Tucked away on Umm Al Sheif Street, off Jumeirah Beach Road is a beautifully done up slice of Italy. With its vintage-style street lamps and very inviting checkered red and white tablecloths, Mozzo Centrale looks like it has been transported directly from Italy, furnishings and all.
The location is pretty residential, and I would have easily driven past it if I wasn’t actually looking it up on my trusty GPS. Given it is in a cosy neighbourhood nook, Mozzo Centrale truly is a well-kept neighbourhood secret.
The ambiance is warm, friendly and casual. We got there on a weekday evening, and their alfresco dining space was packed with regulars socializing with friends and family.
I have a special affiliation for red and white checkered tablecloths. They remind me of childhood picnics, freshly baked bread and my mother’s cooking. The red and white print is also very European, very cafe-style, and cheerfully casual. Funny how a tablecloth print can give me such a nostalgic gush and put my subconscious at ease right away!
The staff at Mozzo Centrale are very friendly and helpful. Our server for the night really knew the menu offerings well, and I was especially impressed that they have the listing available on a tablet.
The soft-copy menu comes with photos of each item. This reduces the chances of envying the neighboring table’s order! Happens to me all the time!
We were given a complimentary serving of bread sticks with a delectable pesto sauce. I had just come in from work, and was pretty ravenous. I took to the bread with great gusto, and really enjoyed that pesto dip.
Mozzo Centrale is a family-friendly eatery. I was thankful for the colouring sheets they offered my little tot. It kept her preoccupied while we delved into a heated debate on what to order.
Our host for the night recommended Mozzo Centrale’s Spicy Chicken Strips. These mildly spiced, deep-fried boneless chicken strips have a deliciously crunchy coating, but the real flavour lies in the Jalapeno sauce that is served on the side. It is essentially a ketchup base that has been spiked up with finely diced jalapeno and hot sauce, and a dip into this wee pot really brings the crmbed chicken to life.
We were also recommended Mozzo Centrale’s Super Salad. Any guesses on what the base of this ‘super’ salad is? Quinoa ofcourse! Gluten-free and loaded with iron, B-vitamins, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, calcium, vitamin E and fiber, quinoa continues to be a buzzword in the world of super-foods. Say ‘healthy’, an my carnivorous husband will run a mile but this salad seems to have made a convert out of him. Apart from the lettuce, parsley and shredded carrot, I really loved the mashed up avocado and bits of roasted sweet potato. The salad was laced with the tangy-sweet aftertaste of a vinaigrette dressing, and I would gladly eat this dish as a main course.
For my mains, I tried Mozzo Centrale’s Tagliatelle Alfredo. The creamy white sauce and mushrooms makes this dish the perfect comfort food. I can have this sans chicken, but used up all the shredded Parmesan that came on the side! The portion size at Mozzo Centrale is generously large. Make sure you’re really hungry, or opt to share. This plate was sufficient between me and my 5 year-old.
Hubby had Mozzo Centrale’s Spicy Beef, a serving of Angus beef tenderloin that has been marinated in sweet soya sauce, chili and sesame seeds. The marination was delicious, and tasted more Far Eastern than Italian. The downside was Hubby didn’t get asked how he would like his meat, and it was a little overdone for his liking.
The beef comes with a side serving of creamy Asparagus Risotto. I wish they had this as a main dish, it really is good enough to have on its own!
Pity we didn’t have room for Mozzo Centrale pizza! I’ve been told they make really authentic Italian pizzas, and their wood-fired oven is out on display.
The drinks at Mozzo Centrale are absolutely divine! I had an icy slush of mixed berries, and Hubby had a very tropical mango-pomegranate drink spiked with chili.
How can we not have dessert at an Italian place? We shared Mozzo Centrale’s specialty, the Decadent Angel Berry Trifle. This is a mason jar layeeed with whipped cream, assorted berries, and melt-in-the-mouth fluffy, cloud-like Angel cake. It is as delicious as it is pretty 🙂
We had to drown all this decadence with hot, frothy cups of cappuccino.
Next time you happen to be in the Umm Suqueim neighbourhood, do look up Mozzo Centrale. Their tablecloths will fool you into believing you are in Europe 😉 Take your friends with you, the casual vibes will make Mozzo Centrale your newest hangout joint. And I highly recommend their Super Salad!