Al Grissino (Italian) – Dubai

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al grissino dubaiConsidered one of Italy’s most famous dining spots in Milan, Al Grissino brought their brand and authenticity over to Dubai’s financial district in May 2015.

As can be seen, the interior certainly reflects a level of refinement that exudes class and sophistication.

Its intricate and all encompassing window design provides plenty of natural light, and with hanging clouds to match, this modern looking eatery is spacious and welcoming.

Al Grissino essentially comprises of three sections: a main lounge area, a bar, and a large fine dining room.

al-grissino Complementary bread and dips

Complementary bread and dips (Humus, artichoke, yogurt)

To begin with, we were presented with an assortment of bread types and accompanying sauces which, in all honesty, didn’t quite live up to the freshness of taste that we experienced at Nine 7 One.

And since the sauces did nothing to improve matters, the breads mostly remained untouched. Not the most auspicious of starts.

Al Grissino - Strewberry Mocktail, Mango Strawberry and Mixed Fruit AHD from 35

Al Grissino – Strawberry Mocktail; Mango Strawberry and Mixed Fruit, from AED 35 = £6.50

Not that bad a strawberry mint cocktail here, though not as refreshing as it could have been perhaps owing to the lack of mint.

As to the Mango Strawberry and Mixed Fruit drinks, then these were as good as they could get; and if you put aside the fancy fruit decoration, not much different to ones you’d pick up at a fraction of the cost from a lower end street-restaurant.

STARTERS

Al Grissino - French Fries AHD 35

Al Grissino – French Fries, AED 35 = £6.50

Although not explicitly stated, these fairly large french fries must have been triple fried to achieve that beautifully golden crispy exterior and soft, fluffy interior one would expect of the perfect chip.

Yes, it’s only chips; but how many manage to get something so simple so very wrong.

Al Grissino - Calamaretti con cannellini e cipolle di Tropea - Baby squid with cannellini beans an red onion

Baby squid with cannellini beans an trophy onion, AED 50 = £9.35

al-grissino-DSC00411Squid is notoriously difficult to get right, and when you don’t, you’ll end up with that familiar rubbery texture.

Alas, this was exactly that.

To make matters worse though, this and the accompanying beans were bland.

Even the much touted Taggiasca extra virgin olive oil dressing made not a jot of difference.

Despite its intense golden colour, this simply didn’t have what it takes to resuscitate this dish.

Al Grissino - Piovra e patate - Octopus with potatoes

Al Grissino – Octopus with potatoes, AED 50 = £9.35

As pretty and as dainty as this might look, we were hoping for more vis-a-vis flavour.

Not much more to say really, except that the octopus didn’t die in vain since we managed to finish the whole thing.

Al Grissino - Shrimp scampi with garlic, extra virgin olive oil and chilly

Shrimp scampi with garlic, extra virgin olive oil and chilli, AED 60 = £11.20

With so few ingredients, these bite sized scampi shrimps were perfectly seasoned and, therefore, a real treat.

Shame they haven’t evolved into something monstrously bigger yet!

Al Grissino - Sicilian Prawn with Broccoli

Sicilian Prawn with Broccoli AED 50 = £9.35

This prawn dish wasn’t officially on their menu, but we highly recommend you ask after it before putting in an order or three.

Not only was this far more meatier than the aforementioned shrimps, but also trumped them for flavour.

The chilli flakes were enough to offset the sweet marinade. Very well done!

Al Grissino - Ravioli filled with three meats - Beef, veil & chicken AHD 92

Ravioli filled with three meats – Beef, veal & chicken . 8 pieces; normal portion size, AED 92 = £17.20

Al Grissino - Ravioli cutDespite our excitement and anticipation of sampling some authentic Italian ravioli, we were left bitterly disappointed.

This is a classic case of style over substance.

We were hoping for a soft pasta exterior that would deliver an explosion of intricate flavours.

What we got instead, we’re sad to say, was not much different to any mass produced ravioli you’d purchase from a supermarket here in Britain.

These had a rubbery type texture with the three versions of meat relatively tasteless.

Parmesan scollop

Parmesan scallop

Parmesan is a strong flavoured cheese that needs to be handled with care particularly when you’re dealing with the delicate flavour of scallops.

Al Grissino - Parmesan Scallop CutEveryone knows that it’s imperative to allow good quality scallops to speak for themselves.

Perhaps these weren’t good quality, or perhaps the chef ended up being a little heavy handed with the cheese, but in this case, the Parmesan overpowered any of the natural sweetness that a scallop promises to deliver.

This particular dish was a bit of a disaster.

It was over salted, and over crispy as a result of the the bread crumbs being over done. It was all over after the first bite.

Nothing more to be said!

Al Grissino - Scampi Catalan Style

Scampi Catalan Style, AHD 60

An excellent dish, and such a pity that it was only a starter! Tomato and basil is, of course, a match made in heaven, and so this tomato sardine camino was perfectly complimented by the basil making this an absolute delight.

