Fine Italian at the relaunched Amalfi - LeRoyal Meridien, Abu Dhabi
|I love the passageway to the restaurant.|
Ziti pasta with Neapolitan ragù of beef, veal & lamb finished with dry smoked ricotta
Burrata with cherry tomatoes &salmon roe
Black square ravioli filled with fish mousse &bell pepper sauce
San Marzano tomato, wild mushrooms, white truffle oil &tallegio
|Oh the ham! Oh the ham!|
|The flavousome ziti.|
|The burrata and caviar|
As to that method, here it is all about the home cooked meal experience with the trappings of a beautiful setting. People talk about liking a home cooked experience. But the truth is you are not going to pay 200 Dhs to eat a piece of lamb in your friend's kitchen are you? What you want is the experience of the home cooked feeling, but in a luxurious space. That is what Amalfi does so well.
Rack of lamb with twice cooked potato,green asparagus & liquorice sauce
|Corn fed free range chicken|
|The tender Welsh lamb|
The corn fed chicken, good in its own right, comes of second best though and and pales in comparison to the outstanding lamb. They are different dishes with contrasting textures. Next time, I will order this on its own because there it wen really well with the broccoli and sauce.
|The easy drinking Gabbiano.|
Amalfi lemon sorbet
For dessert, Chef prepares a tiramisu. Of course; one of Italy's many sweet contribution to the culinary world. What he brings to my table leaves me with a puzzled look. Could it be? No. Surely not. But...wait, it is. Candy floss. It triggers the emotion. The second time. A warm, fuzzy feeling sweeps over me, as I sit in awe with the wonder of a child. Associations. With my fingers I eat through the centre of the candy floss to reveal part of the tiramisu underneath. I eat away at more of the candy floss. Childhood. My daughter. Associations.
Next, I scoop up some of the espresso jelly that covers it. I get some of the chocolate ice cream. I get the mascarpone. I taste the crispy lady fingers. Nice. They are not soggy. I taste something else that is crunchy. Very dark chocolate grounds. Bitter, but beautiful. I taste the 76% pure chocolate. There is something else. Can't quite figure it out. I try them together, and I get the tiramisu in its full glory. I am beside myself. It is a tiramisu that is not overpowered by sweetness. I have another taste. Smooth and crunchy. No wonder it is called the creative tiramasu.
|A picture that does the taste no justice.|
|Lemon sorbet in exquisite silver bowl and fine china.|
However, Amalfi succeeded in the most essential ways - the food. In seeking out the best possible produce (mainly from Italy), and ensuring that it could well be on its way to becoming the darling of Italian food in the capital as it provides an authentic Italian dining experience. Chef Pascal, a Campania native, brings to the restaurant an in-your Mum's-kitchen feeling without the guest having to sit there. He seeks to to take diners to a small village somewhere on the Italian west coast where the taste is similar. He does not serve only food, he serves an experience - two things he does exceptionally well, making this one of the best Italian dining experiences I have had in the city.
The low down
Le Royal Meridien, Khalifa Street,
02 674 2020
Starters 45-150 Dhs
Mains 55-220 Dhs