As a country of food lovers, we’re also known to be a gateway to the world’s food with our diverse cultural footprint and cuisine options. Easily one of our favourite go-to when planning a special date, Italian food has never failed to charm us with its fresh flavours and warm vibes. We caught up with Chef de Cuisine Niccolo’ Ferrazzani, who helms the culinary team at Mandarin Oriental Singapore’s acclaimed Dolce Vita, to find out more about the popular cuisine.
When it comes to refined dining options in Singapore, many Italian restaurants come to mind. What do you think it takes to be a standout Italian restaurant?
Flavour, freshness, and presentation of the food are key elements to be a standout Italian restaurant. On top of that, the level of service standards and overall ambience of the restaurant will also contribute to the dining experience.
Could you share with our readers some tips on what to look out for when picking a good Italian restaurant?
When dining at an Italian restaurant, always look out for handmade pasta and ravioli, the origins of their products, especially for cold cuts and cheeses, and most importantly, the use of seasonal ingredients.
What do you think is unique about Italian cuisine – what sets it apart from other culinary traditions?
I think every cuisine has its own specialities and unique traditions. In Italian cuisine, we place emphasis on the utilisation of seasonal products, and using mostly olive oil as a seasoning instead of artificial alternatives. We also avoid using a mix of multiple ingredients for one dish to ensure the taste and quality of that dish.
What would be three defining dishes beginners must try at any Italian restaurant?
Fresh cheeses like Burrata or Buffalo Mozzarella, handmade pasta or ravioli, and for desserts, beginners should try a classic Tiramisu.
Could you share a few tips with our readers on how to easily whip up a delicious home-cooked Italian meal?
Whipping up a delicious home-cooked meal entails the use of fresh and quality ingredients. It is important to keep it simple with lesser ingredients mixed together so you can focus on showcasing the full flavour of your main ingredient.
Any interesting insights you gained along your journey to share with our readers?
Do not hesitate to try new things. Whether a dish turns out tasting good or bad is all part of the experience, and it will help you dive deeper into different culinary cultures and discover your own tastes. Possess the eagerness to try new foods and cuisines to enhance your culinary skills and knowledge – it’ll also add on to your creativity when you’re trying to whip up a new dish.
What new dishes can our readers look forward to at Dolce Vita in the upcoming season?
They absolutely have to try our signature dishes, such as the Beef Carpaccio, Bottoni, or our handmade Ravioli with marinated red prawns from Sicily and prawn bisque. The Black Ink Tagliolini Pasta with lobster is another key highlight to look forward too. At Dolce Vita, we have special set menus launched every month and for the upcoming month of January, diners can savour a range of tender and flavourful game meats with our curated A Taste of Game Meat menu.
For more information, head over to Dolce Vita’s website here.