We thought the name Ferragamo was synonymous with beautiful shoes and fashion we can’t afford – but apparently they’re also at the helm of an incredible brand of Italian restaurant too.
Can a famous brand recreate its celebrated Tuscan fare outside Italy?
Il Borro’s famous Tuscan estate has more than 1,000 years of rich history, and is set amongst a sprawling 700-hectare estate. Il Borro Tuscan Bistro Dubai has opened in a one-month-old hotel sitting behind a turtle rehabilitation lagoon. While their locations may be worlds apart, there’s one element that remains constant: the use of authentic Tuscan cooking methods to create fine Italian fare.
Everything is homemade. We’re told that not a single canned item is used in cooking, and everything from the olive oil to the grape is made organically on the Il Borro estate. Even the vegetables come from the farm, and arrive in shipments to Dubai every three days.
Antipasti highlights include the pappa al pomodoro (Dhs50), a tart, ripe, cherry tomato delight, with all the perfect hints of garlic and basil that can only be created when made from scratch.
The bresaola di chianina (Dhs75) is equally as pleasing, but what caught us most off guard is crowning the insalata di carciofi, pecorino di pienza (Dhs70) – a.k.a the artichoke salad – as our favourite. Tossed with lemon oil, roasted walnuts and young pecorino cheese, the dish is for anyone who would ordinarily write off anything with ‘artichoke’ and ‘salad’ in the same sentence.
The rest of the menu features a clear black winter truffle theme. And suckers for anything stuffed within the confines of a complex carbohydrate, we were drawn to the tortelli con zucca tartufo (Dhs115) – a beautifully cooked and crafted pasta shell with creamy pumpkin oozing from all sides at the slightest touch. A main course of grilled sliced beef fillet (Dhs195) was cooked to perfection and slid down the throat with barely a chew.
We’re not usually ones to wax lyrical about dessert. Here we’ll make an exception. The biscotto gelato croccante (Dhs45) was a glorified ice-cream sandwich full to bursting with creamy gelato and surrounded with crisp biscuit and chocolate.
Here’s to the Ferragamo family – yes, of fashion empire Salvatore Ferragamo fame, and who can obviously lend their fashionable hands to some really good Italian cooking too – because this is as close as we’re going to get to Florence, without jumping on a plane.
Grazie, Il Borro, grazie.
Jumeirah Al Naseem, Jumeirah St, Dubai, daily noon to 3.30pm and 7pm to 1am. Tel: (04) 2752555. Taxi: Jumeirah Al Naseem. ilborrotuscanbistro.ae