Dinner under the sea at the iconic Burj Al Arab.
The allure of the sail-shaped Burj Al Arab seemingly knows no bounds. So when we got wind of a new restaurant opening at the self-proclaimed seven-star hotel, team FACT were first in line for a reservation at Ristorante L’ Olivo at Al Mahara.
For those well versed in Italy’s fine dining scene, L’Olivo is a popular restaurant boasting two Michelin stars on the picturesque island of Capri. Yet thanks to a summer pop-up, guests no longer need to travel over 4,000km to dine on the exquisite seafood from acclaimed Chef Andrea Migliaccio.
Taking over the underwater dining room previously occupied by British Chef Nathan Outlaw is no easy task. Still, Chef Andrea Migliaccio and the adept L’Olivo team have done so with enthusiasm and plenty of charm. Ristorante L’ Olivo at Al Mahara boasts an atmospheric dining room where chairs shaped like shells complement the central aquarium teeming with sharks and rays. We’re delighted to see that a roaming champagne trolly is a firm fixture on the restaurant floor.
Ristorante L’ Olivo is undoubtedly a worthy choice if it’s special occasion dining you’re after. Offering a memorable dining experience that brings together a combination of Italian culinary craftsmanship and divine Mediterranean flavours under the alluring glow of the coral reef aquarium that stands at the heart of the restaurant.
Famed for reinterpreting the region’s gastronomic traditions, chef Migliaccio’s recipes are a personal expression of his culinary intrigue and dishes such as the Merluzzo Nero Black Cod finished with coffee and liquorice and the Tagliolini paired with tuna tartare and bottarga come highly recommend.
We, however, opt for the five-course tasting menu (AED 1,200) that is whimsically described as a “discovery of Andrea’s Kitchen”. Featuring a selection of Ristorante L’ Olivo’s signature dishes, the menu begins with King Crab, a delicate take on the crustacean, served alongside carrot couscous, green apple and paprika scented mayonnaise to create a fine balance between sweet and savoury.
Impeccable plating is a common trend that runs throughout our meal. A beautifully twisted Lemon Tagliolini is served adorned with pieces of red prawns, burrata, oysters leaf and glassworth in a dish that is as decadent on the palate as it is to observe on the plate.
We’re enamoured with the beautifully al dente risotto swimming with sea urchins and saffron. Yet, the plump fillet of gilthead fish accompanied by prickly lettuce and potatoes truly captures our attention.
We finish the meal with hazelnuts and lemon, a decadent combination of Gianduja mousse, hazelnut crunch and lemon sorbet that offers playful textures to match the fish that dart within the coral of the restaurant’s vibrant marine-inspired setting.
Ristorante L’Olivo at Al Mahara offers diners the chance to sample the signature flavours of its counterpart at Capri Palace Jumeirah in what is easily one of Dubai’s most in-demand dining rooms. However, make sure you secure a table booking soon, as Ristorante L’Olivo at Al Mahara is a temporary fixture that won’t be around for long.