When a restaurant’s name means ‘crazy’ in Italian, it’s a pretty evident disclaimer forewarning you about what to expect. Located at The Oberoi Dubai at Business Bay, Matto is a casual yet mischievous place. You may think its just another regular run-of-the-mill restaurant serving a cuisine that is so saturated in Dubai – but it’s not. It’s nothing like your regular Italian restaurants with chequered tablecloths, Italian paintings et all. The atmosphere is just as good as the food…Think light bulbs, unfinished tiles, a mural painting of a man kissing a fish, a message board with postcards from guests, quirky quotes, wooden tables and a host of other things that are not your cliché Italian restaurant things. While the chefs seem to have taken ownership of their age-old traditional recipes, the servers are well-informed, extremely friendly and warm. With perfect pronunciations of dishes and other Italian words, they almost make you feel like you’re in Italy.
While their food has been praised and talked about ever since its inception, their recently launched Friday brunch – Via Del Matto is not so far behind. I’m sure you can tell by now that we thoroughly enjoyed every bit of our experience. And how would we not? So many carbohydrates in one room making their way in to our bellies without making us feel guilty. Well, that’s gotta be something! Parmesan risotto wheels, wood-fired pizzas, fresh fruits, home-made breads, hearty salads, fragrant dips, exotic cheeses, delectable desserts and so much more was part of their lavish Italian brunch spread. It felt like we had reached a buzzing Italian street. There was so much happening around. It’s like we knew everyone and everyone knew us.
Coming to the food, the menu looked traditional but was served in a modern way. We started off with their selection of well-presented antipasti which included Italian favorites like parmigiana, lasagna bolognese, gateaux di patate and cod fish in the hot section and a variety of breads, cheeses, dips, olives and carpaccios in the cold section. Parmigiana (sliced eggplant with mozzarella, basil, tomato sauce and parmesan cheese) was packed with flavors – surely worth trying, gateux di patate was simple, comforting yet satisfying. The whiff of freshly baked breads was unmissable and the variety of cheese and dips were too tempting to resist. They had a DIY salad section with freshest ingredients and sauces available for weight watchers. And for the rest, there were live pizza, pasta and risotto counters. A blackboard was placed outside listing down pizzas and pastas available at the brunch. Their pizzas were traditional and a real treat – our favorites being Tartufo and Diavola. We decided to skip the pastas and risottos as we wanted to leave some space for dessert.
Since we went during Women’s Day week, they had Italy’s famous, rich and classy Mimosa sponge cake at the brunch that day. History has it that the Mimosa cake is a traditional Italian cake made every year to celebrate International Women’s Day on 8th March. Its yellow color acts as a close reminder to the yellow flowers that bloom in Italy in March. I lost my heart to the floral flavor and fragrance of this light spongy cake. Other desserts available were gelato, tiramisu and cannoli. While I didn’t particularly love the tiramisu, the Sicilian cannoli stuffed with ricotta cheese and a scoop of pistachio ice cream was a perfectly sweet end to my scrumptious, indulgent meal.
The most impressing thing about Matto is that it promises to offer an unconventional Italian dining experience with a trendy twist. Call it your favorite neighborhood restaurant or a romantic date-night spot, walk in with your pointiest heels or everyday flats – this charming, hip and highly instagrammable restaurant fits the dress for every occasion.