La vita might be dolce, but is the food as good?

What's On (Dubai) - - CONSUME -

You’d be for­given for think­ing you’ve stum­bled through a glitch in the space-time con­tin­uum when you step into Tortellini, as you’ll be con­vinced you’ve ar­rived at a rus­tic Ital­ian mar­ket square, rather than a restau­rant off a busy road in Down­town Dubai.

With warm street lamps, cob­bled floors, check­ered table­cloths, a wall laden with quaint shut­tered win­dows, and a tow­er­ing, leafy – al­beit faux – tree graz­ing the ceil­ing, this trat­to­ria-in­spired hide­away feels a world away from your typ­i­cal city eatery.

And in­deed it should – Tortellini’s own­ers are in­te­rior de­sign­ers by trade who were in­spired to open a restau­rant af­ter vis­it­ing Bologna and in­dulging in the pasta af­ter which this place is named.

How­ever, tortellini is not all this un­li­censed spot has to of­fer, with a menu boast­ing around 75 dishes. A lit­tle over­whelmed (and a touch full al­ready af­ter div­ing face-first into the bread bas­ket), we opted to start with the arancini (Dhs36) and bre­saola with bur­rata (Dhs98) on the rec­om­men­da­tion of our Ro­man waiter.

The arancini was the per­fect balance of crisp and oozy, al­though lack­ing sea­son­ing. How­ever, the bre­saola fused to­gether the sweet, salty and creamy with fi­nesse, the bal­samic re­duc­tion adding a tangy edge.

Af­ter um­ming and ah­hing over the mul­ti­ple pasta and main dishes, we de­cided to stick with tortellini, choos­ing the ring-shaped pasta in a tra­di­tional beef ragu (Dhs48), and one in a white Panna sauce (Dhs40). While the for­mer was sat­is­fy­ingly meaty in flavour thanks to the ragu, the fill­ing was more of a pale-hued sliver, with a tex­ture that leaned to­wards the firmer side of al dente. The creamy op­tion, served with green peas, onion and turkey ba­con, how­ever, was mor­eish with a sub­tle smok­i­ness. The tiramisu (Dhs32) rounded off the af­fair beau­ti­fully, with an al­most foamy tex­ture that meant it didn’t fur­ther strain our full bel­lies. It wasn’t too bit­ter, nor too sweet. While you might find more nu­anced fine-din­ing Ital­ian cui­sine in Dubai, if you’re af­ter com­fort food that won’t break the bank, you’ll find plenty of that here. The dé­cor is a par­tic­u­lar high­light, au­then­tic with just a touch of whimsy, leav­ing you feel­ing like you’ve been whisked away for a week­end in Naples (rather than just down Sheikh Zayed Road).

Bay Tower, Busi­ness Bay, Dubai, daily 11am to 1am. Tel: (054) 4440303. Metro: Busi­ness Bay. face­ TortelliniDubai

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