Time Out Says
Heave past the hefty plastic curtains that seal in the comfortably air-controlled outdoor terrace at the front of the restaurant, and inside you’ll find a very attractive yet urban-looking spot. Mozzo Centrale feels spacious and airy, with an understated combination of white, uncluttered walls and unpolished wooden planks that look like packing cases creating bookcases on them, and earthy stone tiles on the floor. There is also a raised area with plenty of soft leather seating.
The space is really inviting. Staff are fairly inviting too – friendly, helpful and quick to give honest recommendations from the menu. And in case you don’t want to take the waitress’ direction, across the menu dishes are also cutely flagged up as either being specialities, new additions, or both. That list meets somewhere between café and casual Italian, ranging from international breakfast classics, salads, sandwiches and burgers, through to Italian plates of risotto, gnocchi, pasta, and a speciality of pizza made in a wood-fired oven.
On that menu, there are also plenty of Italian-Mediterranean appetisers. Two sampled from that selection were the calamari fritti and melanzane forno. The batter of the calamari was wonderfully crisp and brittle on the outside, but the pleasure was undone by a fairly greasy sensation. But it was pleasantly served with a large helping of spinach to bring a little freshness to the plate.
The melanzane forno (aubergine from the oven) had in fact not spent nearly enough time with the forno, and may well have been an entirely different dish if it had. The tomato sauce was so watery in consistency that as the knife and fork entered this dish, the tomato water spilt over the edges of the plate uncontrollably. The aubergine slices still retained a hard and bitter undercooked edge, and aside from the browned layer on the very top of this dish, the grated mozzarella layers within had not even received enough heat to melt.
A shame, a real shame.
From the pizza list, the waitress helpfully directed us away from a beetroot-topped recipe and towards the bianca, which was topped with spinach, red onion, goat’s cheese and mushrooms. Again, this may well have been an excellent pizza were it not for one minor (yet ultimately major) glitch in the system. The base had a lovely flat and floury quality – the ingredients were all fresh and delicious. However, the spinach had wilted a little (either with the heat of the oven or residual heat of the pizza itself), becoming very watery, and leaving the pizza with a wet and unpleasant edge. Likewise, the mushroom slices had an undercooked yet watery quality to them.
There is something about the look and feel of Mozzo Centrale that means we’d love to tell you that this is a hidden gem rather than simply a hidden find. Unfortunately, with such issues affecting the overall quality of some of the dishes sampled, it’s difficult to recommend.
The bill (for one)
1x calamari fritti Dhs39
1x melanzane forno Dhs52
1x bianca pizza Dhs59
1x juice Dhs22
Total (excluding service) Dhs172
By Time Out Dubai staff | 21 Oct 2014
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