Tanushree Mathur discovered the new menu at Mondo Taste of Italy, at The Diplomat Radisson Blu Hotel Residence & Spa, offers an elaborate old country-style feast.

Exuding the kind of atmospheric comfort that is reminiscent of Italy, Mondo’s welcoming interiors are accentuated with soothing colours, wooden flooring and brick walls. Expressing a modern yet cosy and family-driven atmosphere, we were seated right in front of the star of the place – a Neapolitan brick oven that travelled all the way from Italy.

Based on a sharing concept typically served in Italy’s Osterias, the menu recommends ordering several of their medium-sized dishes to make the most of the dining experience and we quickly learned that the ingredients used in the kitchen, from the organic olive oil to the original imported tomato sauce and flour, are all sourced from a small Italian farm.

Our server, Himanshu, soon brought our drinks to the table – a zesty, refreshing, elderflower apple spritz and an authentic Italian drink topped with an orange peel.

Thirst considerably quenched, our much-awaited Italian feast began with a selection of appetisers.

Out came the favourite starter from my last visit, the Frittura del Golfa. A traditional street food dish comprising fried squid and prawns paired with a well-balanced tartar sauce. Every bite felt like the taste of the ocean, and we couldn’t hold ourselves from indulging.

The Octopus Salad was composed of thin tender fresh octopus slices, crispy capers, green leaves, cherry tomatoes, olives, orange slices, EVOO (when olives are crushed into a pulp without any chemicals) and lemon dressing.

The Carpaccio of Angus Beef melted beautifully in my mouth and is made from extremely lean Angus beef that is magically enlivened with a blend of peppery rocket leaves, capers, generous shavings of Parmigiano and a touch of precious truffle oil, which adds to its distinct flavour.

As we made our way through the starters, I found myself being drawn by the smell of freshly baked dough and within minutes out came the first main – the Carpricciosa pizza! An Italian classic made with tomato sauce, mozzarella, olives, beef ham, bell peppers, mushrooms and artichokes. The dough is exactly what you expect. It has that charred flavour from the oven, perfect puffed-up crust and precise texture without being too chewy.

The Tagliata Prime Rib-Eye with blistered tomatoes and chimichurri sauce did justice to this fine cut, starring the meat’s tenderness.

This was quickly followed by a dish that got an ovation from the entire table and is a ‘must-try’ when dining at Mondo – the Lobster spaghetti. The consistency of the pasta was mastered to perfection – not too al dente and far from being too soft. Every strand was covered with the perfect amount of tomato sauce so as to not overpower the sweet delicate flesh of the lobster. The dish was subtly uplifted by the fresh cherry tomatoes, spinach and lemon.

Of course, we could not miss the Risotto ai Porcini which was just the comfort food we needed. Packed with nuttiness from the Arborio rice and rich earthy flavour from the Porcini mushrooms, coated in the super creamy texture of Parmesan cheese and butter, the risotto truly was a gift to our palates.

To end this gastronomic journey, we delved into the dessert selection. I must be honest; I am not a big fan of chocolate, but as soon as the Molten Chocolate Cake made its way to the table, the very aroma had me in a trance. I eagerly waited with childlike excitement, wanting to be the first one to cut through the soft cake and reveal the gooey, warm, dark chocolate centre. My oh my, I was pleasantly surprised. The decadent chocolate, topped with a crunchy wafer-thin biscuit and dollop of vanilla ice cream, took me straight to chocolate heaven! I selfishly cleaned up the entire plate without sharing a single morsel!

And, last but not least came a creamy Semifreddo al Limone, a semi-frozen lemon cake, with almond and pistachio crust, refreshing summer berries and berry coulis. It was the perfect combination of sweet and sharp, just the zesty dessert we needed to end the meal.

Authentic Italian cuisine is something many try and fail to replicate. However, Mondo manages to seamlessly deliver an exceptional experience in every single way. From the relaxing atmosphere to the attentive staff, the quality ingredients and outstanding food, this chic restaurant is one I will continue to rave about! ✤