Posts for the 'Italian' Category


Mezzaluna, Emirates Palace, Abu Dhabi

MEZZALUNA, EMIRATES PALACE

Emirates Palace Abu Dhabi is a landmark hotel located on the West Corniche of Abu Dhabi, overlooking the Arabian Gulf and occupying a stretch of private beach about 1.3km long. The hotel was built in the style of an Arabian Palace and its aim is to provide guests with the ultimate luxury experience, comparable to the kind that royalty receive. In fact, the hotel is particularly popular with reigning royalty. The top floor of the hotel is made up entirely of ‘Rulers Suites’, suites specifically reserved for use by Heads of States. But other dignitaries and celebrities also flock to the Emirates Palace and it counts notable figures such as Bill Clinton and Robert de Niro as its past guests.

Like Jumeirah at Etihad Towers, Emirates Palace also featured in the blockbuster movie Fast & Furious 7, and in 2010, the Emirates Palace made headlines with a £7m Christmas tree draped in diamonds. Little wonder then that it makes for a great tourist attraction, with TripAdvisor ranking Emirates Palace as one of the top tourist spots in Abu Dhabi. Even if you’re not staying at the Emirates Palace it is well worth a visit just to take in the grandeur and opulence of its interior bejeweled with silver, gold, marble and Swarovski crystal chandeliers.

We had dinner at Mezzaluna, an Italian restaurant which is one of nine restaurants at the Emirates Palace. The menu serves a range of classic Italian dishes with antipastas, pastas and risottos, and also extends to pizzas as well. The décor of the restaurant is formal and every bit as opulent as the rest of the hotel.

We began our meal with veal tenderloin slow cooked with a creamy tuna sauce (AED120 – £20.80). This was delicious as the veal was wonderfully tender and flavoursome and had a creamy, almost milk-like flavour to it. The tuna sauce was also delicious. Creamy and tasty, yet not overpowering, it paired perfectly with the veal. The dish was a little cold, but otherwise it was an outstanding plate of food.

Mezzaluna Emirates Palace - London Food Blog - Veal tenderloin

Mezzaluna Emirates Palace – Veal tenderloin

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Quattro Passi

QUATTRO PASSI

Quattro Passi on London’s Dover Street comes from the hands of Two Michelin-starred chef Antonio Mellino who brings his blend of elegant and stylish Italian fine-dining to Mayfair. Antonio Mellino earned his Michelin stars at his flagship restaurant Quattro Passi Nerano where he came into recognition for his light and delicate touch on pasta and fabulous seafood and meat dishes. His menu is seasonal and is prepared using the best produce shipped daily from the Amalfi coast to the UK.

The well-appointed restaurant is luxurious yet comfortable, and is in keeping with the elegance of Chef Mellino’s food. Ambient touches include hand-sculpted leather wall, French silk wallpaper and delightful modern artworks.

We began our meal with skewers of scallops and prawns (£24) which were delicious. Perfectly cooked and nicely seasoned, they were brimming with a fresh sea flavour. Accompanying the skewers were some spring onions and a ‘Romanchesi’ sautéed broccoli ‘couscous’ which were both lovely. There was also a blackberry reduction and other fruity touches of orange and passionfruit that completed the dish nicely with their contrasting sweetness and acidity. This was a lovely starter, although pricey.

London Food Blog - Quattro Passi - Scallop & prawn skewer

Quattro Passi – Scallop & prawn skewer

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Diciannove 19 at the Crown Plaza Hotel, Blackfriars – Visit No. 2

We dined at Diciannove 19 at the Crown Plaza Hotel about a year ago and loved the experience. We tried a variety of cicchetti (Italian tapas) and home made pastas and enjoyed all our dishes as everything was absolutely delicious. The service was really fabulous as well. So it was with great expectation that we decided to visit Diciannove 19 again. You can read about that previous visit here.

The menu hasn’t changed much since our last visit other than the fact that Diciannove 19 are currently offering an exclusive white truffle menu created by Executive Chef Alessandro Bay. There is a starter, pasta and main dish, all accompanied by shavings of glorious white truffles from Umbria and which can be ordered a la carte.

To get things started we began our evening with the Il Supremo for 1-2 people (£17.50), the antipasta platter. This included fried calamari, fried zucchini, prosciutto Toscano ham, Finocchiona salami, Mortadella di Bologna, sausage, Parmegiano Reggiano cheese, mozzarella cheese and pickles. This was a great cross section of Italian nibbles that did much to whet our appetite. The meats were tasty, and there was a lovely crunchiness to the calamari and zucchini.

Diciannove - Il Supremo - Fried calamari, fried zucchini, prosciutto toscano ham, finocchiona salami, mortadella di bologna sausage, parmegiano reggiano cheese, mozzarella cheese and pickles.

Diciannove – Il Supremo – Fried calamari, fried zucchini, prosciutto toscano ham, finocchiona salami, mortadella di bologna sausage, parmegiano reggiano cheese, mozzarella cheese and pickles.

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Frescobaldi Restaurant

Frescobaldi Restaurant

Frescobaldi Restaurant

Frescobaldi Restaurant London is the first standalone restaurant in the UK for the Frescobaldi family and follows on from the success of the Dei Frescobaldi restaurants and wine bars in Florence and at Rome’s Fiumicino airport. The Frescobaldis are a famous wine dynasty that dates back to 1308. During the Renaissance, the Fescobaldis traded wine for works of art with Michelangelo and were the major financiers to the kings of England including Henry VIII.

