This is where Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid lunches

Cipriani Dubai has nailed its relaxed setting with fine food at this Art Deco liner-inspired restaurant.

Robert Chilton June 4, 2016

You can have your very own Leonardo DiCaprio movie moment as you walk into Cipriani. That’s because the glamorous restaurant in DIFC has been decked out like the dining room of the Titanic.

Beautiful maple wood lines the walls, waiters (all Italian) wear white double-breasted jackets and black bow ties, and Art Deco lines guide your eye around the room. But, best of all, on the wall behind the bar are portholes that frame TV screens playing scenes of the sea. Don’t worry though, we didn’t see any approaching icebergs during our visit. 

There aren’t any disasters on the menu either. To start, an essential dish is the famous beef carpaccio (AED 95) which was invented by Giuseppe Cipriani in 1950 in his original Venice restaurant. 

Thin slices of eye-popping pink beef were topped with a lattice of mayonnaise that had been blended with Worcestershire sauce and anchovies – a classic. A simple salad of asparagus, beetroot (orange and purple), strands of basil and goat’s cheese (AED 74) was a riot of colour and crunch that relied on impressively fresh ingredients.

Pasta came next in the form of bucatini cacio e pepe (AED 85) – a brilliantly simple dish. Bucatini is slightly thicker than spaghetti with a hole running through the centre. It was laced with a generous sprinkle of black pepper and a cream of pecorino romano cheese, the sharpness of which made the tongue tingle.

The pan seared monkfish with tomatoes and a nicely salted rice pilaf (AED 270) was a huge portion. The tomatoes had been cooked into a mushy state but retained their flavour to add a Mediterranean feel to the dish.

To finish, the tiramisu (AED 60) is a must. A small serving, but satisfying with a layer of thick cream sitting on a dense bed of sponge.

EDGAR visited for lunch on a Tuesday and the place was jammed with a laidback European crowd in expensive but casual clothing. Having lunch just a few tables along from us was HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai.

Looming over our table were three giant portraits of Cindy Crawford, Naomi Campbell and Eva Herzigova – excellent conversation starters. Look out too for the lift that takes you downstairs to the bathrooms; it’s lined with couches and cushions.

It’s not a stiff place. The waiters chatted to us about football, London and food. And the note in the back of the menu – ‘The excessive use of mobile phones might jeopardise the making of the risotto’ – made us smile. With its Titanic-esque décor, this is one luxury liner that shows no signs of sinking.

Rating: 8.9 out of 10