Sunday brunch, the Italian way…

If you’ve got great, authentic Italian food, prepared by an experienced, passionate and talented chef… You really don’t need much razzle-dazzle as garnish. Basil-pizzaz is more than enough.

Which is what makes the Pierchic case interesting. It’s the sheer peak of Dubai venues with a view, a fine dining pearl spun out on a 100-metre-or-so long wooden pier attached to the eternally stately, Jumeirah Al Qasr. And it stands there, out on stilts in the wild blue hues of the Arabian Gulf, with wrap-around 360º vistas of the Burj Al Arab, Jumeirah coastline and rhythmic waves vanishing over the horizon. That’s a lot of collateral eye candy, for a restaurant that already boasts Michelin Guide dining.

There’s also an expectation-confounding aspect to their Sunday, La Domenica Italiana, brunch too. It’s Dhs270 for three courses (that’s food only, but there’s a house beverage bolt-on for an additional Dhs200). Which seems like an almost impossibly fair price for the whole experiential package. A curiosity worth exploring. And one that forms the genesis for why I’m currently vice-gripped to the back handrail of a chauffeur-driven resort buggy, as it wiggles through the tendrilled greens of the Al Qasr gardens.

Pierchic may no longer be in adolescence, but it’s a 10 and it knows it. Beyond the surface glow of its surroundings, it’s full of old-world charm, a nouvelle vague live band, service is formal but warm, and the starched white tablecloths are a rallying standard. It’s not a modern fit-out, but the veins of wood and glass that run through it are the sort of timeless motifs that transcend the fads of fashion.

There’s a remarkably short passage of time between the dining party’s chairs squeaking into their respective sub-tabular snugs, before the Antipasto plates arrive as an entourage. There are slight variations to their make-up throughout the seasons (the Italians are strict observers of the ‘using what’s blooming’ rule), but our fall collection includes some elegant surf ‘n’ turf – vitello tonnato, thin slices of veal doused in a creamy, tuna and caper-enhanced sauce; a rich aubergine parmigiana, made with the sort of tomatoes that make you doubt you’ve ever tasted actual tomatoes before. The bruschetta follows in kind. Both score 11/10 on their Italian oral test; there’s burrata, because this is Dubai; and fritto misto, with crisply battered calamari, white fish and courgette served alongside an audaciously tangy ginger mayonnaise.

The main course is pasta della nonna, ostensibly a rotation of chef Beatrice Segoni’s greatest carb-based hits. This week’s dish is a cream and meat-stuffed cannelloni creation. After a few laboured laps of me coyly pushing morsels around my plate, the waiter shoots me a clairvoyant look that seems to say “Is everything ok? You’ve barely touched your mulchy tubules”, it is in truth, a touch too sweet for my uncultured palate, and so it was a challenge to mask my delight when the vegetarian option, a gnocchi pomodoro of obnoxiously fine Italian pedigree, arrives in front of me. This particular sharing portion, and the primal rural joy it painted on my innards, is worth the brunch asking price alone.

Our lunch date ends with nonna’s tiramisu. I am fully convinced, I just know without any need of prior research, that this is tiramisu recipe that has seen things. It’s from a beautiful bygone dolce era, marginally evolved – of that I’m also sure, but it has molten heritage within its creamy folds.

Verdict: 🤌

Pierchic, Jumeirah Al Qasr, Sun, 1pm to 2.45pm, Dhs270. Tel: (800) 323232. @pierchicdubai

Images: Provided