Live out your Godfather fantasies in Jumeirah at the Hilton hotel 37 Reviews
The Italian restaurant’s new brunch offers a four-course menu of house signatures, along with Italian sparkling grape, hops and mixed drinks. Dhs285 (soft drinks). Dhs375 (house beverages), Dhs135 (children below 12) Timings: 1pm-4pm (Friday)
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The ice cubes in the raised glasses tinkled and sparkled as they caught the light. The resident jazz pianist tenaciously played over the general, jovial furore. The longest table in the restaurant, bustling with family members from across the generations, suddenly fell silent, as its head, a mature, silver-haired man in black, proposed a toast.
‘You done good boys,’ he half whispered, half growled. ‘Long may the good times role...’
Or at least, that was the Corleone moment running through my head, as my partner and I dined at the consistently elegant Bice ristorante. Obviously, with George Clooney in the lead role.
Bice may be located past the slightly outdated lobby of the Hilton hotel, past the rubble and maze-like roads of the Marina, but it utterly oozes Italian sophistication. Inspired by Beatrice (‘Bice’ to her friends) Ruggini’s 1926 family kitchen, the brand has spread the ‘cucina’ love across the globe, now boasting locations everywhere from New York, Milan and Tokyo to here. With its glossy wooden floors, black and white prints, high colonial ceilings (and, fortunately, now more evenly spaced tables than on our last visit) we can only assume the Ruggini’s were among Italy’s highest society (or that our imaginations are overactive).
The menu itself matches the grand interior, bucking the Italian trend by offering more starters than pasta, and more meat dishes than pizza. But they do still offer a near-comical number of (year-specific) olive oils, vinegars and assorted other condiments, all carted about on a special, over-loaded trolley.
After soaking our warm complimentary bread with enough olive oil to add at least five years to both our life spans, our starters arrived. While my partner’s was fresh and light bresola, mine was a rotund dollop of buffalo mozzarella, proudly crowned by a cherry tomato. It looked not a little like it may have been modelled on one of Bice’s own motherly assets.
Our appetisers having thankfully left us with an appetite, we had plenty of space for the main affair: juicy jumbo prawns and scallops for my friend and a moist, rosy rare tuna steak, balanced atop potatoes and colourful vegetables for myself. Both arrived in manageable portions; both were vacuumed from plates with relish. Extraordinarily prompt service (bordering on fawning) meant we had ample time for dessert.
We opted for generous scoops of zesty fruit sorbet and an over-achieving mille feuille – including an extra brownie that could easily have been a dish in its own right. And so naturally, our digestif tea came with a tower of biscuits and chocolates. Indeed, rethinking the imaginary Godfather moment, we would put latter-day Marlon Brando in the lead, so irresistible is the food in Beatrice’s extremely stylish kitchen.
The bill (for two)
1 Bresola Dhs80
1 Buffallo mozzarella Dhs87
1 Bluefin tuna Dhs140
1 Prawn gamberoni Dhs180
1 Mille feuille Dhs54
1 Sorbet mix Dhs33
2 Peppermint tea Dhs32
Total (excluding service) Dhs606
By James Brennan
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