Yet another restaurant from London has opened a branch in Dubai, this time Scalini at the Four Seasons Resort Jumeirah. Scalini, however, is something of an institution.
It opened in London in 1988, but significantly played an influential role in the rise of Italian trattorias throughout the UK. It’s not exaggerating to say it was one of the most influential restaurants in London.
Having opened in the upscale Brompton area, not far from Harrods, it’s been touted as a celebrity favorite, with members of the Rolling Stone and The Beatles all regulars, although that’s not really the point of why you would go to the branch in Dubai. After all The Ivy was – and still is – a huge celebrity hangout in London and it failed to take hold here in this city. Rightly, Scalini will stand or fall on the quality of its food and setting.
Inspired by a love for Italy’s coastal cuisine Chef Monserrato Marini’s menu honors the traditions of classic Italian cooking. It is a menu that could have been served to The Rolling Stone and The Beatles in the Sixties such as the traditional nature of the menu with signature dishes include spaghetti lobster, grilled langoustines, veal Milanese, risotto di mare and tiramisu.
In an age when restaurants are modernizing and taking food in new directions it could leave Scalini as being very old fashioned – which is either a good or bad thing depending on what you’re looking for. But traditional Italian food nearly always holds up.
And it’s one of those places that puts on a bit of a show with the food. Pasta prepared in the Parmigiana cheese wheel, banana flambés, homemade desserts and sorbets are made in front of diners, and so on. It’s also a big place with enough room to seat 130 – which feels like a bit of a gamble as there’s nothing less inviting that a restaurant that’s 90% empty – but it does include an outdoor garden setting and pergola, so if you’re looking for al fresco dining you’ve still got a few months here.
General Manager, Roberto Roberti, describes Scalini as “more than a restaurant, it’s a showcase of the very best that Italy has to offer – the cuisine, the character, fused together with an authentic charm. The service we provide has been passed on from generation to generation to ensure that the essence of the Scalini brand remains as strong today in Dubai, as it was when it first opened in London thirty years ago.”
This is going to be an interesting year for restaurants in Dubai and we know of at least one other achingly-trendy big name from London that is going to be opening here soon – although we’re sworn to secrecy right now. The dining scene here is going to have more high-end restaurants than it probably needs, but that’s not such a bad thing – the good will out and the best will survive, just as they do in London, Paris or New York.