Let’s start by pointing out one thing: this brunch is an absolute culinary force. Quite simply, the array of dishes and quality of food on offer is absolutely outstanding. But more on that to come later.
It should also be noted that its DIFC location is particularly quiet on the weekends, which comes as no surprise as most outlets in this part of town thrive between Sunday and Thursday. That said, once you’ve found your way to Ravioli & Co on the mezzanine level of the Burj
Daman building, you will be treated to a world-class display of Italian grub, up there with the most authentic and flavoursome we’ve tried.
We arrive promptly at noon for the Nonna’s Lunch Friday brunch – but while the restaurant is (barring some waiting staff) completely empty, we’re not put off because our menu research tells us our bellies will be busted.
A five-course meal awaits: sharing starters, soup, multiple pasta dishes, a hefty meat-based main course and a selection of desserts.
This traditional trattoria has a quaint charm about it. Run by all-Italian staff and chefs, everything about it is designed to take you to the rolling hills of Italy, and dishes are based on the country’s traditional eats.
Gentle Italian music creates a soft ambience while a selection of plates arrive to begin our meal. A traditional bruschetta, veal meatballs with a marinara sauce, beautifully crispy seafood calamari, baked mushrooms in a cream sauce and a simple-but-effective caprese salad get us underway. The authenticity shows, every dish is a delight, and with our palettes sufficiently whetted (perhaps we got a bit keen on the bread) we’re handed a considerately sized bowl of lentil soup, which is a soft, light and subtle primer to our mains.
We let our starters digest, while we wait for the two (yes, two) pasta dishes we’re asked to order per person. We choose the lamb ragu with pappardelle, home-made lasagne, the aubergine and mozzarella ravioli, and the cappellacci (another form of ravioli) with porcini mushrooms and pumpkin. It’s way too much food, but when it’s this good, we’re happy to lose a bit of pride and wolf down as much as we can before our meat arrives.
A grilled tenderloin steak heralds the end of our savoury scoffing, and we ask for the rest to take away, but we save room for the trio of desserts to sate our sweet needs – a delightfully moreish tiramisu, profiteroles and crema Catalana. We devour it all, but we hope a gurney is on standby to wheel us out afterwards.
“We don’t often eat like this,” says our waiter, who explains that such a feast is usually reserved for Christmas. In which case, we wish it could be Christmas every day.
Bring your stretchy pants.
Dhs245 (soft drinks), Dhs289 (house grape), Dhs349 (sparkling grape). Fri noon-4pm. Burj Daman, DIFC (04 241 1616).
The bottom line
For foodies, this this brunch is super.