Torno Subito

Italian restaurant from globally acclaimed chef Massimo Bottura
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Time Out Says

There’s nothing quite like Torno Subito in Dubai. But for us, the jury’s still out on whether or not that’s to be celebrated.

Meaning ‘be right back’ in Italian, it’s the first opening outside of Italy for acclaimed chef Massimo Bottura – he of Osteria Francescana, decreed the world’s best restaurant in 2018.

And certainly, it’s something to behold. The whole place has been designed to feel ‘playful’, like a ’60s ice cream parlour by the sea, complete with giant glossy beach balls installed on the terrace.

If you’re visiting in the evening, and the weather is favourable enough, book a table outside.

Indeed, there’s an indisputably rampant whimsy to the candy-hued interiors, but the insistent fluorescent lighting throughout
is jolting. You wouldn’t be hard pressed to find more appropriate mood lighting in your local supermarket.

While the setting and sell of Subito veers towards the casual, the reputation of its chef patron does not, and diners seem unsure of what to expect. While half the restaurant is in flip-flops, slurping down pizza, the rest look one garment short of a top hat.

And even after dining, we’re not entirely sure which is the correct look.

From a simple-sounding menu, incredibly meticulous dishes surface.

We order something from every section – starters, pasta, mains, pizza – to share. Our conditioning by the modern dining industry
has been robust, but Subito’s?

Not so much. A tagliatelle ragu arrives divided into two dishes, as does the grilled octopus.

We’re wrong-footed, and quickly seek reassurance our pizza won’t be cut in half and served separately, as if it were 1992 and we were dining with our parents.

Serving style aside, the octopus is a winning dish – salty, crispy yet yielding, and swimming in a vibrant, almost soup-like pea sauce. Topped with colourful beets, it looks like a garden, and tastes every bit as vibrant.

As for the pasta, the ribbons themselves boast that elusive bounce of the home-made, but the ragu is nothing worth sending a postcard to mamma about.

When a margherita arrives (intact, viva!), it certainly looks the part, all blistered, puffy crust, swathes of datterino-red sauce and stubborn blobs of fresh, milky mozzarella.

Which only serves to make the first bite even more disappointing. The abundant sauce is sweet – too sweet – and almost vinegary in its tartness.

For a restaurant from this kind of stock, it’s hard not to expect better. It straddles simple and complicated dining, and executes neither at a particularly high level.

Pick one and throw the kitchen sink at it. And someone, please turn the lights down.

Torno subito? We’re not dusting off our tailcoats just yet.

Italian restaurant from globally acclaimed chef Massimo Bottura

For a gawk at the distinctly un-Dubai interior design

By Time Out Dubai staff  | 23 May 2019

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Dubai, Palm Jumeirah, W Dubai – The Palm, Palm Jumeirah

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