Fresh and soulful
There are some days when one craves comfort food. On one such day, my colleague and I went to Marea, an Italian restaurant tucked away in the Gate Village at the DIFC. The restaurant is the Dubai counterpart to its Michelin-starred New York original. At the helm is Chef Michael White who lends his interpretations of Italian cuisine to the menu.
To begin with, we chose Lobster and Burrata, a soulful dish of fresh, decadent lobster with creamy burrata, a hint of basil, fresh tomato and pickled eggplant. A variety of textures in this dish, from the buratta that is pure indulgence, the fresh, rich lobster commands the palette to focus and the salty flavors complete the dish. Next we had the Beef Carpaccio, featuring thin, lavish slices of beef that were given definition by a mixture of pickled endive and mushroom and the slight accent of capers. This is such a colourful dish and a nice package of flavors in one go.
For mains we were recommended to try the Rigatoni with Bolognese ragu and shavings of parmigiano reggiano. This dish was simple yet quite comforting and while it may seem like a no-brainer, it is an achievement to get the flavors balanced. We also had a dish of Scallops enveloped in asparagus and peas in brown butter, a dash of pea puree and drops of Balsamic for some acidity and some creaminess from parmigiano reggiano. The scallops were very fresh and that hint of balsamic hit the right spot amidst the texture of peas and asparagus.
What’s Italian cuisine without its quintessential Tiramisu? It simply must be had. For dessert we had Tiramisu, which was another representation of a simple, soulful dish, with its coffee soil, decorations of mascarpone cream and dollops of coffee asserting itself in the mix. We also tried the Bomboloni, donuts made of ricotta dusted with sugar, accompanied by sauces of chocolate cardamom and lemon ricotta. While the donuts are perfectly capable by itself, the chocolate cardamom was a pleasant surprise that we were unsure of while placing the order. And the donut seemed to gel better with this sauce. But each to his own, I suppose.
Marea is well placed, secluded in a throng of activity. If you are going for a meeting or for a meal, rest assured you will not have to think twice about the food, for you are in good hands.