SINGAPORE—I’m standing in front of the blue parlour walls of Riviera Forlino, staring intently at a curious painting of a Renaissance-ish woman, one arm on the hip, standing behind a drink stall that won’t look out of place in a typical hawker centre. To her right, is an acrylic sign that reads ‘SELF-SERVICE’ with a mini Singapore flag hanging to its side. In front, rows of bottled beverages are neatly lined up for the customers’ perusal; all evenly lit up by the glow of a lone white fluorescent tube.
It’s a digital artwork by Digital Art Director, Hafiiz Karim who also goes by the moniker @thenextmostfamousartist on Instagram. It’s an arresting and energetic visual, and one that I am compelled to extrapolate because of its poetic contrast against the gilded dining room of Riviera Forlino that’s awash with light reflecting off the surfaces of luxe white linens.
The discovery of this local artwork is a pleasing circumstance especially when I’m here not under the guise of art but to experience Riviera Forlino’s revamped menu under newly minted Executive Chef Rémy Carmignani who, in his food, exemplifies a deep appreciation for Mediterranean cuisine. It’s a bold pivot from Riviera Forlino’s previous venture in Italian fare and a deep-dive into the flavours of the Mediterranean, though at times less apparent than I’d prefer.
It starts with an amuse-bouche of a pleasantly sweet Cauliflower Parfait sitting on a sturdy disc of Parmesan cheese sablé that demands to be wolfed down promptly in one swift bite. There’s smoked herring caviar at the peak of this dome that balances out this small thing of a crown with a hit of savouriness. It is followed swiftly by a Focaccia bread with chunky bits of tangy sun-dried tomatoes which is giving me some much needed Italy vibes.
In the menu, a bowl of starters is referred to as Wild-Caught New Zealand Langoustine, conjuring images of langoustine taking centre stage. But in actuality, it’s an elegant and elevated presentation of tomatoes with a side of langoustine which is not really that bad of a thing.
There’s a translucent tomato jelly made from cherry tomato water which is mild and in sharp contrast to the orange tomato vinaigrette which is both bright in hue and flavour. The trio of pomegranate, Kiwi, and mustard seeds lends a subtle sweetness to the entire presentation just enough to not detract from the delicate beauty that is langoustine.
The Hand Made Tortellini is a pretty pair of tender, slow-braised tangia-styled lamb shoulder wrapped in tortellini. Some would say that this lamb is perfect for people who don’t like the gamey overtones of lamb. I tend to disagree, especially when the magic and draw of lamb is in its gaminess which, although in small quantities like in this presentation, is still, regardless, quite pronounced.
There’s just no going around it although it helps that there are goat cheese cream and preserved lemons inside this tight little package rendering a beautiful balance between meat, acidity and salt. I especially liked that the broth sits in, comes from the rendering of lamb shoulder, which further adds to the overtures of meaty goodness.
My favourite course, without doubt, is the Lobster & Shellfish Bouillabaisse, which I have dreams of almost a week later. In this simple bowl of extravagantly moreish goodness sits a piped garlic parmentier—mashed potato mixed with fresh garlic and cream—alongside lobster and scallop pieces that is unashamedly briny, just the way I like it.
While the seafood is lofty in ambition, it is the creamy lobster sauce that completely stole the spotlight. It’s a magical reduction of lobster, cream, shallots, garlic, and thyme with a pronounced brininess that makes my heart sing.
There are lots to praise and compliment with this menu—even if at times its brilliance seems to come across almost accidental. Like the Riviera Vacherin which is a brilliant thing of a dessert with bold, contrasting flavours and textures—sweet against sour, brittle against soft.
Inside, is a creamy ricotta gelato (the second cheese gelato I’ve had this week—I’m not complaining in the least) topped with a pistachio chantilly, lemon gel, and sweet, sweet meringue. If I could, I would rise and give this dessert applause. Perhaps, for Riviera Forlino, second time’s really the charm.
Website | 1 Fullerton Road #02-06, One Fullerton, Singapore 049213
Monday to Friday: 12pm - 2.30pm (Lunch) | 6.30pm-11pm (Dinner)
Saturday: 6.30pm-11pm (Dinner)
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