Marina Bay Sands sees many high-end restaurants wanting to set up shop on its lavish premises, and the latest news is that with the exit of Sky On 57, a new neighbour has joined the community.
LAVO is an Italian-American restaurant, bar and nightclub all rolled into one, setting a new beat on the 57th floor.
The ambience was anything but dull, with the constant chatter of excited patrons working on their cathartic release of the week’s stresses as the drinks started pouring.
The heavy wooden benches and leather-upholstered seats made the place feel very homely and comfortable, as much as it was a barometer of what one would expect from a high-end Italian eatery.
Right off the bat, our starters weren’t for the faint of heart. This appetiser was exactly what we were looking forward to — “The Meatball” ($38). For that price point, our hopes were very high, and luckily, it didn’t disappoint.
The ricotta cheese just melted right into the tomato sauce, while the one pound mix of grand imperial wagyu, veal and Italian sausage was inexplicably juicy.
When asked about how such tenderness was achieved, we were told that the dish was oven-baked. With such a hearty start to the meal, we had to hold back our spoons from finishing it off, just to save room for much more.
The other starter was the Charred Octopus ($32), which really lived up to its name as it was crusty and smokey on the outside, while the flesh was bouncy with just the right bite.
No Italian meal is complete without a cold cut platter, and the Salumi-Formaggi Platter ($34) hit all the right notes. We love a varied offering, and the fact that they even included honey and figs (fresh, not dried!) to complement the board was a win in our books.
If you’re the sort who’s not partial to salads, the Chopped “Louie” ($38) might just change your mind. It has an entire lobster claw thrown in, together with shrimp, lettuce and house vinaigrette.
The fact that the salad comes chopped up for you is already a big plus, especially if you aren’t about looking like a rabbit when eating your greens.
An Italian joint should, at the very least, serve pretty decent pizza, even if it isn’t the star of the menu. Here, they use a brick oven to fire up the dough, and as a result, each slice had crunch on the edges and a pleasant chewiness in the middle.
We tried the Spinach And Artichoke ($36) as well as the classic Quattro Formaggi ($34), with the latter featuring gorgonzola, parmesan, smoked mozzarella and fontina.
Between the two, we definitely preferred the Quattro Formaggi, probably because we aren’t particularly crazy about artichoke.
The next dish of Truffle Gnocchi ($46) was absolutely divine, in both taste and aroma. It had a generous amount of truffle shavings, and the chicken stock that was used gave the dish a depth that you don’t often get with pasta dishes.
The homemade gnocchi was tender and chewy, without being too sickly, and made the dish very addictive.
Another pasta dish we got to try was the Penne Seafood Alfredo ($48). At such a hefty price point, one would expect a generous amount of, or at least, a selection of seafood that’s relatively premium.
Sadly, the scattering of seafood in this dish didn’t warrant many helpings from us, and overall, the thick cream sauce was a tad too pasty for our liking. We’d suggest sticking to the gnocchi is you’re looking for pasta!
Moving on to the meats, we were really looking forward to seeing how succulent the New York Strip (396g) ($95) was. The fatty edges melted away on first bite, and the medium-rare doneness did the cut justice in bringing out all its rich juiciness.
After stuffing our faces silly with everything we could possibly stomach, we had to make room for dessert, because we heard the offerings here aren’t to be missed.
First up, the Oreo Zeppole ($20), which is (simply put) deep-fried double-stuffed Oreo cookies, with a side of malted vanilla milkshake dip. This is either the stuff of dreams or your worst nightmare.
Because the Oreos were deep-fried, we felt that it was sufficiently sweet and needed no extra sauce. The malted vanilla milkshake dip was simply too extravagant and was better left out.
We’d heard so much about this cake, we didn’t actually realise how imposing it’d be in real life.
The 20-Layer Chocolate Cake ($24) is larger than the size of our hands (fingers included) and is decked out with alternate layers of chocolate devil’s food cake and peanut butter mascarpone. We love both things individually, but when eaten together, homaigod!
It had to be, hands down, the thickest, sweetest and most decadent cake we’ve ever had the honour of trying. Be warned; it will take a small army of diners to completely finish this, especially considering the size of the mains that LAVO serves up.
The Olive Oil Cake ($16) was our last indulgence for the evening, and thankfully so.
It was a welcome break from the heaviness, and even though we were already full to the brim, we found ourselves finishing this off quite easily. The moist, citrus cake was a nice balance to the subtly sweet lemon olive oil gelato, and its texture was fluffy and light.
Judging from the size of LAVO’s plates and the overall vibe of the space, this is a place we would say is best for lively banter amongst large groups of friends.
The prices may be a bit steep, but once you split it among a handful of people, it does average out. For communal dining that’s rich in flavours, and hearty in portions, LAVO will tick all your boxes.
Expected damage: $50 – $100 per pax