There’s no denying the draw of Quattro Passi. It’s set within the impressive FIVE Palm Jumeirah Dubai, with its striking architectural features and intertwining arches that steal your gaze as you make your way into the venue.
Then there’s that stunning, long (if oddly narrow and slightly-too-close-to-the-window-seats) pool which, on a gloriously sunny afternoon, brings on those calming holiday vibes. Overall, it sets a wonderfully chilled-out scene for a Friday afternoon.
We’ve mused about Quattro Passi before. We liked the fancy dining room, with its fine-dining flourishes – all crisp whites with flecks of gold and statement pink walls. We liked the proper Italian menu offering a choice of antipasti, primi and secondi courses. We liked the inventive dishes and artful presentation. So we’re intrigued to see what the restaurant’s brunch has to offer.
We’re greeted on arrival by enthusiastic staff, who, since there aren’t many people in for brunch, encourage us pick any table in the house – window seats are by far the best to soak up that holiday feel.
Brunch here happens à la carte, and we’re initially stunned by the sheer volume of what is about to be served. There are five dishes in the antipasti course, two pastas for the primi course while two main courses comprise the secondi piatti. Then (breathe in) there are four desserts to finish things off.
It sounds overwhelming, but thankfully, portion sizes aren’t intimidating. The antipasti features mini tomato pizzas and the most deliciously rich and intensely cheesy stuffed pizza dough we’ve ever eaten. Don’t overdo it on the fluffy focaccia and olive-infused bread brought out to you before any of the food arrives. Probably just nibble on a breadstick instead – you’ll want to save room for those cheese-stuffed dough balls.
Salads are a bit underwhelming – the cuttlefish a little dried up and the plain curly leaves they lie atop in desperate need of some more vegetable companions. A plate of burrata that follows, however, lifts the experience ten-fold. Butter-soft on the outside, perfectly melty within, with juicy-sweet cherry tomatoes accompanying. It’s one of the tastiest renditions we’ve tried in Dubai.
Sadly, the high points of the food end here. The pasta, although cooked al dente, is far too plain (one in a cheese sauce, the other in tomato) and in dire need of seasoning, as is the sea bass and slow-cooked beef cheek, which is a shame, since the texture of the latter is gooey, fall-apart perfection.
Even if you don’t have room for dessert, the cannoli, with its cream cheese filling flecked with zesty bites of dried fruit, is a must-try.
Again, we like the brunch at Quattro Passi. But it is a little bit hit and miss.
With closer attention to seasoning and a little more depth of flavour, perhaps we could just fall in love.
Dhs350 (soft drinks), Dhs480 (house beverages), Dhs780 (bubbly). Fri 12.30pm-3.30pm. FIVE Palm Jumeirah Dubai (04 455 9988).
The bottom line
Good but not mind-blowing food in a setting that demands a bit better.