Italian and Japanese fine dining, together? The very concept piqued my curiosity. Certainly not the most common of fusion ideas, yet an intriguing one at that. If nothing else, La D’Oro seemed a bold step in a unique direction by Chef-Owner Yohei Sasaki.
The menu at La D’Oro renders comfort food of Italian classics done right, with some inspiration from Japan.
Chef Sasaki’s establishment is located in Mandarin Gallery. Hardly 3 months old, it has made a ripple on the local F&B scene, particularly for its omakase experience.
Of his 20 years of culinary experience, 5 were spent in Italy, learning the game from the ground-up. La D’Oro is the culmination of that dedication. Last week, I had the privilege of discovering his mastery for myself.
What I tried at La D’Oro
We started with Raspadura Cheese (S$13) and it was a divine introduction. Served with delicate homemade bread, these miraculously thin shavings of Raspadura cheese are milky and virtually melt on the tongue. I adored the perfumed, sweet and velvety structure and cleaned my plate.
It was followed by Burratina Pugliese (S$20), an artistic presentation of Touhoku Tomatoes Gazpacho with olive oil caviar in basil sauce. This light burrata really stood out against the refreshing, citrusy sauce.
We had the Selection of Cold Cuts for 2pax (S$48) next. It was a 4-corner medley of Prosciutto di San Daniele, Iberico Ham, Mortadella Ham and Italian Salami that went well with cheese.
No question about the quality of the meat but it lacked the inspiration after the high bar set by the previous 2 dishes.
The Trippa alla Fiorentina (S$28) that followed marked a return to that creative sphere. This dish is beef tripe, tomato sauce, Parmigiano cheese and Lavosh. I have never acquired the taste for tripe and I didn’t begin at La D’Oro, either.
Quite the contrast with my dining partner, Aaron, who proclaimed it his favourite dish of the day. He explained that tripe is usually a staple in Chinese pig intestine soup and it was interesting to find it done Italian-style.
Still, I was glad when we moved on to the Tagliatelle Hokkaido Snow Beef A5 Bolognese (S$36). The homemade tagliatelle paired well with the Hokkaido Snow Beef A5 and the rich flavour of the Parmigiano Reggiano.
I was unimpressed when the Pizza Bismarck (S$32) was presented next. “Just pizza?” I thought. But that was before I had a bite.
This, ladies and gentlemen, was my highlight of La D’Oro. For once in my life, I ate all the crust, just because it was so soft all the way through.
Anyone who knows me knows that I would never let the Japanese poached egg sitting the pizza intrude onto my half, though. The mozzarella cheese was just right and not overly cheesy, and the Mortadella ham was the perfect topping.
What a way to end the mains.
Dessert of Tiramisu alla La D’oro (S$18) brought a close to our meal. Both my dining companion and I thought it was the second-best dish of the night. There was just the right amount of Mascarpone Cream— I love it when there’s more sponge so the cake is less airy and more substantial.
Coffee Savoiardi and Coffee Espuma Grue di Cacao added an interesting touch of coffee flavour to the mix. Unusual, yes, but very much in a positive way.
La D’Oro opened in the second half of 2022 and seems to draw a steady crowd, eclectic and curious. Part of the draw is the quiet and subdued opulence of the decor, especially if you consider the private dining room where Chef Sasaki wows with his omakase prowess.
Omakase does have its draw but the regular menu is replete with an array of choices that will dazzle the palate. My favourites were strikingly simple: just pizza and tiramisu. It is a testament to the chef’s skills that he managed to evoke such extraordinary textures and flavours from what we see as ordinary dishes.
What works most strongly in its favour, however, is the affordability factor. While certainly not cheap, the prices at La D’Oro aren’t prohibitive, either. I think it’s well worth the trip down to Orchard Road.
Expected damage: S$32 – S$54 per pax
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