Time Out Says
It was clear from looking at the menu that Ciao was by no means attempting to push culinary boundaries – its antipasti, pasta, pizza and pesce dishes are served in Italian restaurants the world over. But as simple as the menu is, it’s relatively varied, and in order to sample a cross section of dishes, my date and I agreed to share a calamari starter with tomato salsa and aioli, and a pizza, before tackling the main course.
Ciao only offers margarita pizza, but diners can also order from a selection of toppings – Dhs5 each, plus real pepperoni, which costs a handsome Dhs25. We instead opted for the beef pepperoni, only to be told that there was no beef pepperoni, just dried beef. Dried beef? Well, why not?
By the time our starters arrived, we’d managed to get through two baskets of bread. It was good bread, but this doesn’t excuse the fact that we had time to eat so much of the stuff while we waited. Not only was I annoyed, but I was full, and had the starters been any good I would have been more annoyed. I wasn’t missing out – the calamari was poorly presented and dry (the tomato salsa and aioli never materialised), while the pizza appeared, then disappeared when the waitress realised it hadn’t been cut into slices. Granted, traditional Italian pizza isn’t cut into slices, but then traditional Italian pizza isn’t often served with dried beef topping.
On the strength of the starters we were in no hurry for the mains, which is just as well because they took an age to arrive. When they did, it transpired that only 150g of my date’s 300g sirloin was edible – the other half consisted of gristle and fat. He did, however, say the fries were excellent, though no Italian restaurant should be commended on the strength of its French fries. My scaloppini di manzo was far better – the meat was soft, well seasoned and very tasty. I dare say I’d have really enjoyed it if I hadn’t already eaten my bodyweight in bread. Besides, I was too busy writing this review in my head – trying to work out a clever way to say ‘ciao’ to Ciao once and for all.
The bill (for two)
1x Calamari fritti Dhs45
1x Pizza with six toppings Dhs90
1x Sirloin steak Dhs140
1x Scaloppini di manzo Dhs145
Total (including 10 per cent service) Dhs420
Discounts available with VISA – click here for details.
By Oliver Robinson | 05 Jan 2011
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