Mondo Mio Italian Restaurant is one of the numerous establishments in Roberston Quay which we might have passed by before but never really take notice, until we were made aware recently that the Southern Italian restaurant has introduced a collection of off-the-menu specials on top of a freshly revamped menu in light of its 10th anniversary.
What?! 10 years! I was pretty astounded for it's no mean feat for any independent dining joint to survive this long in our competitive local F&B scene. Foodies (myself included) can be an "unfaithful" bunch as we are always in search of NEW openings, or the next Instagram-worthy darling.
How did Mondo Mio manage to survive for so long? Two reasons came to mind: Either the food is damn good, or .....
..... the owner is damn rich with strong financial backing to continue fueling the operations. Lol!
I chose to believe the former as my eyes scanned through the menu of Appetizers, Pastas, Pizzas, Mains and Desserts, all designed to showcase the vibrant flavors of Southern Italy. Quite an extensive choice of familiar favorites, and pricing is not too high. The combination of these two factors must have quite a crowd-pleasing appeal.
We tried some ala-carte items, as well as the 10th anniversary 4-course Set Menu. Available from 25th September to 15th December 2016, the set features a selection of seasonal dishes and evergreen signatures at only $45++ per person. Prices indicated below are what we have to pay if we order each dish individually, so you can see that the set menu is a very value deal.
Our meal commenced on a delightful note with Grilled Zucchini ($14) wrapped around mozzerella and ham with mint bechamel, best enjoyed by popping the whole parcel into the mouth and savoring all at once the crunchy, soft texture, and smokey, salty, minty flavors which the combination brings.
The Bay Leaf Steamed Cod ($16) with grapefruit, mandarin, kiwi and orange olive oil was pleasing with its light, refreshing taste but I thought the fish was a tad overwhelmed by the melange of fruits which threw the balance a bit off. What is the dish's focus? The fish or the fruits? Hmm.....
Moving on next to the more substantial pizza and pastas, among which I would recommend the Rocket Pesto Pizza ($22) that stood out for its unique flavor.
Instead of the typical basil pesto, Mondo Mio uses rocket leaves which lends a slightly bitter profile that actually works very well in cutting through the heaviness of the carb-loading flatbread to some degree.
The pizza dough is made in-house with a straightforward mix of water, flour and natural yeast, forming a crisp, thin-crust base for the spread of rocket and roasted pine nut pesto, salami, ricotta, melted mozzarella and fresh cherry tomatoes. I wouldn't mind if those salami slices are more generous, but overall this pizza was a highly, delectable treat.
Aside from pizza dough, Mondo Mio's pasta are also methodically kneaded, rolled, cut and shaped every week by the head chef himself. There are at least seven types of pasta including ravioli, gnocchi, trofie and black olive tagliolini.
Homemade Gnocchetti in Scampi Salsa with Saffron & Prawns ($28) is a new addition to the repertoire of pasta, and so is the limited-edition Homemade Tagliatelle with Eggplant Sauce & Sautéed Crayfish ($26).
I like the latter where ribbons of broad, flat noodles are smothered in an utterly tasty eggplant, tomato and basil sauce. The eggplant provided that enjoyable creaminess mouthfeel, instead of the usual cream. If the pasta itself can have a more al-dente bite, it would be perfect. But then again, I was reminded that our group could have taken too long with the photos. Oh well.....
We also had the Pounded Veal Fillets ($24) with Marsala red wine and roasted vegetables which is part of the set menu special. The meat was pounded till thin and then coated in cornstarch and finished in a pan with butter. It was generally agreeable but definitely lacked the satisfaction a thick, juicy slab of steak can give. Just my personal preference lah.
Desserts offerings includes Pistachio Tiramisu ($12) and Cannoli ($12) filled with ricotta Chantilly cream and diced pear.
While it wouldn't be correct to say everything I tried here is delicious, it's not too bad either. And only $45++ per person for the 10th Anniversary 4-course set menu? Quite a good idea if you're looking for dining in comfortable ambience with decent food at a pocket-friendly price.
Mondo Mio Italian Restaurant
Address: 30 Robertson Quay, #01-02A Riverside View, Singapore 238251
Contact: +65 6736 2503
Opening Hours: Daily Lunch 11am-2pm & Dinner 6pm-10.30pm
Prices are (1) Stated in Singapore dollars (2) Subject to 10% service charge & 7% GST (3) Correct at point of published date.