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04 January 2013

Christmas Lunch at Dolce Vita

Despite this being our third Christmas living in Singapore this was the first year we spent it here.  The first year we went to Melbourne to stay with friends and last year we were back in the UK.  I always struggle a little to get into the festive spirit here which I put down largely to the fact it's hot and this is when I'm really reminded how far away all our family and UK friends are.  Despite that though I was determined to make the most of our Christmas in Singapore and enjoy the festive period.

As it was only going to be the two of us (and George) for Christmas this year we decided cooking a lunch just for ourselves would not be much fun.  Especially as I only had Christmas Day off work, though in the end due to a bit of confusion about whether I'd booked leave or not I gained and got Christmas Eve off too.  Anyway with all that in mind we opted for booking a Christmas champagne brunch somewhere. 

Of course we then had the dilemma of which one of the many places and options to choose.  Our decision was partly helped by some places not having any tables left for just two people and also by the fact we'd been to our eventual choice before and knew the food was very good there.  In the end therefore we opted for brunch at the Dolce Vita Italian restaurant in the Mandarin Oriental hotel.  As I said we've been to this Italian brunch a couple of times before (though not the Christmas version of it) so we knew the food was good and the ambiance of the place was great too.  The restaurant was duly booked and our taste buds tantalised by the thought of our Christmas Day meal.  I was a little concerned that being Christmas Day it would be insanely busy and crowded in the restaurant but although it was full there was plenty of space between the tables.  So I didn't feel like I was sharing my Christmas meal with a lot of strangers, it didn't feel that busy and there were plenty of staff on duty to ensure service was great.


View from outside Dolce Vita, Mandarin Oriental

Christmas day came and we arrived promptly for our twelve noon booking.  Unfortunately though there were a few moments of panic that our Christmas dinner plans were going to be a sandwich or frozen pizza instead of what we were expecting as they couldn't trace our booking.  Thankfully though after a bit more digging they found it and from that point on the service was impeccable, the staff could not have done more for us.

The menu was amazing and the nice thing about brunch here is that they bring you a little of all the starters and all the main courses to try.  If you have a particular favourite you can then order more of it and likewise if you know you don't want something you can ask to skip it.  By only having a little of everything and them bringing it to you rather than you going and helping yourself it ensures you aren't full on starters before you have got to the main courses!  Being waited on also ensures no lengthy queues or fighting over a dish with other diners and on Christmas Day it's nice to get a little special treatment.  The only course that you go and help yourself to are the desserts.




Our Christmas day starters

Our Christmas Day main courses

Just a selection of the desserts we could choose from

We did skip a couple of the dishes but still had room for some dessert as well.  Though I admit to feeling pretty full by the end of it.  In addition to the desserts that were available to us in the Dolce Vita restaurant my husband and I also got another special and unexpected dessert!  The restaurant manager came and spoke to us whilst we were dining to apologise for the initial confusion about our booking and whilst we were talking my husband happened to mention another one of the Mandarin Oriental's restaurants, The Cherry Garden and the amazing mango dessert we'd had there whilst enjoying their dim sum brunch.  We didn't think much more of it until later when we were brought one of these desserts each from the other restaurant!  Talk about amazing service, of course we thoroughly enjoyed our 'special' dessert.

Surprise dessert - chilled cream of mango with sago pearls, pomelo and lime sorbet from The Cherry Garden


No Christmas Day meal would be complete without Father Christmas and carol singers.  Father Christmas arrived during the meal and gave all the children there a gift and then later we were entertained by some carol singers singing a small selection of songs.  This was the first time I or my husband have ever eaten out at a restaurant on Christmas Day and I think we both wondered how it would be and if it would seem weird.  However I didn't need to worry as the amazing food and all these extra touches certainly made it a very enjoyable dining out experience and helped to make it a lovely Christmas.

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