Chef Glady has a huge fan following, yet he is too humble to notice. His impeccable plating skills at Per Te saw his creations going viral across social media, and his artsy retakes on Italian classics have made native chefs go green with envy.
I featured Chef Glady in my food blogger column in Ahlan Masala! magazine, and was eagerly awaiting a chance to visit him at his newest venture; 24 Karat at the Marriot (Al Jaddaf, Dubai).
The brand new restaurant opened its gilded doors to the public only a few weeks ago, and looks every bit the fine-dining Italian restaurant that befits the works of this genius chef.I loved the deep brown wooden finishing, the plush seating and the very European-style chandeliers that lined the counters, exuding a magical hue of gold across.
24 Karat promises a gastronomic Italian affair using the most premium of ingredients, the most valuable being gold itself. You find glints of gold in everything here, from the haloed lighting to the cutlery, a few sprinkles in the food, and even in the drinks themselves.
We started off our epic meal with a Bread Platter consisting of freshly baked Focaccia Pugliese, generously sprinkled with shavings of fresh black winter truffle. The decadent scent of truffle hit my nostrils as soon at this platter was set before us, and we absolutely loved the toasted, yet sponge-like texture of the bread that was served with 20 year-old vintage Italian balsamic, a vibrantly fresh pesto and a sun-dried tomatoes dip.
In tune with serving the finest of ingredients the world can offer, we were served Japanese Wagyu with grade 9+ marbling. The wagyu sat on a bed of mashed potatoes, infused with the aromatic scent of truffle.
What is an Italian meal without a serving of Burrata? At 24 Karat, we had ours served with sweet cherry tomatoes, done 3 ways. This beautifully presented platter also included generous shavings of black truffle, drizzles of a fresh basil dressing, creamy balsamic and truffle gold flakes.
We also had a beautifully done Beef Carpaccio. At 24 Karat, they use beef from a special breed of cattle originating from the Piedmont region of Italy. The Beef Piedmont Fassona Carpaccio is yet another work of art, and is served garnished with taleggio, poached pears, pistachio, black Hawaiian salt, Parmesan cheese and truffle.
Just when I thought I’ve spotted the prettiest dish for the night, Chef Glady walks in with platters even prettier than the last… The man needs to add ‘Food Artist’ to his portfolio! This platter is called The Mastro; an beautifully presented dish of freshly baked Ciabatta topped with creamy stracciatella cheese, anchovy, pink prawns, bottarga and ricotta pistachio. Each bite is moreishly divine. I love the contrast of the cold, fresh creaminess of the cheese with the mild hit of seafood, and that pistachio paste is a very refined version of our daily peanut butter. This dish tastes even better than it looks!
And the above, my friends, was only the appetizers round! Here’s a look at our main-course…
We started off with succulently juicy, well marinated servings of Lamb Chops. The meat was cooked a perfect medium-rare, and was served with rosemary laratte potatoes, balsamic-infused shallots, and a handmade tagliolini pasta infused with truffle butter. I found myself reaching out for extra servings of the tagliolini; absolutely loved how beautifully soft the pasta was, and that truffle infusion is to die for! I hope they serve this pasta as a separate dish in itself.
Wrapped in a baking bag is a steaming hot serving of freshly baked seabass. This is 24 Karat’s Pesce al Cartoccio. Chef Glady manages to make steamed fish look beautiful too! This dish is garnished with cherry tomatoes, capers, drizzles of lemon juice, Italian olives, baby calamari, and extra virgin olive oil. Black spaghetti is served on the side. This spaghetti gets its near-black coloring thanks to squid ink, a culinary technique you would be familiar with if you watch as much Master Chef as I do!
The fish was deliciously moist and flavorful, and the garnishes seemed to work perfectly well in harmony without overshadowing the natural taste of the fish.
And here is a look at my favorite main-course from the night; 24 Karat’s Risotto Marine Plankton. This has to be the prettiest risotto I’ve ever been served! Keeping to the promise of 24 Karat, this is no ordinary risotto. First off, it is made of Acquerello rice, claimed to be the “best rice in the world” by masterchef Heston Blumenthal. It takes on a magically pale green coloring thanks to the addition of marine plankton (Chef Glady is staunchly against the use of artificial coloring and flavors in his dishes), and is served with fresh clams, red prawns carabineros, baby calamari, crunchy capers and red mullet bottarga. The edges of this masterful creation is laced with roasted garlic and almonds to give the dish an added texture and flavor dimension. From the plating to the exploration of flavors that magically come together so beautifully, this is a risotto I have been raving about for days, and will surely be back for more.
What is a meal without a sweet ending? I have had the pleasure of eating Chef Glady’s creations before, and was eagerly awaiting to see what he had in store for us for dessert. Once again, Chef Glady managed to surpass my expectations. This is the absolutely magnificent Golden Bomb, a dark chocolate orb coated with gold leaf, and stuffed with stracciatella cheese, roasted nuts, pistachio cream and wild berries. A pour-down of warm custard melts the orb to reveal the interiors, and we got busy digging our spoons into this extravagant treat.
I know dark chocolate and pistachio go well together, but who would have thought that creamy Italian cheese tasted even better with the two combined? Chef Glady is absolute genius! This dessert was an absolute treat, and we managed to clean up this plate in record time.
The second dessert on our table was the Lieto 24k, a very pretty serving of Pistachio Cheesecake made from fresh ricotta and pistachio cream, served with mixed berry coulis, and garnished with gold flakes. If you are a pistachio fan, you will love this one.
My little one was treated to a generously large serving of Mistika Gelato with Saffron Semifreddo, a posh upgrade from her usual chocolate sundae that she seemed to devour regardless.
Overall, 24 Karat proved to be absolutely magical. From the ambiance to the immaculately presented food, this restaurant provides a gastronomic Italian experience with the finest ingredients the world has on offer. True connoisseurs of Italian fine dining will surely be raving about this new gem on Dubai’s foodie map. Kudos Chef Glady! I am looking forward to seeing (and tasting!) more of his artful creations.
24 Karat is located in Marriot (Al Jaddaf, Dubai) on the 1st Floor. The restaurant provides a valet service of its own, or you can also use the valet at the hotel’s man entrance. For bookings & more information, give them a call on 04 3577733.