MAINS

Al Grissino - Chitarrine Pasta - with King Crab AED 145 & Risotto - Mixed seafood risotto AED 125

Chitarrine Pasta – with King Crab, AED 145 = £27 (left); Risotto – mixed seafood risotto, AED 125 = £23 (right)

Pasta and risotto is, it goes without saying, as Italian as it gets, and yet, once again, we were expecting more than what we got.

The chitarrine pasta was very cheesy in flavour; other than that, not much else came through. Let’s just say, we’ve had far better.

As for the risotto, then this was supposed to be mixed seafood. Unfortunately, we didn’t see much sign of any seafood. However, as with the above, this was let down by a distinct lack of flavour.

Thoroughly disappointing and definitely the worst thing we had on the night.

Al Grissino - Branzino al sale (Seabass backed in sea salt crust with cappers, olive AHD 395

Branzino al sale (Seabass baked in sea salt crust with capers and black olives, AED 395 = £74

Al Grissino - Branzino al sale SeabassThis dish is baked in the oven with a plastic type covering.

What we were thus presented with was a tomato flavour intensified by the cooking process that went wonderfully with the saltiness of the capers, and the rich bitter earthiness of the black olives.

A beautifully made meal which we literally fighting over with our forks.

Al Grissino - Black Angus beef tenderloin with foie gras and truffle AHD 225

Black Angus beef tenderloin with foie gras and truffle AED 225 = £42

These Canadian grass-fed Angus beef steaks were a delightful example of the relationship between the method of cooking and the texture of meat.

Al Grissino - Black Angus beefIn this case, we ordered one that was medium (right in the above pic) and the other well done (left). What we received was not only spot on, but turned out to be one of the best steaks we’ve had since the legendary Kosher steaks of La Fiesta.

These were so succulent and so full of flavour that you wonder why we don’t find more Canadian reared beef on our own shores.

The mushroom truffle too was a wonderful accompaniment and only served to deliver an additional taste sensation.

In all, an unbelievable experience and one we’re not likely to forget. Thanks you Al Grissino.

DESSERTS

Fine dining desserts are better than most places, so we’re always expecting the best and won’t be happy with anything less.

Al Grissino - Cioccolatoso - Chocolate desustation of Dark Kayabe, Dark Vanuary, Milk Kayabe and Gianduja AHD 65

Cioccolatoso – Chocolate Degustation of Dark Kayabe, Dark Vanuary, Milk Kayabe and Gianduja, AED 65 = £12

Don’t be put off by the posh sounding names with this Cioccolatoso. All you need to know is that this was composed of a variety of chocolate types of the highest quality.

What you also need to know is that when you present these chocolates in different texture types, including a fairly bitter crumbly soil along with the smoothest moose you’ll ever had, what you end up with is a piece of heaven on a plate. An absolutely must have dessert!

Al Grissino - Panna cotta ai frutti di bosco (with berries) AHD 55

Panna cotta ai frutti di bosco (with berries), AED 55 = £10

A wonderfully refreshing and creamy panna cotta that married very well with the intense fruitiness of the water-based sorbet, and the sweet and sour freshness delivered by the fruits.

Al Grissino - Tiramisu AHD 50

Tiramisu, AED 50 = £9.30

We know that tiramisu isn’t everyone’s cup of coffee, and this, though a very good one, wasn’t as good as the masterpiece we had over at Nine 7 One. What was distinctly lacking here was a contrast in texture, such as the crunch of a biscuit tuile, just to break up the sameness.

Having said that though, this was a top quality dessert that’s definitely worth a try especially if you like your tiramisus.

al-grissino-DSC00481

dammann paris tea

Dammann Paris Tea

And to help digest our 3 hour food marathon, we were given a special type of tea from Paris called Dammann along with some dainty little pastry treats.

As for the tea, then the best way for us to describe this is to simply say that it’s lighter in taste than the familiar British brand of PG Tips.

A pleasant end to an interesting evening of more highs than lows.

al-grissino receipt

We were well looked after as you can see.

THE ROAR
Al Grissino
4 FTL's Roar
4.5 Pride's Roar (1 Roar)
Alcohol/ Pork?
  • YES/ NO
Facilities
  • CHILD SEATING
Summary
What a wonderful and challenging evening it was at Al Grissino. Didn't quite live up to our expectations as a fine dining restaurant, particularly when it came to those quintessential Italian dishes you'd expect an Italian restaurant to knock out of the park, but there were more hits than misses here, with some absolutely blinding dishes. Those Canadian grass-fed Angus beef steaks were one. The other would be that unforgettable chocolatey orgasm that is a Cioccolatoso.

There's a lot to choose from on a menu that's fairly pricey, even for a fine dining establishment, so we'd recommend taking your time and asking lots of questions before putting in your order. We found the waiters to be very knowledgeable, extremely polite, and very patient in answering our queries and dealing with our concerns.
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Al Grissino Restaurant & Lounge
16th floor
Emirates Financial Towers
Dubai’s Financial District
DIFC
Dubai, UAE

Operating hours: Lunch: 12:00-15:00, Lounge: 13:00-02:00, Dinner: 19:00-23:30

T: +971 4 352 4000 | W: www.algrissinodubai.com | E: reservations@algrissinodubai.com

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