Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Dubai Restaurant Review: Carluccio's, Dubai Marina Mall

In a nutshell: disappointing panini but friendly service

Carluccio's at Dubai Marina Mall offers seating inside the restaurant as well as 'outside' in what is basically a corridor with huge windows looking out onto the Marina. The Noodle House next door has seating truly outside along the promenade and we couldn't work out why Carluccio's hasn't done the same. Our table in the corridor wasn't too draughty but there was a table next to us with sofa-style seating and during our 30 minutes there, 3 separate groups of people sat down there and then moved because it was too cold. Inside was a bit cramped, although it was warmer. At the entrance there is also a small food shop area where you can buy olive oils, biscuits, pastas and sauces but I didn't see anything within my budget of about Dhs 100 that was really suitable for giving as a Christmas present - there was a lovely set of oils in a wooden box for closer to Dhs 200 though.

Although I'm not supposed to eat yeast and I try to avoid too much starch - especially wheat - I have been really craving a panini. When I saw the mozarella and tomato panini on the menu it brought back memories of the countless ones I've eaten in France and I just had to order it. If I had been being good, I could have ordered from a small selection of salads or a good range of main courses that included lamb, beef, chicken and fish - they also have pasta but no pizza. Unfortunately, my stomach ruled over my brain. Had the panini been the amazing sandwich I was expecting then I wouldn't have been concerned about my lapse...sadly it was really disappointing and so didn't justify the potential IBS flare-up.

All the amazing panini I have had have been made with a soft, rather thin long roll that is pressed into the panini-machine so the bread grills and the food inside gets hot with any cheese melting deliciously. Carluccio's idea of a panini was a rather thick ciabatta-style bread which they grilled and then added the filling to. The sandwich had not been squashed down in the panini-machine and the filling was cold inside the lukewarm bread. It had been cut in two halves so I ate one half and then sent the other half back to be 'properly panini-ed' - the second half was a lot better than the cold first half but it still wasn't as it should be.

This is the Carluccio's panini:

This is how a panini should really look - my mouth just waters looking at this:

Having said all that, Simon had a tuna panini and he really enjoyed it. If you took it just as a sandwich, then it was perfectly acceptable but since it was supposed to be a panini I was left completely disappointed with my panini craving still unsatisfied. The staff were all very friendly though and the prices were standard for this type of cafe so I will give Carluccio's a second chance and try one of their main course items one day, but never again their panini!

1 comment: