DUBAI Ever wondered how delightful a combination World Cup winners France and Italy could make on a football pitch? Well football or not, they surely make an epicurean delight at Kitchen 45, the ‘refined’ dining section, as head chef Maxime Le Van prefers calling it, of Embassy Dubai at the Grosvenor House.
A European-themed restaurant primed to perfect Mediterranean cuisine on the 45th floor of Tower 2 (hence the name), Kitchen 45 specialises in serving dishes that have a French or Italian touch.
“That depends on who you ask – Maxime who is from France or me,” says the restaurant’s new Italian manager, Davide Maio, tongue firmly in cheek.
However, what both and pretty much everyone else would swear by even before the food arrives, are the spectacular views of the night-time Dubai Marina that Kitchen 45 offers.
Backdrop nicely set, we were welcomed by a Chef special ‘Nice’ chilled pesto soup entrée as we began glancing through the menu.
With a photographer from La Rochelle keeping me company and a Nicean chef at work, I had imagined French to be the order of the day, but it turned out a proper Italian job to start with, thanks to the La Burrata (Dh220).
An island of fresh Italian cheese made from Mozzarella and tastefully bordered by slices of tomato, basil, truffle and aged balsamic, the portion’s meant to be shared.
Imported from Puglia, our Burrata (Italian for butter) was true to its name. With solid mozzarella coating silky soft insides, also made of fresh cream, Burrata is served warm and fresh to be a true cheese-lover’s delight.
Next came our individual dishes; the idea was to get a taste of two ‘small plates’ – a Braised Lamb Shoulder (Dh80) and a Marinated Octopus (Dh75).
A Kitchen 45 signature, the chunks of lamb we were told were marinated for over 12 hours before they were slow cooked with Tuscanelli beans (beans grown in Tuscany), sage and ‘anchovy fritters’ to taste on the sides. A dish worth its salt, in every sense.
I’m definitely not a connoisseur of octopus, so this had to be something special to have me dig out the finely chopped slices mixed with a dash of ginger, herbs and citrus. Soft and warm, the meat tasted as good as the chef had promised.
Time to tuck into the main course next. It was the turn of Lobster Tagliolini (Dh215). A variation of tagliatelle pasta that is long and cylindrical, our tagliolini was cooked with tomato and basil in a bisque – a creamy, well-seasoned broth of premium ‘blue’ lobsters from Brittany, north-western France. Bisque, thought to have originated in the Bay of Biscay off western France, can also be classically made from crab, shrimp or crayfish, but we were happy with the lobster this time around.
Roasted Duck Breast (Dh160) complemented the lobster well. The meat not necessarily soft to your liking, tasted great nonetheless, served with harissa (a hot Tunisian chilli sauce), milk curd, spices and a dollop of sweet potato on the side.
With just enough space left for one dessert, we went for Like A Tiramisu (Dh40). Made with lots of almonds, coffee and rich portions of mascarpone – the cheese from Lombardy made from cream that often makes a great tiramisu, the sweet ending was indeed the perfect icing!
Loaction: Gosvenor House, Dubai
Timings: Monday to Friday, 8pm to midnight