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Reviewed: Giardino restaurant

Reviewed: Giardino restaurant

Giardino offers a tantalising brunch option for foodies in Dubai

If you are looking for a brunch that’s a bit more stylish in terms of location, food and service, then head to the garden-themed Giardino nestled in the opulent Palazzo Versace hotel on the Dubai Creek.

The upscale dining experience commenced as soon we stepped into the hotel. Inside its 16thcentury Italian façade, we were greeted with an exquisite décor of rose chandeliers, mosaic floors depicting the head of Medusa and ornate columns of cream and gold. The hallway that led us to the Giardino restaurant portrayed elegant patterns and designs crafted exclusively by the fashion house.

Walking into Giardino was like stepping back into the outdoors. Natural light streamed through the large floor-to-ceiling windows and wide doors. The walls and furnishings were covered in Versace’s green tropical prints while fresh potted plants dotted the seats. The staff were also dressed in the same leafy designs, although it appeared a tad over the top.

I started out with a glass of chilled champagne and a salad. The salad bar offered a spread of tender greens, roasted vegetables, foie gras, cold cuts, tangy pickles, cheese, nuts, olives, breads and plenty of homemade sauces. I cherry-picked the roasted courgette, red and green peppers and some buffalo mozzarella cheese. My partner had the creamy hummus and fattoush. He found the tomatoes, lettuce, rocket and cucumber with the balsamic dressing refreshing.

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The place was abuzz as there were many families with small children, couples and teenagers. Despite the chatter, we were able to hold a decent conversation and the ambiance was good.

For the mains, live cooking stations served Middle Eastern, Indian, Italian dishes and grilled Wagyu beef. The seafood station had an impressive selection of large lobsters, clams, scallops, langoustine, oysters, prawns and mussels displayed on a bed of crushed ice.Screen Shot 2016-05-11 at 5.50.47 PM

Being a seafood lover I gravitated towards tuna at the open-plan seafood and sushi bar. The tuna was tender and the sushi wraps and paper-thin sashimi slices with pickled ginger and wasabi were wonderfully zesty and delicate. From the live cooking stations I also indulged in some grilled lobsters. They were cooked evenly and I enjoyed the smoky flavour.

I wanted to pair the lobsters with some white wine; however getting drinks replenished proved time staking. But once we caught the attention of the waiters, they were efficient and pleasant.

Italian favourite pizza was a big hit with the kids. My partner tried a slice with toppings of chicken, tomato and basil and he approved. He also chose the grilled kebabs and chicken tikka pieces from the Indian counter. He found the meat to be tender and coupled with steamed rice and Panchratan dal (lentil gravy), the meal was wholesome.

The desserts were a visual delight but we needed to walk off some of our food before we could do justice to the array of sweet options. We chose to explore the venue. Outside, the lagoon-shaped pool was flanked by a beautiful landscaped garden with palm trees. The stroll down the lawn was pleasant in the winter afternoon and panoramic views of the Dubai Creek and the city skyline were grand.

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The quick stroll helped and we soon returned to the dessert island. On display were a plethora of options including coconut cake with a juicy pineapple centre, cherry pyramid, raspberry cheesecake, strawberry mint mousse, mandarin cheesecake and crème brulee. There were also the perennial favourites—ice creams, sorbet, chocolate fountain, marshmallows and chocolate lollipops.

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My partner indulged in the chocolate mousse, crème brulee and followed the ice-cream cart for a dollop of strawberry ice cream. Cheesecakes being my weakness I couldn’t resist the mandarin and raspberry cheesecakes and they truly made my meal.

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Giardino makes a great addition to the brunch food scene in Dubai. Offering great food and friendly service, it could soon be the “go to place” for those looking to relax, meet friends and be seen.

 

 

 

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