The Frescobaldi name is therefore highly prestigious in the world of wine. The family have nine wine estates in and around the hills of Florence and Siena in Italy, and so an essential part of what the restaurant will be offering in London will be the vast array of wines produced by Marchesi de’ Frescobaldi. These account for some 75% of the restaurant’s list, with the remainder comprising of a fine selection from both the Old World and the New World. Furthermore, the majority of Frescobaldi’s 150 bins will be available by the glass to allow the diner to sample many of the variety of wines on offer.

Frescobaldi London opened in early November 2014 and stands on New Burlington Place in Mayfair. It is a beautiful restaurant, with lovely floor to ceiling windows that lets in lots of natural light. On the walls are hand-painted drawings and framed pictures that pay homage to the restaurant’s Italian influences. The comfortable furnishings encourage a sense of comfort as well as instilling an immediate sense of sophistication as you walk through its doors.

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A Voce Columbus – New York City

There are two branches of A Voce Restaurant in New York. The original is on Madison Avenue, which following on from its success and a Michelin star resulted in the second one at Columbus Circle. This too has received critical recognition as well, with A Voce Columbus also garnering a Michelin Star for its fine Italian cooking.

A Voce Columbus occupies a fabulous space on the third floor of the Time Warner Center which was formerly Gray Kunz’s renowed Café Gray. It’s smart and sleek with a long elevated bar area that serves knockout cocktails and bar food. The bar area offers some great people watching, but the best aspect at the restaurant are from the tables that line the windows from where you can peer out onto the goings-on at Columbus Circle and the fringes of Central Park while you feast.

I mentioned the knockout cocktails and for our aperitif we tried the excellent Il Tarfuto cocktail ($33), Michter’s Rye Bourbon mixed with a truffle infused vermouth and topped with a drizzling of white truffle honey and a sliver of bourbon pickled black truffle. The mix takes 2 to 3 weeks to make and was a heady concoction of truffle aroma and flavour. The honey did a great job of sweetening things up, and this made for a delicious way to start the meal.

A Voce - Il Tarfuto cocktail

Il Tarfuto cocktail

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Hotel Sorella and Radio Milano

Houston, Texas is a sprawling city that is home to plentiful eating and the famous NASA Space Centre. During the first two days of my visit to Houston I stayed at the luxurious Hotel Sorella, located in the vibrant CityCentre development which is home to a number of sophisticated retailers, plentiful dining options, commercial office buildings and luxury homes. The hotel is sleek and stylish and designed with custom made details such as a unique European Murano glass chandelier and graphite colored ceramic floors.

Hotel Sorella - Lobby

Hotel Sorella – Lobby

The rooms are comfortably appointed with those on the upper floors offering sweeping views across Houston. There is a well-equipped spa and fitness centre and a variety of meeting room options for the business traveller, including a 4,000-square-foot ballroom.

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Ronda Locatelli by Giorgio Locatelli, Atlantis The Palm, Dubai

The Atlantis Resort on the famous man-made Palm Jumeirah island in Dubai evokes all of the sense of fantasy and adventure that has ever been written about the mystical island. The resort is truly extraordinary to look, and I must confess to being one of the ogling tourists who kept snapping away at it as I approached the hotel on the monorail. But security is tight and it’s difficult to wander around the resort. Therefore other than the exterior structure and the restaurant area there is little for non-hotel guests to see.

There are a number of dining options in Atlantis The Palm, one of which is Ronda Locatelli, the Dubai outpost of the famous London-based Michelin-starred Italian chef, Giorgio Locatelli. Unlike Locanda Locatelli, Ronda Locatelli steers away from the high-end fine-dining side of things to focus on something more casual. The centrepiece of the restaurant is a large round wood-fired brick pizza oven. It’s an arresting focal point for the restaurant that ensures a relaxed and uncontrived atmosphere, perfect for the many families which no doubt stay at the hotel. The Italian menu is traditional and rustic, with a strong emphasis on pizzas and pastas. But there’s also a good selection of starters, salads and mains with monthly promotional offers thrown in.

Ronda Locatelli

Ronda Locatelli

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Rossopomodoro

Rossopomodoro is a chain of restaurants serving Neapolitan cuisine and pizzas. A global operation, Rossopomodoro had its origins in Naples and is a well-recognised brand name in Italy. It has seven branches throughout the UK and in a string of other countries throughout the world.

At the invitation of Rossopomodoro I ventured to both the branches in Wandsworth and Covent Garden. My visit to the Wandsworth branch coincided with ‘RossoMusica’, a singing competition sponsored by Ferrarelle where London-based Italian singers perform and compete for the chance to win the prize of RossoMusica champion. The last of the heats was last week, and the final will be held on Thursday, 26 September 2013. For £10, RossoMusica promises you not only get some good music, one drink and a buffet of pastas and salads, but a night of frivolity as well.

The Wandsworth branch is split over two floors. It is a spacious area with a modern industrial look, and the floor to ceiling glass windows on the ground floor allow in oodles of natural light. On the first floor there is a fabulous terrace area that is perfect for al fresco dining.

The Covent Garden branch by contrast is a little bit more compact and less spacious than the one in Wandworth. Being in Covent Garden, its more hustle and bustle. There is a rather hectic feel to it, but it is also more conveniently placed for the attractions of the West End. There are also some tables outside which allow for a spot of people watching.

Rossopomodoro stays true to its Neapolitan heritage by impressively importing all its ingredients from Naples including items such as the flour used in its pizza bases. The fresh buffalo mozzarella (£15.45) that we ordered came in that day and was delicious, especially with a drizzling of olive oil and fresh basil. Accompanying the mozzarella was some bruschetta with a yummy cherry tomato topping that was fresh, ripe and sweet in that superb Italian way. However, the bread was less appealing as it was a tad bland.

Buffalo mozzarella with bruschetta

Buffalo mozzarella with bruschetta

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