If there’s one restaurant constantly spoken about in foodie circles, it would have to be Per Te. And not the branch in the strip mall in Business Bay, but the original branch located in a converted villa behind Jumeirah Plaza in Jumeirah 1.
Many, in fact, say that this is the best Italian restaurant in Dubai, which is a bold statement considering there are so many Italian restaurants in Dubai – many of which have the names of Italian Michelin-starred chefs above the door (Heinz Beck, Giorgio Locatelli and Alfredo Russo to name a few).
But the executive chef at Per Te does not have a Michelin star. Nor is he Italian. Chef Glady, in fact, is Indian and hails from Chennai. He’s never even been to Italy!
So what is it that has Dubai’s foodies so captivated? Time for me to find out.
Since it seemed that all self-respecting foodies had been to Per Te but me, when I learned that Per Te starting offering brunch this month, it was the impetus I needed to drag myself out of Dubai Marina and over to Jumeirah 1.
At only AED 150 per person including soft drinks and water (or AED 75 for kids aged 4-12), this is a steal! You can order whatever you want off the brunch menu (which includes a selection of starters, pizza, risotto, pasta, mains and dessert from the normal menu). The best part – everything is made to order and you get full-sized portions of it all. What great value and an excellent way to explore the entire range of offerings at Per Te.
Not wanting to do things by halves, it was time to whip out my man-sized appetite. Our first course was this beautifully presented foccacia – fresh out of the oven. Ah, the detail! A splash of EVOO, a sprinkling of rock salt, a sprig of fennel, served on a stone platter. The presentation says it all.
We started with three starters, all of which were so perfectly executed. The balance of flavours, the seasoning, the presentation. You might think you’re in a fine dining restaurant, but you’re only paying AED 150pp for the pleasure! Below is the beef carpaccio with truffle shavings, rocket and shaved parmesan.
The ingredients at Per Te are top-notch. I love burrata at the best of times, but this dish blew me away. The simple combination of fresh, creamy burrata with its luscious milky centre plus the three types of tomatoes prepared in several ways – fresh, roasted, semi-dried – in different colours and sizes. This is a dish I could eat over and over again.
Below is one of Chef Glady’s signature dishes – a tuna tartare mixed with sundried tomatoes with passion fruit and olive paste. Not only is the presentation gorgeous, but the unusual combination works surprisingly well.
After starters, we moved on to the pasta and pizza course. Below is the dish that started it all – a strozzapreti pasta with stracciatella cheese, tomatoes and Kalamata olives which I first spied on Chef Glady’s Instagram that I’d been dreaming about ever since. More gorgeous tomatoes and stracciatella – my new favourite cheese – the same milky goodness you find inside the burrata.
Somehow we seemed to order our pizza with stracciatella too. It also had rocket, cherry tomatoes and anchovies. The crust wasn’t the best I’ve ever eaten, and to be fair, they were having issues with their pizza oven, but the toppings still worked well, and, surprise! We polished that off too.
By the time we got our mains, we were already quite full. I struggled to finish this grilled sea bass with clams and calamari fregola with grilled zucchini and cherry tomatoes.
Mr. S opted for a simple grilled chicken breast with roasted potatoes which is a bit too plain a dish for me, though the swathe of pumpkin mash was delicious and makes for a gorgeous Instagram photo.
Our favourite dessert was is the 75% cocoa smooth and shiny chocolate brick served with a passion fruit semifreddo. The chocolate is rich and dense and melts in your mouth, and the tartness of the passion fruit balances the dish well.
The most beautiful dessert was the vanilla semifreddo in a spun sugar cage with berries and a balsamic glaze. This decadent dessert was taunting me – but it was simply too much for me to finish after our gluttonous meal.
Verdict: From taste to presentation, Chef Glady’s food is absolutely exquisite. And the brunch at Per Te is perhaps the best way to experience it. So get yourself down to Jumeirah 1 at 12pm on a Friday or Saturday to take advantage of 4 hours of non-stop eating.
Note to self: Wear loose clothing and whip out the man-sized appetite.
Villa no. 54, Street 12c
Behind Jumeirah Plaza
Tel: 04 344 6455
Chow for now!