Italian tonight? Medzo at Wafi Restaurants
Dubai; We all have a favourite Italian, restaurant that is, and FooDiva’s in her Bur Dubai years was Medzo at Wafi. It’s since reinvented itself (well over a year ago am ashamed to admit) with not just a new interior, but a complete menu revamp thanks to Nonna Chef and restaurant manageress Livia. So lo and behold, two dinners in the last month. Oh well, better late than never FooDiva.
The purple theme has been discarded for fresh, all white, cream and camel tones with glittering chandeliers, and bizarrely a gazebo taking centre stage. FooDiva liked, but my dining companion was not that enamoured.
Nonna Chef Livia does not don [chef] whites, but rather glamorously (well she is Italian) glides across the restaurant chit chatting to diners and advising on dishes. And what a menu it is…rarely do I come across menus where I’d happily order practically every dish.
So here are FooDiva’s faves:
Burrata mozzarella with taggiasche olives, fresh tomatoes, rocket leaves and extra virgin olive oil – the outer shell of burrata (translates to butter by the way) is mozzarella, whilst the inside oozes both mozzarella and wait for this, fresh cream. Rich, milky and buttery. The tomatoes could have been riper and sweeter, but that’s the story of Dubai really. Otherwise this dish simply melts in your mouth and easily rivals La Petite Maison’s burrata.
Prosciutto and ricotta tortellinis with fresh pea and herb puree and parmesan – this pasta is made fresh on Medzo’s premises. Pork-lovers you’re in luck there’s an extensive selection of ‘protected denomination of origin’ hams.
Tuna ‘crudo’ with olive oil, poached cherry tomatoes and fresh crab – a simply dressed tuna tartare; reminded me of Chef [for Hire] Maurizio’s very own version.
Giuseppe Cocco spaghetti ‘Amatriciana’ – spaghetti doused in a traditional Italian sauce of dried pork cheek (guanciale), tomatoes, onions and chilli. A tad heavy but bursting with flavour.
La nostra tagliata di manzo al rosmarino – am always tempted to order this dish when I spot it on Italian menus. It’s also another Chef Maurizio specialty. Strips of USDA prime beef tenderloin cooked rare (or however you prefer) with sprigs of rosemary. Medzo adds roasted aubergine, almost pureed. Plus roasted herb baby potatoes, but there’s really no need for carbs. Best dished up with a side order of rocket and gem lettuce with parmesan and balsamic dressing.
If you’re after fish, then opt for the pan roasted cod fillet with vongole clams, tomatoes, pea puree and herb braised potatoes.
The menu’s dessert choices disappoint with not one single dish appealing; mind you often the case with Italian menus I find…unless you’re a tiramisu fan. My guest’s vanilla pannacotta with rhubarb jelly and crushed amoretti did nothing to change my perception.
Service was excellent on both occasions thanks to knowledgeable waiters and of course Nonna. However Medzo seriously lacked punters and resulting ambience, not just on a weekday but a weekend. A real shame as the overall quality of the food is not only authentic, but surpasses many of Dubai’s Italian restaurants for a very affordable price (on average AED 450 for two people not including booze). If you wish to indulge, the Valdivieso Rose Prosecco is a remarkably good sparkling wine.
Atmosphere is a vital component of any dining out experience. Location may be an issue, but a strong marketing drive should help. For now a three out of five FooDiva knife rating. Go on Medzo, I’d really relish another serving of burrata.
FooDiva Friends tell me, have you dined at Medzo recently? What’s your favourite Italian in town?