I had the opportunity to meet and work with many influential chefs in the industry. Each of them has distinct character and skills which are incomparable. For example, Chef Antonio Guida whom I have worked with for four years has inspired me a lot. His passion for cooking is contagious and he is very generous with sharing his knowledge and techniques. He has taught me how technology and new techniques can reinvent classic dishes with unique and unforgettable flavours. I had been given a wealth of freedom to experiment and challenge myself in the kitchen under his guidance.” — Luigi Stinga, Chef De Cuisine of Mandarin Grill, Mandarin Oriental, Kuala Lumpur.
Uovo Crema Di Scarmoza, Scorza Nera E Tarfuto
Slow cooked organic egg, smoked scarmoza cream, salsify and fresh black truffle
The egg had the consistency of a soft soufflé, with a texture that blended very well. The scarmoza cream had a milky umami hint of smokiness, with the strands of salsify adding a grainy texture. The black truffle shavings were mild and not overpowering, which is a great companion to eggs in general.
Cappelletto Ripieno Di ‘Beef Rendang’
Homemade cappelletti, beef rendang, aromatic beef and mushroom broth
The cappelletti also known as little hats, had the right consistency in dough, not too thick, not too thin, was filled with a punchy and spicy beef rendang, soaking in a savoury and umami heavy beef and mushroom broth, balancing the heat from the rendang out. Definitely one of the more Asian take on a a very traditional Italian dish.
Tagliolini Alla Chitarra Cacio E Pepe Con Ricci Di Mare
Tagliolini, pecorino cheese, black pepper and sea urchin
Easily one of Italy’s most famous dish, the cacio e pepe was made with tagliolini, being one of the best sizes to enjoy the simple complexity of the humble pepper and pecorino dish. The pasta was al dente, which worked well with the egg emulsion, topped off with a large sliver of sea urchin, adding a briny umami sweetness.
Agnello Su Crema Di Cipollotto, Patate E Limone Nero
Lamb, white spring onion, potato and black lemon
The lamb was cooked pink, with very little gaminess, sitting on a layer of mashed potato, with cylinders of roast potato adding a fluffy bite. The onion added a crispy texture, but what was the most interesting was the use of black lemon (more accurately lime), also known as loumi, an ingredient which is more commonly found in Middle Eastern cuisine, adds a depth of sour-bitterness.
Coffee cream, mascarpone and cocoa powder
This dish was not only beautiful to see, but also lives up to its name, to pick one up, as it was light and fluffy. The modern take on the Italian classic was light with dollops of coffee cream and chunks of savoiardi adding that unmistakable flavour.
Panna Cotta Alla Vaniglia E Kumquat
Panna cotta, vanilla and kumquat
For those who like the heavier set style of panna cotta, this dish would tickle your fancy with its woody sweetness from the vanilla and citrusy sweetness of the kumquat.
The Mandarin Grill Experience
The Mandarin Grill is is one of the more understated restaurants, where they have successfully married both local flavours without losing touch to what makes Italian cuisine so rustic and special. The elevated and refined touch does pay the right kind of homage you would look for in an Italian restaurant, with flavours that are familiar to us, with spice and punch which we know all too well. The Mandarin Grill is definitely one of the better modern Italian restaurants you will find out there.
Mandarin Oriental Kuala Lumpur
Kuala Lumpur City Centre,
50088 Kuala Lumpur
+603 2380 8888
Wednesdays to Sundays, 12.00 pm to 2.00 pm; 6.00 pm to 10.30 pm
Closed Mondays and Tuesdays.
| PHOTOGRAPHY: NICHOLAS NG & MANDARIN ORIENTAL KUALA LUMPUR | WEBSITE: MANDARIN GRILL |