At this modern Italian-Japanese restaurant at Mandarin Gallery, diners may choose between all-day dining Italian small plates or a hidden omakase room
You may judge La D’Oro by its looks, but this is a restaurant with many hidden depths. Opened in September, it is luxuriously decked out with palazzo gates, bold black frames and a golden glow from a centrepiece light fixture. La D’Oro means gold in Italian after all, but its real treasure is chef-owner Yohei Sasaki who helms the modern Italian-Japanese menu with aplomb.
This is chef Sasaki’s first venture after over 20 years of culinary adventures around the world, including 17 years in Italian restaurants in Italy, Japan and Singapore. You may remember him from Il Cielo at the previous Hilton, where he perfected his signature linguine with Hokkaido sea urchin and Sardinian bottarga.
There are two choices of menu: the casual main dining room where he serves small plates, and the hidden omakase room where he serves a sophisticated lunch and dinner omakase. The two spaces are divided by the enormous wine cellar which holds the restaurant’s many Italian bottles.
The small plates of ‘Italian tapas’ as chef Sasaki calls it are well portioned for casual nibbles or a more substantial lunch or dinner while in Orchard Road. We enjoyed the Capesante Inpanata ($32), two pieces of charcoal crusted Hokkaido scallops with black truffle shavings, where the Hokkaido scallop was larger and juicier in every way. Trippa alla Fiorentina ($19) featured perfectly braised tripe in a tomato sauce with Parmigiano Reggiano, while the Touhoku Sword Fish & Chips ($24) sees a deep-fried swordfish sourced from the north of Japan with the unusual meatiness of chicken, paired with wasabi mayonnaise and seaweed chips.
If you enjoy the small plates, you are highly recommended to take on the current winter omakase. It starts with a trio of appetisers in a glass tower, then continues to dishes like the amberjack with daikon, a traditional Japanese dish reinvented with soy sauce and Madeira wine jus. The favourite dish, though, has to be the pasta course. With king crabs in season, housemade Fedelini pasta is playfully served with Hokkaido king crab and crab bisque dipping sauce in a crab shell. There’s a secret noodles dish if you’re not full - chef Sasaki will offer a special aglio olio with housemade chicken kombu stock simmered for 8 hours, using a very firm pasta made in-house which is reminiscent of.
La D’Oro Restaurant
Price: From $158-258 for omakase; around $80 per person for small plates menu
Address: 333A Orchard Road, Mandarin Gallery, #01-16/17 Singapore 239987
Telephone: (65) 6238 2388