Time Out takes on Bussola to see if the heavyweight will make a winning return to the Dubai restaurant scene 38 Reviews
New Year's Eve offer
A four-course Italian set menu. Dhs950 (with house beverages), Dhs1,450 (with bubbly), Dhs450 (children aged six-11) (Wednesday)
New Year's Eve offer
A three-course set menu. Dhs650 (with house beverages), Dhs225 (children aged six-11) (Wednesday)
New Year's Eve offer
Live music from a DJ. Dhs380 (with sparkling and house beverages) (Wednesday)
- Picture 1 of 2
Sometimes when things go away, they end up coming back bigger and better than ever. Just look at George Foreman. The boxer held the world heavyweight title in the 70s, retired, then came back 10 years later, topping his division once again and making a mint with his Foreman grills.
It can go the other way, of course, as the Spice Girls discovered when they came back with a naff album and had to cut short their much vaunted world tour. Still, when we heard that Bussola, the outdoor Italian restaurant at Le Meridien Mina Seyahi was shutting up shop for a few months we were hoping that bigger things might be in the works.
We’ve always liked the Bussola setting – overlooking the Palm and the Gulf, with an al fresco pizzeria upstairs and à la carte dining below. These days, there’s a lot of development in the area, with the Westin Hotel looming in the background, as well as the reshuffled surrounding swimming pools and lawns. And don’t you just love the strong smell of a freshly built skyscraper hanging in the evening air?
Inside, it gets better. It may have been away, but Bussola has lost none of its popularity. It’s hard to get a table downstairs, and even if you succeed with your booking, you may have to linger at the bar until the table is ready.
However, if people are flocking here, we don’t necessarily think it’s because of the food. The sako tuna starter, for example, consisted of three large discs of soft meat, decorated with a blob of blue cheese and salad, but it quickly lost its appeal after a few mouthfuls. My dining partner’s antipasto looked much more exciting, with curls of pink meat weaving their way around a curved length of crispbread and scattered with parmesan and stuffed olives. Unfortunately the result was very salty on the palate.
Slightly more luck was to be had with the mains. The suckling pig, no longer suckling, but instead transformed into a thick slice of flaky pink meat, benefited from the bed of savoy cabbage mash and honeyed glaze – but again the meat itself was very salty. Easier on our mouth ulcers was the baby chicken , which was soft and tender with a tasty citrus kick in the middle. After that lot dessert feels like a must-have, even if it’s just to get rid of the salty taste, and for that the usual Italian staples, such as tiramisu, are all present and correct.
Perhaps Bussola hasn’t fully awoken from its stasis period and there are better things to come, but it’s a shame the food didn’t quite seem up to par overall. At least the view, setting and general atmosphere are still up to scratch.
The bill (for two)
1x Large Panna water Dhs19
1x Antipasto Dhs56
1x Sako Tuna Dhs52
1x Baby Chicken Dhs145
1x Maialino Dhs128
1x Margarita Dhs35
1x Pinacolada Dhs35
Total (including service) Dhs470
By Jeremy Lawrence
- Previous reviews
- 23 April,2014- reviewed by Time Out Dubai staff
- 15 April,2013- reviewed by Time Out Dubai staff
- 22 March,2012- reviewed by Time Out Dubai staff
- 23 March,2011- reviewed by Time Out Dubai staff
- 06 April,2010- reviewed by Time Out Dubai staff
- 25 March,2010- reviewed by Time Out Dubai staff
- 24 March,2010- reviewed by Time Out Dubai staff
- 19 March,2009- reviewed by Time Out Dubai staff
- 12 May,2008- reviewed by Mark Smith
- 26 March,2008- reviewed by Jeremy Lawrence
- 12 March,2007- reviewed by Time Out Dubai Staff
- 20 December,2006- reviewed by Time Out Dubai Staff
- 30 April,2006- reviewed by Time Out Dubai
- 01 July,2005- reviewed by Matthew Lee
Time Out reviews restaurants anonymously and pays for meals. Of course, we cannot guarantee the accuracy or independence of user reviews.