A while back, Kaishi and I had the opportunity to dine at Il-Lido, one of Singapore’s top Italian fine dining restaurants. If you’re familiar enough with the local restaurant scene, you will realize that there are a number of “not-bad” restaurants around, including Forlino’s at One Fullerton, which we dined there a year ago (but wasn’t too pleased with the food).
This time, we headed into the hearts of Sentosa and towards Sentosa Golf Club – one of the most expensive term-membership clubs in Singapore, where Il-Lido was located. We had a little bit of difficulty locating the restaurant, for all there was was a knee-height tall signage at the corner of the Golf Club porch (with no arrows leading you to the restaurant!). We walked through a passage of timber planking (which really looked like those leading to the kitchens of the restaurants within), and finally arrived at their entrance.
Humble place, I must say, and very very discreet. No huge signboard, no grand entrance – just a simple, wooden entrance concept.
We stepped in, and yes, the interior immediately exuded a sense of class. This was no Jack’s Place or Swensens – it was pure fine dining. Il-Lido, besides a dining venue for patrons, also serves as a lounge bar in the evening or even during lunch. We did not try their drinks at the bar but rather, settled for their meals instead. I was so caught up in eating that when we finished, the interior lights were off (we sat outside along the terrace) and thus I had to find a courtesy photo as shown below to show the interior of the restaurant.
We chose to dine outdoors and didn’t regret it at all. Although it was a little humid and hot at first, the view and sea breeze that accompanied was definitely worth it. Il-Lido is situated just along the edge of the Sentosa Golf Course, and if you look further downhill, Tanjong Beach is actually a stone’s throw away. The putting green for the golf course was literally next to us and we could see flights of golfers teeing off less than 10 metres away from where we sat!
We were seated and immediately served water and a basket of (crispy) bread (is there even such a term – crispy bread?) While I must say that their staff is extremely attentive and particular, they are, unfortunately, a tad slow in service standards. Our first dish (not even the main course) took quite a while to arrive, by which we were just munching on the bread to keep our stomachs reasonably filled and not over-hungry.
And after a really long wait, our first dish finally arrived! Appetizers!
In case you’re wondering, I shall bring you on a “tour” of the food. Right at the bottom left are two servings of caprese, mainly made up of mozzarella cheese. It was my first time trying a serving of caprese (I understand they’re usually mixed with tomatoes and basil and served as a salad), but I must say the cheese doesn’t smell very distinctive (unlike parmesan cheese which can really blow me off).
Above the caprese lies the goose liver terrine, which I believe is rather similar to foie gras (duck or goose liver). It is a popular delicacy in French cuisine, and really tasted rich, buttery and delicate. To me, I personally found it too rich and buttery for my liking.
The twirling pieces of ham doesn’t need further explanation I believe, other than the fact that the orange-coloured slices wrapping them are slices of rock melon. So there you have it, salty (yes, very salty) and sweet at the same time.
The salmon at the bottom right needs no elaboration too, except that the topping of caviar enhanced its looks (and yes, taste). Right smack in the centre are huge chunks of calamari, something I couldn’t enjoy because of seafood allergies. >.<
We were served our next dish shortly: parmesan cheese risotto with truffle on the left, and garganelli with crab and white wine on the right. Surprisingly, the cheese didn’t smell too distinctive (or bad), but indeed left an extremely jelat feeling in my mouth after a while of it. The garganelli proved to be well-made, with literally chunks of crab meat sprinkled over it. Don’t worry about the “white wine” portion – you can’t even smell it, let alone taste.
We were treated to yet another main course dish of six carefully sliced Wagyu beef cheek with creamy sweet peas and Chanterelle mushrooms, and a huge chunk of roast lamb loin topped with eggplant parmigiana and red wine sauce.
The beef was a tad overdone I feel, though the lamb was extremely tender, and it was really a breeze slicing it off to savour. For people like me who can’t appreciate cream stuff, the beef would taste good but not the creamy sweet peas on top. Extremely creamy tasting, I must say – a combination of cream and sweetness, imagine that.
The last main course dish of the day was served to us (yes, 3 dishes): King Prawns!
Grilled King Prawns with Cucumber and Tomato Salsa
Although I just started eating prawns recently (had my first ever proper serving of Tiger Prawns at China Club earlier this year, which was really fantastic!), I could immediately taste the freshness in these King Prawns served to us. The cucumber and tomato salsa topping did not overwhelm the taste of the prawns (as some restaurants would use garnishing to cover the prawns if they are not fresh) – these were probably picked live from the tank in the kitchen or something like that!
Finally, dessert time! By this time, we were already an hour and a half into our meal, and were relatively full already. However, the slow pace of eating, plus the tranquil feeling (from the sea, scenery, no phone calls, no work stress) made us amazed at the amount we could actually eat!
Ignore the green “signature” below – it does taste sweet but doesn’t serve any purpose for my mouth, I suppose :P Nevertheless, from top left, we have the signature tiramisu, and in a clockwise direction, “Gianduja” chocolate and hazelnut mousse, and finally, the vanilla pannacotta.
I have to admit that while their main courses were quite amazing, their dessert was a notch below what I expected. You could find better tiramisu at TCC, the hazelnut mousse wasn’t impressive, and the pannacotta was, well, too milky. The only satisfying item I had from this dish was probably the chocolate, which was really thick and sweet.
We were given a choice of coffee or tea – I took their tea while Kaishi took their latte (which she claimed wasn’t impressive too). But oh wells, those aren’t worth exactly a lot compared to the meal, so we just took it easy and enjoyed the rest of our time there.
We took a total of 2 hours to complete the entire lunch, or maybe even more than that! Took a few more photos of the surroundings, and a few more of us together for memory, and left the place, satisfied and wishing our meals could be like this everyday. :D
On the overall, I must say that the lunch was really worth it. I came across several bad reviews online about this restaurant, and was a little apprehensive at the beginning about visiting it. But their service standards and quality of food (even though some paled in comparison to other average diners) impressed in generally, not to mention the tranquility you take in from the environment. We were reluctant to return to the city and resume our hectic, stressful lives but I guess all good things must come to an end. I’m sure we will have the opportunity to head back there again in future (or perhaps try another new place and take another 3 hours to eat!)
Il-Lido Italian Restaurant and Lounge Bar
27, Bukit Manis Road
Sentosa Golf Club
Tel: 6866 1977