My last date night was at the Armani Hotel. Can you believe we enjoyed this fine dining Italian restaurant more than any of the restaurants we ate at in Italy earlier this year??
There are so many reasons to like this place. 1) The staff in the kitchen are from all over Italy – Alba, Puglia, Sardinia and too many other places for me to recall. 2) The assistant restaurant manager is soooo passionate about the restaurant – he’s been there since pre-launch, and, though he’s not Italian by nationality, he’s definitely Italian in spirit. 3) It’s fine dining quality with a relaxed vibe – perfect for date night! 4) They have a cracking terrace, perfect tor aperitifs, with a great view over the Dubai Fountain. 5) If you have kids, you can still enjoy. They’ll accommodate you and your bambinos in a quieter part of the restaurant. And until September up to two kids under 10 (per paying adult) will even dine for free! 6) Inventive flavours and fine ingredients like their colourful purple potato chips and their pink beetroot risotto. 7. The throwback to the bygone times in Italy where, when dining with a man, women get a menu without pricing.
What’s on the menu:
Burrata – one of my favourite cheeses, incorporating some of my favourite ingredients, like heirloom tomatoes and smoked aubergine. I’m also a sucker for random unidentifiable edible creations like the lacy black crisp below.
Smoked salmon – this delicate number mixes a number of contrasting flavours and textures, from the salty smoked salmon, to the colourful beetroot, to the olives and the thyme sorbet.
Beetroot risotto – this Carnaroli rice is cooked perfectly al dente with just enough beetroot to give this gorgeous dish its pink lusciousness. It’s garnished simply with some toasted hazelnuts and Castelmagno cheese.
Saffron tagliatelle – this tagliatelle beats any of the sad tagliatelles I ate in Bologna by a mile. This one is served with a ragu of braised veal shank and served with gremolata. It has a lovely hint of citrus and enough contrasting tastes and textures.
Black Angus – the fillet is wheeled out to your table and carved and plated in front of you. This lovely piece of prime beef is served simply post-carbs with a side of fois gras, asparagus, and porcini mushrooms.
Seabass – this wild seabass is encased and cooked in a salt crust, an Italian technique that results in a moist and flavourful fish. The encrusted fillets are brought the your table and dramatically carved open at your table to reveal the perfectly cooked seabass within.
La Sfera – this shiny globe is made of a very thin sugar and looks like something that belongs in Murano. You crack open the sphere to access the goodness, like raspberries and cream, inside.
Verdict: Yes, I actually considered forgoing my next trip to Italy, saving on airfare and accommodation, then splashing out on some fine dining here instead. Unless you’re on a budget or hate Italian food, there’s really no excuse not to go!
Note to self: Book a table in advance during truffle season. Just don’t trust Gooogle Maps to get you there on time!
Tel: 04 888 3666
Chow for now! (Though this time I should say ciao…)