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Since arriving at Mandarin Oriental, Kuala Lumpur in late 2021, Chef Marco Caverni has been busy revamping the menu. Read on for our verdict.

Mandarin Grill's new chef de cuisine Marco Caverni brings with him a rich culinary experience from Italy, China, Singapore, Jakarta, and Seoul, his last posting before Kuala Lumpur. Taking inspiration from Venetian traditions and his love for Mediterranean flavours, the refreshed Mandarin Grill menu is a direct reflection of Caverni's trained palate and extensive experience.

“After four years in Seoul, I was looking for my next step and joining a company like Mandarin Oriental in a multicultural city like KL was too good an opportunity!” he declares. “Having the chance to reopen Mandarin Grill is an honour and an exciting challenge. It’s a great place to bring more authentic Italian flavours to the city!”

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Our meal kicks off strong with the Antipasti Misto, a comprehensive appetiser platter that changes daily based on market availability. Today's platter consists of a range of textures and tastes—think beef bresaola, cherry tomato bruschetta, zucchini and ricotta rolls, and even escargot. But we reserve special affection for the  perfectly breaded fried arancini.

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More appetisers arrive at our table and we highly recommend the Carpaccio di Capesante, a scallop carpaccio with citrus spicy marinade, and Carpaccio di Manzo, a Wagyu beef carpaccio with roasted mushroom and truffle. Every bite tastes fresh and refined.

 

Caverni demonstrates his skill magnificently in the execution of the Dry-Aged Argentinian steaks. We order both the ribeye and sirloin, and they did not disappoint. No seasoning or sauce is needed for them to taste like a beautiful symphony of delicious flavours. The smokiness, courtesy of rosemary and Mandarin Grill’s Josper grill, is hard to miss.

"At Mandarin Grill, we have a great selection of steaks," says Caverni. "When it comes to steaks, it's important to source your meat from a good producer and cook it in the right way. My personal favourite is the Sher Wagyu ribeye."

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We swap our steak knives for forks, ready to tackle the pastas. The Ravioli di Gamberi, a homemade ravioli with tiger prawns, saffron and burrata, is perfectly packed and sealed, leaving no room for them to escape the pasta pockets.

The Risotto Al Funghi with ricotta and porcini mushrooms is topped with fresh truffles. “It's rich yet refined and delicate,” describes Caverni.

Then there is the absolutely delightful Tagliolini Al Nero con Astice, homemade squid ink tagliolini served with a charred lobster with bisque on the side. This dish is the poster child of Mediterranean flavours, having been seasoned with the region’s signature herbs and plated to perfection.

Always leave room for desserts. A favourite of Caverni is the Pandan Leaf Panna Cotta that marries local flavours with an Italian classic. The presence of pepper may be unusual but it lends a surprisingly welcome touch of warmth.

See also: 7 Malaysian Chefs Share The Foods That Remind Them Of Home

“Mandarin Grill is a place to enjoy an authentic Italian meal in a fine ambiance. I want my guests to feel at home because that's how Italian food is supposed to make you feel," states Caverni.

  • ImagesMandarin Oriental, Kuala Lumpur
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