Now that I’m back in the thick of things – laundry, working, days where potato chips are my main source of fuel – I almost forget that I had a mystical 72 hours where I ate caviar, drank champagne, and cuddled with (okay, stalked) Kylie Minogue.
But I owe you another few reviews, mainly about the ultra opulent Armani Hotel, housed in the Burj al Khalifa, the world’s tallest building.
I can’t go into all of the specifics until my article is published, but I think that it’s safe to talk about the world class Italian meal that I ate at Ristorante.
The restaurant itself is exquisite. White and gold and domed and high ceilinged. It’s definitely Italy by way of Dubai. Bring on that bling bling.
Start with a crunchy, buttery breadstick on a golden plate. Golden forks, too, of course. The champagne list is vast, but why not go with the rose Veuve Cliquot? It’s a little sweet, light, and has a full, round flavor. Champers pairs with everything, after all. Your server won’t be turned off if you choose one of every bread.
The Parmesan bread is good but the artichoke bread is unmissable. Soft and warm with meaty artichoke hearts. Ideal with a ramekin of spicy Italian olive oil.
Cold and refreshing, which isn’t often a word that I associate with truffles. It’s a thick, dense custard covered in a layer of lighter-than-air foam.
An ideal way to whet the appetite.
Soft boiled egg with truffles, potatoes, and croutons
They do everything over the top here.
The tiniest, sweetest little shrimp on mild, delicately sliced salmon. Quenells of salty caviar, whisper thin beet shavings, and a bright, herby vinaigrette. The combination of seafood is really delicate and surprisingly subtle – not over the top at all.
Unlike the next course.
Parmesan lemon risotto with langoustines and caviar
Not since London have I had such sublime langoustines. Tender and velvety with a positively sweet taste. They almost melt in the mouth. The risotto is al dente but soft, thick but not dense, with layers of creamy, salty, and bright lemon and Parmesan flavors. The caviar on top is really over the top, but I’m not one to refuse it. This is a MUST get.
Chicken and foie gras pasta pockets with truffles
You would think that I would be getting truffle overload by now, but you would be wrong. Truffles beget truffles, that’s my takeaway. This is a standout – soft, tender pasta with a meaty, deep, light but round flavor. In a meaty, rich demiglace that is enhanced by the headiness of the truffles.
Scallops with truffles
Wonderful. Where the hell do they get scallops in such warm environs? These are huge and soft, with a buttery flavor and a lovely, crispy sear. More truffles, natch.
Sugar dome with meringue, passionfruit, and cream inside
Pretty much what angels eat for dessert. Don’t skip that passion fruit on the bottom – it’s bright and adds another aspect to the sweet dish.
Il Ristorante is…over the top. The food is truffles, caviar, champagne,and more. The restaurant is like a Faberge egg. It’s ornate, plush, and has a view of dancing fountains that make the Bellagio fountains look liek a wishing well at your local strip mall. The service, while not quite up to Asian standards, is enthusiastic and warm – one more artichoke roll isn’t enough, try the whole wheat, too! And though the price is WAY up there, it’s a world class meal that rivals the best that I have had in Italy or France.
It’s an unforgettable, truffle-licious experience. Bring your A-game.
Disclaimer: This meal was part of a press package. I was not required to write about my experiences and my opinions are my own and unbiased.