Sun, 08 August 2021
Our quest for culinary excellence, this month, led us to revisit one of the Kingdom’s most loved hospitality venues, The Diplomat Radisson Blu Hotel, Residence & Spa. I’d heard through the grape vine that their Italian restaurant, Mondo, was getting an aesthetic revamp and exciting new menu with the renowned Chef Raffaele at the helm of the culinary team. The restaurant exudes comfort that is reminiscent of Italy – the perfect setting for a meal with family and friends.
Authentic Italian food has grown to be a favourite in the books of true gastronomers, and rightfully so. To start, we savoured the Crostini Funghi – a delicious starter of perfectly seasoned sourdough bread served with a side of roasted wild mushrooms. This was followed by a divine Carpaccio of Angus Beef that melts in your mouth. It’s beautifully balanced with sharp Parmigiano shavings, fresh rocket, capers and white truffle oil. As we scanned the table, we realised that Mondo has a variety of flavourful vegetarian dishes; so, guests who prefer to go meatless can give the usual fries and hummus a rest and eat to their heart’s content!
Mondo also has a fare of authentic Italian streetfood including one of our favourites, Arancini. The crunchy breaded saffron rice balls are filled with mozzarella and served with Parmigiano sauce. It’s worth noting that one of my favourite starters when it comes to Italian cuisine is Burrata. Few things compare to the cheesy treasure that was their Burrata Pugliese served with charred bell peppers. I was pleased to hear that Chef Raffaele is further perfecting the dish and is meticulously curating each and every item on the menu with the best ingredients (imported from Italy) he can get his hands on both: near and far – the work of a chef that is passionate about his craft!
Next, we tucked into three pasta dishes: Truffle and Ricotta Ravioli, Penne Arrabbiata and Linguine Vongole. Generously embellished with shavings of fresh black truffle, the ravioli is the picture of perfection. It’s tossed in smooth sage butter sauce which gives it a balanced profile of flavours that coat all 10,000 tastebuds – easily our favourite item on the menu.
We were delighted to try the Island-style Seabass next which was cooked to baked to perfection – maintaining the moisture of the fish – a paramount skill when baking seafood. The fish is layered with thinly sliced potatoes, tomatoes and thyme – light flavours that help you appreciate the freshness of the fish. The Lamb Chops Scottadito were succulent and moist – a beautiful shade of pink all the way through and complemented by the fresh mint and apple salsa, and sweet potato fries. The perfect dish for meat-lovers.
To end the meal on a sweet note, we savoured a myriad of desserts, each boasting their own range of textures and flavours. The crunchy canolli with its thick sweetened ricotta filling was heightened by infused candied lemon and orange. This was further perfected with dark chocolate and pistachio. The Espressisimo is a delightful vanilla panna cotta cooked from scratch complete with Madagascar vanilla beans which you can taste all the way through. This is served with an espresso jelly and coffee granita made with coffee straight from Italy. To end our Italian feast the right way, we ended our meal with a classic - Tiramisu – a measure against which most Italian restaurants are rated. Needless to say, Mondo excels in every way – quality food, ambiance and hospitality. We will be back.