Lawson Misquitta experienced a dazzling showcase of Italy’s best at the delightful Mondo, Taste of Italy.

On the same floor as the lobby of the wonderful Diplomat Radisson Blu Hotel, Residence & Spa is a little gem that’s well known for serving authentic Italian preparations – Mondo, Taste of Italy.

We arrived at the restaurant, a larger group than usual, and I found myself particularly delighted since our strength in numbers guaranteed the probability of us being much keener to explore more of Mondo’s broad menu. Heads up – we did!

The spacious interior has been gracefully designed, combining wood panelling and red-brick accents to evoke a sense of stepping into a rustic restaurant that could be stumbled upon on a visit to an old Italian town.

Having dodged the sweltering summer heat, we first scoured the drinks menu and quickly placed our orders, and soon a colourful round of Orange Sunset, Blue Hawaiian and Pink Lady arrived at our table. Cold, refreshing and flavourful we were pleased and ready to kick off our meal. We were also served a complimentary round of thin-crust garlic bread slices along with a tasty sundried tomato sauce.

Then commenced our lunch. First to arrive at our table was a plate of Octopus Salad. Fresh greens, cherry tomatoes, olives, orange segments and capers came doused in a wonderful extra virgin olive oil and lemon dressing. It set the stage for the meaty, tender and perfectly cooked octopus slices, which brought a mildly sweet and pleasantly oceanic taste to the light and enlivening salad.

Alongside this we were served Burrata Pugliese, a creamy, buttery mozzarella from Puglia that came with long, thin strips of charred bell pepper. I’ve had similar iterations of this dish before but mostly paired with tomatoes of various sorts. Unlike them, the texture and the subdued sweetness of the peppers embraced the creaminess and saltiness of the cheese in the most perfect union. Paired with the intense pesto sauce and the umami eggplant purée, this quartet of flavours melded together perfectly as they sang the sweetest of melodies to my taste buds. Oh, happy days!

Next came the Carpaccio of Angus Beef, a palatable serving of marinated raw Angus beef, parmesan cheese, capers and rocket. The beef was so thinly sliced that it immediately melted in our mouths, and the liberal splash of white truffle oil rounded off each bite ever so divinely.

This was followed by two pizzas and a pasta. We tried the Diavola and the Pescatora. Both the pizzas had a great crust that wasn’t too thick or overly thin, it sat perfectly in that sweet spot, balancing between chewy to thin and crispy, which I appreciated. The Diavola was topped with a delicious fior di latte mozzarella and spicy beef salami. While the Pescatora was a feast from the sea with abundant toppings of prawns, calamari, mussels and again, more of that amazing olive oil. The Lobster Spaghetti was an indulgent pasta made up of simple but phenomenal flavours. All of us thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.

For the main course, first came the Veal Chop Milanese, a traditional Milanese dish that comes with a bone-in veal chop pounded until very thin and tender, which is then seasoned, breaded and pan-fried. Served with crushed potatoes that were strongly imbued with garlic and rosemary. The serving was big, but the fusion of the taste, textures and flavours was even more immensely flavourful.

Next came the Grilled Salmon. In my humble opinion, this is the best way to prepare this fish, since grilling maintains the flavour and firm texture of the salmon while still retaining that succulent soft bite, and it also makes the skin exceedingly crispy – just as it was on our plates. Placed stylishly over asparagus, topped with grilled prawns and served with a creamy pink peppercorn sauce, this was among my favourites.

The final main course was the Island Style Seabass. The fish here was cooked in an oven and it was very flaky, moist and juicy with a buttery, tender texture compared to the salmon. Moreover, the dish was mildly flavoured with thyme, Heirloom tomatoes and the thinnest slices of potato, all of which were complementary but let the spotlight stay on that fabulous seabass. It truly was a unanimous hit at the table!

For dessert, we tried the tiramisu which looked irresistible and tasted even better. While the Rich Chocolate Soufflé we indulged in had this delicious velvety molten centre and was served with a mouth-watering Madagascar vanilla gelato. But a clear standout was the Semmifreddo al Limone that was a combination of lemon cake, almond and pistachio crust together with a luscious berry coulis. The sweet preparations met and even exceeded our expectations.

We thoroughly enjoyed Mondo’s extensive menu, a true celebration of classic flavours with a modern twist. The various dishes we savoured showcased some of the best that Italy has to offer right here in Bahrain. We truly had a great time and look forward to our next visit. ✤