Sunday, October 7, 2007


Kempinski Hotel
Mall of the Emirates
Bookings: 04 341 0000

This Italian restaurant is located on the 2nd Floor of the Kempinski Hotel in the Mall of the Emirates.

It is light and bright, wooden floors, white linen table clothes and the tables are quite well spaced.

You walk past the open kitchen when you enter and I suppose I should have listened more carefully to the alarm bells that were ringing as we witnessed a rather loud exchange between chef and waiter on what one guest had ordered. Hmmm.

The menu is surprisingly short and rather limited, only three pasta dishes, one risotto and a small handful of chicken, meat and fish dishes.

We were with the children and were somewhat surprised to find that there were no special provisions made the little ones. Still after some discussion the waiter kindly agreed to do a small portion of spaghetti bolognaise, a spaghetti with tomato sauce (not on the menu) and a small bowl of plain spaghetti just with butter and parmesan. They got points for being pretty accommodating and I was quite impressed.

I ordered a black ink fettuccine with chicken and mushrooms and my wife had a grilled chicken with cheesy mash.

The bolognaise and the tomato sauce pastas were both okay but sadly my pasta dish was quite possibly the most bland thing I have had in a very long time. It tasted of nothing and I had to really go to town with the black pepper to get any life out of it at all.

My wife’s chicken was okay, tasty enough, but she found that the cheese in the mash was very overpowering. It had also sort of set so made the potatoes glutinous and very stodgy.

All in all it was very unimaginative, poorly worked and lacked any kind of inspiration at all.

My daughter’s plain pasta was shocking, they had spooned on piles and piles of butter which had the added bonus of being slightly rancid, it tasted revolting and was immediately returned.

When we were presented with the bill we were extremely surprised to find that the children’s pasta was being charged at full price even though they were served quite small portions, and were even more surprised to find that we were being charged for the plain spaghetti even though we had returned it. Still, fair do’s to them they changed the bill without any fuss and everyone was pretty polite about the whole thing.

I am afraid that this restaurant is yet another example of really what is wrong with the dining scene in Dubai. Five star hotel, serving two star quality food, but still managing to charge five star prices.

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