I’m spoiled for choice when it comes to restaurants in Dubai. So why eat at just one? With so many options to choose from, I decided to restaurant-hop Italian.
Today’s destination: The Beach. The Beach is one of Dubai’s latest outdoor lifestyle destinations, spanning over 320,000 square feet with shops, sports and entertainment – plus 45 different restaurants offering 20 different cuisines. Foodie heaven!
- Obicà Mozzarella Bar – mozzarella, of course!
- Fratelli la Bufala – pizza
- Cavalli Caffè – dessert
First stop: Obicà Mozzarella Bar
I’d never heard of a mozzarella bar before but it seems like this might be one of the next big things. Or else someone at Meraas Holdings really likes mozzarella. Meraas Holdings’ other development, Boxpark, also has a speciality mozzarella outlet, Bianca Mozzarella & Co!
Obicà Mozzarella Bar serves three kinds of Mozzarella di Bufala Campana DOP – a classic, a smoked variety, and burrata. I’d never eaten mozzarella from a bowl before, but that’s how our creamy burrata was served. Eating mozzarella from a bowl made me feel like I needed to eat it with a spoon, and that didn’t quite do it for me. (I prefer eating a ball of burrata with a fork and knife.) We also ordered fried mozzarella bites (made from the classic mozzarella) and the arancini (made with the smoked mozzarella). So between all three starters we were able to sample all three mozzarella varieties.
The fried mozzarella and the arancini both looked similar – big, fat, deep-fried, crumb-coated balls. The fried mozzarella was tasty, but I found the arancini a bit disappointing. I’ve had luscious arancini before with a molten centre of gooey mozzarella. Considering this is a restaurant that prides itself on its mozzarella, the smoked mozzarella in this arancini was difficult to discern. For some reason this pink of this arancini (made of Arborio rice, smoked mozzarella, radicchio and pecorino) reminded me of Thai shrimp fish paste. However I am curious to try the other offerings at Obicà so I’d still eat there again.
Second stop: Fratelli la Bufala
Forget Eataly. Forget Rossovivo. This is the new pizza in town. I always judge a traditional Napoli pizza by its crust and its pizzaiolo – and I was impressed by both. Fratelli la Bufala’s Chef Pepe is direct from Naples and is an expert at his craft. The dough is near perfect – once cooked, it’s crisp on the outside, soft on the inside, slightly chewy and flavourful enough to eat on its own dipped in extra-virgin olive oil. The margherita was made just the way I like it with a basic tomato sauce, a smattering of high-quality mozzarella and fresh basil. Divine.
Mr. S opted for the man-sized il doppio hamburger di bufalo – a double buffalo burger sandwich made on a massive pizza crust bun, with stretchy provola cheese, fried eggplant and cherry tomatoes. This was a behemoth of a burger. Though I’m not a big fan of buffalo meat, the burger was delicious. If they had a beef or chicken sandwich option, I’d definitely be ordering this again.
Third and final stop: Cavalli Caffè
From the heavyweight paper and texture of the menu (which was absolutely pristine and unblemished – unlike the wrinkled, food-stained menus you get at most other restaurants) to the shiny black tables, this place exudes class. We had already eaten our starters and mains, but had we not, I’d have happily eaten both here. The waiter insisted that the Italian food at Cavalli Caffè was far superior to either of the Italian places we ate at this earlier in the evening. But alas, we barely had room for a drink each and a dessert to share. After Mr. S’s big buffalo burger, he decided to go all demure and order a chamomile tea, which was loose leaf, of course, and served in an elegant glass teapot.
I couldn’t resist the spiced apple mocktail made of caramel, apple, spicy syrup, lemon juice, nutmeg and egg white. Though this restaurant is dry (as are all the restaurants at The Beach), the mixologist was behind his bar mixing the mocktails with flair. I loved, loved, loved the spicy-tangy-sweet combination of this drink. It definitely had a bit of an allspice-y kick – in fact the waiter asked if it was too spicy (which it wasn’t for me, but I’m sure it would be for some) but I absolutely adored it.
The waiter recommended the fondente al pistacchio for dessert. This luscious chocolate molten lava cake looks as good as it tasted with a perfectly melty core of rich liquid chocolate. By this time we were absolutely stuffed, but supremely satisfied.
Now this is the way to eat Italian. The only problem is that I don’t have a bottomless stomach.
Verdict: The Beach is a foodie’s heaven. With so many delicious restaurants, there’s something for everyone. Good thing it’s so close to home. Now you know where you’ll find me the next several weekends.
Note to self: Try Cavalli Caffe for a full meal.
Opposite JBR The Walk
Chow for now!