W hen a restaurant with a grand tradition opens, you sit up and take notice. There will be plenty who want to be seen in the swanky new dining room, and there will, no doubt, be people waiting to see if it lives up to its name.
And so it is with DIFC’s Cipriani. Back in 1931, Giuseppe Cipriani opened the now world-famous Harry’s Bar in Venice. From there, Cipriani has become a global chain. A name synonymous with class and tradition, and renowned for its way with Italian cuisine as well as mixed beverages (a certain bubbly and peach creation originates from Harry’s Bar).
The DIFC incarnation is already popular and as such offers two-hour seating slots. When we arrive, the welcome could not be warmer. At the table, courgette fritters are a great nibble while you chew over the menu.
Looking past the expensive Japanese raw section (that’s not why we we’re here, after all) we find plenty to like elsewhere. The burrata is big enough for three, with a creamy, oozing centre. The tomatoes accompanying it are wonderfully sweet, which helps with the slightly-too-salty cheese. The beef carpaccio is delicate and as good as you can possibly get, while the Downtown salad of langoustine, avocado, tomatoes, olives and beans is fresh and healthy.
At this point, we’re very aware of the time restriction on our table, with waiters hovering and taking our plates as soon as cutlery is put down.
Main courses are brought out instantly and are little cold. Too long on the pass, maybe. Despite the temperature, the gnocchi and the calf’s liver are excellent, and come in generous portions.
Two hours is more than enough to enjoy a meal, so there really is no need to hurry guests along. If staff can get this part right, Dubai’s Cipriani will be up there with the best in DIFC.
The Bill (for two) 1x beef carpaccio Dhs95 1x burrata Dhs95 1x Downtown salad Dhs80 1x gnocchi Dhs80 1x calf's liver Dhs185 2x large water Dhs62 Total (including DIFX tax) Dhs657.70
The bottom line Great food and a warm welcome, but don’t expect a leisurely meal.