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Island Dining: Il Lido Singapore

Published 02 April 2007   

Il Lido restaurant dishes its culinary magic in Singapore’s resort island of Sentosa. Melanie Lee takes a bite.

Tourists who come to Singapore usually visit Sentosa, a popular destination with beaches, clubs, golf courses, nature trails and historical monuments. Lately, however, it’s also become a popular place for fine dining with one of Singapore’s best Italian restaurants – Il Lido – located in the heart of this holiday wonderland.

Established last February, Il Lido has become immensely popular with food connoisseurs here, with full bookings even on weekdays and long waiting lists. This comes as no surprise, given that its restaurateur, Italian Beppe De Vito, pulled no stops in creating the ultimate island dining experience with inspiration from Venice’s Lido Island. The result? Stylish Italian furnishings such as colourful designer Philippe Starck Perspex chairs specially purchased from Italy, and celebrated Italian chef Osvaldo Forlino, the only chef in Singapore who has earned a Michelin star, to head the kitchen. To top it off, this restaurant breezily faces the South China Sea, which means diners are treated to magnificent sea views and gorgeous sunsets.

In short, Il Lido is all about living la dolce vita (“the sweet life”). The pampering starts soon after my arrival, when a friendly waiter serves me a glass of chilled Jacques Selosse champagne, a boutique label that is known to taste as complex as burgundy. I find out later that Il Lido carries over 100 labels of champagne and sparkling wine, most of which are exquisitely rare, such as Billecart Salmon and Cedric Bouchard.

When it comes to the food, everything, right down to the crunchy basil and oregano garlic bread served on a unique metallic basket, strives to be creatively unique and of course, absolutely delicious. Chef Osvaldo’s years of experience working in his Piedmont family restaurant, Forlino, means that he knows the best Italian farmers and suppliers to get the freshest premium ingredients for Il Lido.

My dinner starts out with an interesting dose of flower power – I have the fiori di zucchine fritti con robiola e fegato d’oca ($32) – deep-fried zucchini flowers with goose liver and robiola cheese as an appetizer. At first, I am a little hesitant to try these bright yellow petals. In the end, the wonderful floral aroma piques my curiosity and I discover that the sweet-tasting flower is a wonderful complement to the rich tastes of the liver and cheese.

Next on my plate is the fettuccine al granchio con porcini, pomodori pachino e bottarga (fettuccine with crab, porcini mushrooms, pachino tomatoes and grey mullet bottarga, $35). This is a hearty pasta dish that stands out for me because of the thin slices of bottarga. This Italian specialty is a type of salted fish roe that brings out the flavours of the crab and mushroom in my pasta, and leaves a delightfully salty aftertaste.

The highlight of the meal has to be the piccione in due modi con fichi e purea alla salvia (two ways pigeon with pan roast breast and confit legs, roast figs and sage mashed potatoes, $68). This little birdie is cooked to perfection in its tender, pan-roasted form, as well as a succulent confit. Usually, meat confits tend to be quite dry and salty, but in this case, it seems to be just right, and the accompaniment of figs gives the perfect sweetness to the pigeon meat.

And if we couldn’t be spoiled any further, dessert ups the level of decadence with cioccolato gianduja con crema di mascarpone e croccante di nocciole piemontesi (gianduja chocolate mousse with mascarpone cheese cream and piedmont hazelnuts, $15), a creamy, crunchy creation that brings out a lot of contented sighs.

There is this sense of luxurious escapism when one dines at Il Lido – going to a small island away from the city and dining at a restaurant that feels like a Mediterranean resort. In fact, Il Lido has perfected this fantasy dining formula by offering luxury cruise meals on Beppe’s own yacht for small parties of 16 people. You can be sure that I will make my way there one day, once I get through that long waiting list. Like everybody else, I find it hard to resist the island lifestyle that Il Lido creates so impeccably.

Il Lido
Sentosa Golf Club
27 Bukit Manis Road
Singapore 099892
Tel: +65 6866 1977