Monday, 28 November 2011
La Mia Favola, Garhoud, Dubai
Nespresso and arrabiata- the perfect combination!
Sometimes, I just need a break from the rich curries and exotic meze snacks that make up my diet and need to go back to basics. I see it as cleansing my palate, giving myself a clean slate for my next curry night so I can enjoy it at its fullest. Food I consider 'basics' include anything involving plain unsullied veg, British staples like chips, beans and toasties, and Italian food. Why Italian food, I hear you ask. Well, look how it is made. Mainly plain carbs, be it pizza, pasta or a bread based dish like Bruschetta, Italian food bridges the gap of Mediterranean spice and Western European plain food. Minestrone soup, insalata caprese, antipasti are all tasty dishes but aren't too taxing on the digestive system. It does annoy me sometimes that quite a few restauranteurs hike the prices right up for Italian cuisine and season it with an air of pretentiousness. The Italian kitchen is all about being homely and rustic, not nouvelle cuisine with a whopping price tag. I've spotted a few in Dubai who are of this school; in my mind, the ideal Italian restaurant is from the school of Buca di Bacco, my much missed Italian bolt bolthole in Liverpool which went bust, or Edinburgh's Salvo Caffe; both of which I have previously blogged about with watering tastebuds. Both restaurants offered a great atmosphere at a bargain price but were bursting with Mediterranean flavour. But does such a place exist in Dubai?
As if by magic, I found La Mia Favola. Tucked away in the Garhoud district in the shadows of the Emirates training centre (yes ladies, there is pilot eye candy nearby!), this cafe/restaurant is actually Libyan owned but reeks of Italian authenticity. Garlic and oregano greet you on entering, but not in an intrusive way, interrupted by the smell of fresh Nespresso coffee. The decor is in typical Italian style of reds and greens (or is it a nod to the UAE?) with the obligatory checked table cloths that no Italian restaurant is complete without.
To start, I stuffed my face with a massive plate of garlic bread, one portion being enough to fill 2 or perhaps 3. This was baguette style as opposed to pizza style and was delicious, the right amount of butter which didn't leave my hands greasy. Staying true to my Vindaloo Queen method of eating spicy treats, I ordered Rigatoni Arrabiata, the vindaloo of the pasta world. Fiery chillies and rich tomatoes oozed their way into delightfully fat tubes of rigatoni, the sauce being just right and not swamping the pasta like some eateries I've experienced. I mopped up the rest with my garlic bread which I knowingly saved, and rounded the meal off with a potent Nespresso. At 9 dirham, this must be one of the cheapest restaurant coffees in Dubai. Couple this with their free wi-fi and have a relaxed afternoon curled up on one of their comfy sofas.
For all you bargain hunters, LMF has now introduced a bargainous meal deal- any pizza or pasta plus garlic bread (4 slices), either a Greek or chicken salad and a coke, only 35AED! Who could resist such a deal in this economic climate?
Edited Feb 2012