Quaintly cute Italian decor at this Mirdif City Centre restaurant 22 Reviews
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For shoppers, Mirdif City Centre is a dream come true: it’s virtually empty, meaning they can peruse stores hassle-free. However, the lack of people doesn’t do much for the atmosphere of its restaurants, which are, at the best of times, ghostly quiet.
Al Forno, the new Italian eatery, is no different. On our visit, despite the handful of people scattered across the L-shaped interior, the vibe was far from bubbling. However, the layout means that rather than sitting in full view of the mall’s bright white walkways, guests can tuck themselves around the corner and lose themselves among the quaint faux-Italian furnishings. We took our seats alongside a (fake) exposed brick wall sporting a multitude of photos depicting iconic Italian landmarks – the decor was certainly clichéd, but it had charm, and we were further enamoured by the friendly, if slightly hapless, staff.
I asked one for a recommendation and he reeled off a list of dishes, though I soon realised that he was simply reciting the names of the dishes that appeared in photos on the menu. We decided instead to take our chances with the bruschetta di fungi. While the waiter may not have been an expert on the menu, he was quick to bring our starter, yet despite its timely arrival the bruschetta was disappointing: the dry baguette slices were topped with a rubbery, turgid mozzarella. It turned out that the bruschetta was a telling precursor of the rest of the meal.
For mains I ordered the Favorita pizza, which looked promising on paper – pepperoni, sun-dried tomato, black olives and a sprinkling of rosemary. What made it intriguing, however, was its potato topping. Potato on a pizza? Well, if you can put pineapple on a pizza, why not potato? Because it makes the whole thing too heavy, that’s why. What’s more, the potato had gone crispy in the wood-fired oven, meaning the pizza was rendered crunchy. Not only did this make for an odd sensation when biting into the dough, but it smothered the other components, so the concoction tasted of nothing but fried potato. My date’s lamb chops were equally disappointing – the accompanying potatoes were competently prepared, but ultimately the cutlets were thin, tough and offered little flavour.
If Al Forno’s food lived up to its warm, cosy interior, then maybe there would be another reason to visit Mirdif other than for the shops. But it will take plenty of fine tuning before we’re ready to make the trek again.
The bill (for two)
1x Bruschetta di funghi Dhs19
1x Grilled lamb chops Dhs76
1x Favorita pizza Dhs39
Total bill (excluding service) Dhs134
Time Out Dubai,
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