Well I’ll say this for sure: Vivaldi has one heck of a brilliant view.
The outdoor seating of this Italian restaurant (it actually used to serve French cuisine many, many years ago!) overlooks the Creek and diners are treated to the old-world charms of dhows slowly passing on dark, lapping waters with the glittering Burj Khalifa twinkling down at them. The best of old and new Dubai can be found here, and I never realized it before.
After being greeted by Elmar de Beer, Vivaldi restaurant manager, Thorsten Moennich, director of F&B at Sheraton Dubai Creek Hotel & Towers, and Manish Law, the executive chef, we settled down for an interesting chat about the hotel’s F&B, Vivaldi in particular, before branching out to the F&B industry in general. Food blogger I may be, but I certainly had more insight that night into the F&B industry that gives me things to talk about in the first place. There are lots of plans for the restaurants at the hotel, which includes menu changes and an interiors revamp, happening over the next few months. Sounds good!
I was asked whether I would like to get something off the menu…but was given the option of being surprised by Italian chef, Daniele Bolognesi.
I chose surprise. I was also told by Elmar the aim of the restaurant is to provide good food that reminds people of something their mother would make at home. My companion and I had no restrictions as such (although…no seafood, I pleaded) and we settled in to munch our way through the night, after everyone bid us goodbye.
My fruit cocktail juice:
…this I sipped on as I dipped fresh bread into three awesome dips kept there for us.
Amuse bouche: Chiacchiere with Porcini Cream Cheese
This was beyond gorgeous. The Porcini cream cheese nestled at the bottom of the plate gave me finger-licking tingly moments, and boy, was it creamy!
Salad: Endive, orange and gorgonzola fondue
I don’t like salad normally. There have been very few restaurants on this planet that has gotten me to finish their salad. I’m a very picky salad eater, that no doubt stems through my carnivore habits. Did I finish this salad? Yes. Every last green leaf bit. For that alone, I thank the chef. It’s really difficult to get me to like salad.
Starter: Eggplant Parmigiana
I look at the dish placed in front of me. “Is that vegetarian?” I ask my friend as I poke it gingerly. She cuts into it and says she thinks it is. Read above…carnivore. I bite into it…and I don’t care suddenly that it’s actually eggplant (a veggie item I actually loathe). I finish it up while my friend says she’s full already (“How can you be full?” I cry. “There’s more coming!”). I enjoy the mixture of the eggplant flavour with the tomato-based sauce.
First course: Panzerotti Raschera Cheese Trafle Arome
Oh. My. Goodness. These little shells were things of absolute beauty. They looked lovely, and then when we were asked if we wanted pepper and parmesan, we screamed (okay, just me) yes and watched as these were covered with shavings of black and yellow (cue in song here). They were soft and just what creamy dreams are made of.
Second course: Slow Braise Lamb Shank in Borlotti Beans Ragut
Meat! Extremely tender and easy to cut, the meat flavour blends very well with the beans, providing a good balance between the two.
Dessert: Babá with mascarpone texture
I’m a dessert person, after being a meat person. Or maybe I’m a dessert person before meat? Anyhow, the point is, this was what I was waiting for. As I cut into the small yeast cake, I was pleasantly surprised by how melt-in-your-mouth it was. Mixed with the strawberries and mascarpone, I was in a happy place.
After this, Chef Bolognesi came over to our table to say hello, and he was extremely friendly, asking about our thoughts on his superb creations. Needless to say, we told him exactly what we thought!
I like Italian food anyway, so I knew I’d have a good night out. It’s surprising – I had never been to this restaurant before, in spite of having lived in Dubai since 1989. Right now, with the excellent weather, people were filling up the tables on the terrace…which is what I’d suggest anyway so as to complement the well thought-out menu with a sparkling view.