Is this ca­sual Ital­ian restau­rant JLT’s new hid­den gem?

What's On (Dubai) - - CONSUME EAT // REVIEW -

o many Ital­ian restau­rants prom­ise to serve up au­then­tic home­made fare yet end up fall­ing short, slather­ing their spaghet­tis in sauce and man­gling their margher­i­tas. So can lit­tle Via Vita, a cosy Ital­ian in JLT, de­liver?

It cer­tainly looks the part, with its rus­tic decor com­plete with a cen­tre­piece olive tree. A wood-fired oven sits at the back of the open-plan restau­rant and is clearly the chef ’s se­cret weapon. All bread is baked fresh daily, and a ‘Br­uschetta Bar’ of­fers up some tasty al­ter­na­tives to your stan­dard starters. Out of the se­lec­tion we sam­pled, the br­uschetta with roasted pumpkin and goat cheese (Dhs27) was hands-down the pick of the lit­ter. An un­con­ven­tional choice, but nonethe­less de­li­cious. A shared white pizza funghi (Dhs43) was fur­ther proof that the oven was top-notch, com­bin­ing a crunchy crust and wild mush­rooms with a gooey mix of ta­leg­gio and moz­zarella cheese.

SWhile the abil­ity to com­pe­tently bake bread is im­por­tant in any good Ital­ian eatery, the real taste test comes down to the pasta. Thank­fully, Via Vita ex­cels here. A sim­ple dish of al-dente pac­cheri with slow­cooked beef chunks and tomato in a rich ragu sauce (Dhs49) was spot on, and by not try­ing to wow with an over­abun­dance of sauce, it did pre­cisely that – wow us. The same was true of the penne with smoked egg­plant and ri­cotta Si­cil­iana style (Dhs36). Again the dish wasn’t at­tempt­ing to rein­vent the wheel, it sim­ply let the flavours of the smoky egg­plant and goats cheese do the talk­ing. A pan-fried cod filet with olives, ca­pers and tomato (Dhs49) closed up the mains, with the fish ten­derly flak­ing apart on the fork and the salti­ness of the olives and ca­pers giv­ing the dish a pleas­ant bite.

For dessert we were pre­sented with a large (and we mean LARGE) slice of ti­ramisu (Dhs24) that at first seemed like it would be un­sur­mount­able, but was so light and airy (as a good ti­ramisu should be) that we couldn’t help but wolf the whole thing down and wish for sec­onds.

It’s dif­fi­cult to find fault with Via Vita, par­tic­u­larly con­sid­er­ing the rea­son­able prices of its well-crafted menu. It hits both the “au­then­tic” and “home­made” touch­stones that so many other restau­rants only claim to, and does it ef­fort­lessly.

V, Jumeirah Lakes Tow­ers, Dubai, daily noon to 11pm. Tel (800) 84284282. Taxi: Clus­ter V, JLT. in­sta­gram. com/vi­av­i­tauae

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