Vivaldi by Alfredo Russo

Italian food and a Michelin star pedigree at the Sheraton Dubai Creek
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Time Out Says

When a restaurant is under the patronage of a Michelin-starred chef we think it’s perfectly acceptable to expect great things from your meal. The menu at Vivaldi opens with a page laying out all of Alfredo Russo’s accomplishments – and it makes for impressive reading, especially about the awards and accolades coming throughout his long career.

The menu itself also makes for good reading, with a short but delicious-sounding selection of pastas and mains, and a few pizzas. The decor inside is light and spacious, but we were outside looking over the Creek.

The music was a little incongruous – it seemed more Oriental than European – and since we sat on the terrace, there really was nothing to give the impression that this was an Italian restaurant.

Service, though well meaning, was a little hapless. We seemed to have two waiters, and neither knew what the other one had taken orders for. As a result it took until halfway through our starter for drinks to arrive, and bread came a good five minutes before any oil to go with it.

The starter was a tagliere, a sharing meat and cheeseboard. There wasn’t a lot of either and it came with some undressed rocket leaves, roasted tomatoes and olives. It was underwhelming. When you order a starter like this, where there’s no actual cooking involved, you expect the individual pieces to be outstanding. We can’t say they were here. The cheese was a bit on the cold side, not long enough out of the fridge, and the meats were standard. All in all, it was a let-down and if you do make it to Vivaldi, we recommend trying one of the other options.

The main courses were more hit and miss. We chose agnolotti, which was square pasta parcels stuffed with braised beef. They came in a butter sauce with sage. It was simplicity itself, and very good. The pasta was thin and cooked perfectly, the beef was melt-in-the-mouth and full of flavour and the sauce was rich. There was nowhere to hide with this dish and thankfully it was well executed.

The same cannot be said for the other main course – a cod fillet. It was described as coming with a parsley and brioche crust, French beans salad, semi-dried cherry tomatoes and roasted garlic and potato sauce. Let’s start with the crust, because it was anything but crusty. The green topping for the fillet was soft and could have done with a few minutes under a grill before coming out of the kitchen. The fish itself was also limp and lacking any identifiable flavour.

The sauce saved the dish somewhat from the doldrums – it was light and earthy at the same time, and was the only real flavour on the plate. The salad of green beans turned out to be a meagre portion of beans, nothing to class it as a salad, and the semi-dried tomatoes were roasted on the vine, another misleading description on the menu.

Vivaldi by Alfredo Russo promised so much, but on our visit failed to deliver on many fronts. The view was stunning and the pasta hit the spot but other than that, there is room for much improvement. If Chef Russo was in the kitchen rather than just having devised the menu the presentation and execution of the dishes would most likely have been on another level, not the one we experienced.

The bill (for two)
1 x tagliere sharing platter Dhs130
1 x agnolotti Dhs68
1 x cod Dhs140
1 x soda water Dhs22
1 x mocktail Dhs35
Total (including service) Dhs395

By Time Out Dubai staff  | 16 Dec 2014

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Details

12:00 PM to 11:00 PM
Sunday: 12:00 PM to 11:00 PMMonday: 12:00 PM to 11:00 PMTuesday: 12:00 PM to 11:00 PMWednesday: 12:00 PM to 11:00 PMThursday: 12:00 PM to 11:00 PMFriday: 12:00 PM to 11:00 PMSaturday: 12:00 PM to 11:00 PM
Show number +971 4 207 1717
Dubai, Baniyas, Creek road

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