Tucked away in a quiet corner of DIFC is one of Dubai’s latest Italian imports, one with the much coveted Michelin Star association. The Artisan by Enoteca Pinchiorri already has a huge fan following in Florence, and the dishes this restaurant churns out under the guidance of 3 Michelin Star Chef Annie Féolde are fabled to be absolute works of art.
The original branch in Florence has been around since the early 1970’s, and was established by Chef Annie and Giorgio Pinchiorri. Today, the restaurant has earned a reputation as an institution for gourmet excellence, and I was therefore super excited about the prospect of trying out their highly coveted Italian spread, right here in Dubai.
The interiors of The Artisan by Enoteca Pinchiorri are very tastefully decorated with molded powder-blue walls, a cascading crystal chandelier and floor to ceiling mirrors. With a fine-dining ambiance like this, you’d expect the service to be rather snooty, but we found it to be quite the contrary. We were hosted by a lovely young Italian girl who’s name escapes me, and her endearing accent made the contents of the menu sound all the more appealing.
To start off our meal at The Artisan, we ordered their Fiori di Zucchina Fritti, Farcito di Mozzarella di Buffala e Pesto Toscano, a srving of deep-fried battered zucchini flowers that have been stuffed with a soft, creamy filling of buffalo mozzarella and Tuscan pesto. It is a fairly long name for a beautifully dainty little dish. I loved the contrast of the crisp, salty exterior against the smooth, pesto-enhanced cheese filling.
The other starter on our table was The Artisan’s Polipo Cotto in Olio di Oliva, Fagiolini, Patate e Olive Taggiasche. I loved the stuffed zucchini flower, but if I were to choose between the two starters, this octopus dish was my surefire favorite. The octopus has been slow-cooked in homemade olive oil, and is garnished with a serving of fresh beans, boiled potato cubes and black olives. The octopus was soft, succulent and brimming with the characteristic flavors of olive oil. I only wish I could have had all eight legs!
The Artisan specializes in wines and cocktails, and I absolutely loved the beautiful graphics in the cocktail menu. Apparently these are based on the actual sketches that were done when conceptualizing each drink.
It is rather magical seeing the sketches come to life on the table:
Wondering what that shell is? It’s my Polynesian cocktail! Not surprisingly, this drink happens to be the most Instagrammed cocktail from The Artisan’s menu. The drink has a fresh, fruity, almost tropical flavor and is a muddle of Matusalem Classico, Ypioca Cachaca, Passion Fruit puree, Nettle Cordial, Bitters and Lime juice.
Hubby went for The Mismatch. This is a heady mix of Green Apple juice, with Jameson Whiskey, Jose Cuereco, Tequila, Ginger, Lime and Mint. I think my drink was way prettier, but he seemed to get more sips out of his serving!
For our mains, I asked our hostess to pick out The Artisan’s most popular pasta dish for me, and she promptly suggested the Agnolotti del Plin Farciti di Zucca Mantovana, Salvia, Burro, Mandorle Tostate con Fondula di Parmigiano. Yes, The Artisan dishes sure have very long, descriptive titles! To translate, this is a serving of homemade Agnolotti stuffed with Mantova pumpkin and sage, and topped with melted butter, roasted almonds and a delectable Parmesan Fondue.
My main-course might look rather simple, but each forkful proved to be just as rich, Italian and complex as the dish’s name. I love the marriage of pumpkin, sage and butter. This is what comfort food is all about! The characteristic boldness of Parmesan also manages to shine through, and the dish is lent a hint of texture with the addition of roasted almond slivers.
Hubby, being the carnivore that he is, was not settling for a vegetarian dish. Instead, he ordered for the Bistecca alla Fiorentina con i suoi Fagioli. This is The Artisan’s Florentine-style T-bone steak served with fluffy Cannelloni beans.
I love how the steak has been conveniently sliced, making it easy for me to sneak in my fork for a quick tasting! Hubby likes his steaks done ‘medium’, and as you can see in the click below, this steak was cooked to perfection:
Each bite was beautifully seasoned, moist and delicious. We had the steak with spoonfuls of the Cannelloni beans, a combination I’ve never tried before. Our Italian hostess tells us eating these beans with meat is very common in the Provencal areas of Italy.
Ending on a sweet note, we chose two of Italy’s most loved desserts. The Artisan’s Tiramisu was divinely fluffy, light and creamy, and had a decadently good balance of moccha flavors.
And here is a click of The Artisan’s sinfully delicious Profiteroles. The deep, dark chocolate coating adds the perfect contrast of slight bitterness to the light, fluffy-sweet cream filling.
I love the dainty turquoise-gold cutlery featuring the Italian Fleur De Lis, absolutely perfect for presenting these gorgeous desserts.
Halfway through our desserts round, we had the pleasure of having a long and and interesting chat with Costanzo Scala, The Artisan’s General Manager & Wine Director. Mr. Costanzo is an Italian national with a real passion for good food, but has a special knack for wines. He is a walking-talking encyclopedia on global wines, and was kind enough to let us try his favorite Italian dessert wine; the Planeta Passito Di Noto.
This rather sweet white wine has a refreshingly fruity, citric aftertaste and proved to be an absolutely pleasurable sip with the desserts. At The Artisan by Enoteca Pinchiorri, they take wines very seriously, and the staff are more than happy to advise on the perfect pairings with your meals.
Overall, I found every single dish we had the pleasure of trying at The Artisan by Enoteca Pinchiorri to be absolutely delightful. Everything is made with great patience and care, and the proof lies in the explosion of complex flavors and textures. If you are a fan of Italian cuisine, you really have to try them out. Despite having a 3 Michelin Star acquaintance, the restaurant manages to be warm, cordial and welcoming, and would make for the perfect setting for a romantic dinner out.
The Artisan by Enoteca Pinchiorri is located in Level P5 of Burj Daman at DIFC, Dubai. or more information on the restaurant, visit their website and give them a call on 04 3388133 for table reservations.