Old Dubai meets au­then­tic Italy at this hid­den gem by The Creek

What's On (Dubai) - - CONSUME -

Where the charm of old Dubai meets new Dubai’s sky­scrapers, you’ll find the Al Ban­dar Rotana, a rel­a­tively new ho­tel on the North shores of the Creek. And in­side it is Gusto. Perched on the 18th floor, it’s a cosy Ital­ian res­tau­rant with a mod­ern trat­to­ria feel thanks to a monochrome colour scheme with zig-zag printed floors, fur­nished with black chairs, white ta­ble cloths and chrome shelves stacked with mis­matched trin­kets.

When the weather cools, pay their ter­race a visit to soak up some stun­ning city views. Fea­tur­ing both high bar stools and res­tau­rant-style seat­ing, you can see across the Creek, through Old Dubai and right across to the Burj Khalifa and Down­town.

In­side the res­tau­rant, the menu is pre­sented on an old-school, free­stand­ing black me­tal menu holder, lit with a sin­gle lamp. The half dozen starters and dozen main cour­ses change on a fort­nightly ba­sis, de­pend­ing on the in­gre­di­ents avail­able to Gusto’s chef. There are some safe dishes such as bur­rata and quinoa salad, mixed with some more un­usual op­tions. To start, the veal cros­tini (Dhs79) and baked Tomino cheese (Dhs64), were both am­ple por­tions. Four large slices of warm bread served as the base to the veal cros­tini, lay­ered with gen­er­ous carv­ings of flavou­ful, cold-cut veal and then driz­zled in a rich tuna and an­chovy based ton­nato sauce. It was rich, but not over­pow­er­ing. The sec­ond starter was equally large and beau­ti­fully pre­sented, with two lay­ers of goey Tomino cheese flaked with crunchy toasted al­monds and porcini mush­rooms served on a thick truf­fle sauce. It was an­other dish of rich flavours that were har­mo­niously paired. For mains, the grilled sea bream (Dhs179), of­fers din­ers a chance to head to the open kitchen to watch the chefs at work. Two freshly grilled fil­lets were placed on cooked as­para­gus, and sur­rounded by roasted to­ma­toes baby pota­toes and to­ma­toes. Slightly over­sauteed spinach fin­ished the dish, but was a wel­come ad­di­tion to the drier tex­tures of the fish and pota­toes (which worked well by driz­zling with the lemon served on the side). The sec­ond main course, ravi­oli al Plin (Dhs124), was a highlight. The freshly made pasta was stuffed with ten­der veal chunks, served with veal shank and a herb gre­mo­lata and put sim­ply, was a taste ex­plo­sion that was fill­ing with­out feel­ing over­pow­er­ing.

Gusto com­bines great Ital­ian cui­sine in a cosy set­ting with some stun­ning views across both old and new Dubai, and this hid­den gem will def­i­nitely be see­ing us again.

Gusto, Al Ban­dar Rotana, Dubai Creek, Dubai, daily 5pm to 11.30pm. Tel: (04) 7042336. Taxi: Dubai Creek.

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