Time Out Says
Amongst other diners we guessed to be predominantly hotel guests, we took a seat by the large window space, which offered us not breathtaking but attractive views of the sea. Glancing through the menu, I was pleased to find a selection of dishes that were confidently and strictly Italian in concept, with a selection that spanned pizza, pasta, risottos and more elaborate ‘second plates’. While some of the dishes were imaginative and interesting, in most cases they also sounded very appetising and my friend and I were taken by an enjoyable, albeit rare, bout of indecision over what to order.
Service was formal, polite and helpful and although the waiter knew what was on the menu, he wasn’t able to give us particularly useful recommendations. Indecision and recommendations aside, we did eventually make our own minds up and opted for the beef carpaccio and scallops with crispy polenta to start. Neatly presented, the beef carpaccio was a classic mix of thin raw beef slices topped with shavings of parmesan and rocket leaves. It was nicely done and good enough to convert my friend to the cause of carpaccio with a few mouthfuls. The real twist to this dish, however, were the tiny shreds of basil leaf that had been artfully rolled into the beef slices and the rather generous slices of black truffle around the plate. Both made the dish more intense and aromatic than the average recipe, as well as more interesting. The scallops were also enjoyable, with a softly flavoured yet fresh pea puree, decent and tender scallops and a creamy polenta patty as a base.
Moving on to main courses, we opted for the grilled seafood platter and the slow roasted corn-fed chicken with wild mushrooms. Unfortunately from a service point of view, the waiter’s explanation of what types of seafood were included in the platter were mostly incorrect. However, the plate arrived and the selection was elegantly presented in a long thin line ending in an upturned mussel shell, which the waiter explained was designed to look like the prow of a ship. The extremely bountiful plate included scallops, seabass, salmon, shrimps, squid and octopus and probably could have fed two diners (I checked this before ordering and the waiter insisted it was a main course for one). Sadly, the act of eating this attractive plate was mildly disappointing, because although the small fish fillets were reasonably well prepared, the seafood tasted unfortunately overcooked.
Similarly, my friend’s plate of slow roasted chicken was prettily presented on a thin rectangular plate and looked fairly plentiful, but it produced mixed results. The chicken leg and thigh were juicy and delicious, but the breast meat was dry. Still, I enjoyed the accompaniment of smoky beef bacon and wild mushroom, despite its nearly overpowering flavours and richness.
After our disappointment with the main courses, we consoled ourselves with some dessert, a tiramisu and chocolate fondant. In both cases, they were classically conceived and nice enough.
L’Olivo is by no means a disaster and it is certainly an improvement on other experiences at the Rixos The Palm. Sadly though, it could do with yet another refresh of that promising- sounding menu.
The bill (for two)
1x scallops Dhs85
1x beef carpaccio Dhs85
1x slow roasted chicken Dhs165
1x mixed seafood grill Dhs210
1x chocolate fondant Dhs45
1x tiramisu Dhs45
2x large water Dhs50
Total (including service) Dhs685
By Time Out Dubai staff | 13 Aug 2013
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