We may have developed a nice warm, homely feeling as we walked into this mock-Italian farmhouse kitchen – all roughly plastered walls, muted candlelight and huddled diners among hanging pans and bottles of olive oil 12 Reviews
As Italian tragedies go it’s up there with La Bohème. Il Rustico used to be one of our very favourite mid-priced Italians, the atmosphere invariably warm and inviting, the service exemplary and, most importantly the food was superb. But then things started to slip while the pizza and salads remained the best in town, the quality of the mains plummeted. So when news reached Time Out Towers that the restaurant had a new menu hopes were high that tides had been turned and the place would return to former glories. But as I peeled back the lasagna’s abjectly limp flap of cheese-sodden pasta to reveal a layer of sliced salami as floppy as a dead cat’s tongue and infinitely less appetising, it became clear that this was not to be. People have ended up in the Creek wearing nothing but a pair of concrete ballet shoes for less. But that wasn’t the only crime committed against Italian cuisine here.
We may have developed a nice warm, homely feeling as we walked into this mock-Italian farmhouse kitchen – all roughly plastered walls, muted candlelight and huddled diners among hanging pans and bottles of olive oil. But when the stereo blared ‘Unchained Melody’, being caterwauled by a frustrated classical tenor, I began to wish the chains had remained intact. Granted, we enjoyed tucking into warm, crusty focaccia bread and roasted garlic as we perused Il Rustico’s new menu. But eating the food was a different matter altogether. For instance, our seafood platter offered a miserly scattering of deep fried nuggets spread out with all the aplomb of a frisked hoodlum. The calamari made us wonder whether Mr T had dropped his earrings in the deep-fat fryer, and the mussels in breadcrumbs were so hot they could only have been cooled by an icy stare from Tony Soprano himself.
But Il Rustico’s vendetta against the paying public didn’t stop there. My friend’s tuna steaks were as dry as John Major’s memoirs, and tasted as foul as a Sicilian insult; while the accompanying mashed potato tower was as crumbling and precarious as the one in Pisa. Then, as if we hadn’t suffered enough, a disco version of ‘Happy Birthday’ was piped through the speakers as a waitress delivered a dilapidated slice of cake with a plaintive candle to an embarrassed diner, while the rest of the staff clapped vigorously like Lazio supporters at a neo-Nazi rally. Unfortunately, not even a very ordinary tiramisu and semi-palatable lemon tart could atone for Il Rustico’s past misdemeanours. So, whatever future crimes against cookery this organisation is plotting to wreak upon the good restaurant-going folk of Dubai, we’re begging them to go straight – straight back to the old menu.
The bill (for two)
Mineral water Dhs15
Seafood platter Dhs41
Tuna steaks Dhs69
Lemon and lime tart Dhs22
Total (including service) Dhs211
- Previous reviews
- 21 April,2014- reviewed by Time Out Dubai staff
- 15 April,2013- reviewed by Time Out Dubai staff
- 24 March,2011- reviewed by Time Out Dubai staff
- 06 April,2010- reviewed by Time Out Dubai staff
- 19 March,2009- reviewed by Time Out Dubai staff
- 26 March,2008- reviewed by Jeremy Lawrence
- 12 March,2007- reviewed by Time Out Dubai Staff
- 30 April,2006- reviewed by TimeOut Dubai Staff
- 01 May,2004- reviewed by Rob Orchard
- 01 November,2001- reviewed by Time Out Dubai Staff
Time Out reviews restaurants anonymously and pays for meals. Of course, we cannot guarantee the accuracy or independence of user reviews.