Giannino at Meydan Beach Club – a new Italian stallion?

Meydan Beach Club - DubaiFooDiva should have heard of Giannino, the Michelin and celebrity star-studded Italian restaurant in Milan – but the fact is I hadn’t and the concept has now descended on Dubai at the spankingly all-white, all-new Meydan Beach Club. Where’s that you may ask as I did? Exactly where the derelict sales centre stood on JBR Walk, opposite the Movenpick.

We walked in on a Friday evening the weekend before last to find a brightly lit restaurant and lounge bar with only a handful of tables occupied. Plush lime green banquettes, plump purple cushions and crisp white tablecloths make for a rather regal feel. I hadn’t appreciated until we asked for the wine list that Giannino was still in soft opening, despite having opened over a month ago. Only a couple of wines were available as their Italian wine list was still on order – rather odd don’t you think given this restaurant is operated by Meydan, i.e. the same outfit as Bab Al Shams and the racecourse? Ordering two glasses of prosecco, the waitress appeared confused as it wasn’t on the limited drinks list and wandered off, only for another waitress to return with a chilled bottle ready to pour into wine glasses. No thanks, we’d like champagne flutes please and off she scuttered to fetch some. If you’ve got them why not offer them? Apparently, tableware was also still on order [note, FooDiva was recognised hence the soft opening explanation.]

The menu is divided into antipasti, the pasta primi piatti, risotto, soups and onto fish, meat and classical Milanese specialities for mains. Given the prices…more on that later…FooDiva and Italian chef for hire and author Maurizio Pelli settled on a couple of pasta dishes for starters. My spaghetti arrived perfectly al dente and sprinkled with fresh pepperoncino – but rather than the listed red onion it was swimming in a little too much green spring onion making for a rather watery sauce whilst drowning out the piquant pepperoncino. Meanwhile, M’s fresh, plump tortelli was stuffed with potatoes and string beans, drizzled with Genoese curd, basil pesto sauce and a handful of pine nuts. Fussy M declared it an exceptionally executed dish, whilst FooDiva gobbled one and looked on with food envy.

Spaghetti with fresh pepperoncino and spring onionsGiannino - interiorRavioli stuffed with potatoes, string beans, Genoese curd and basil pesto sauceVeal escalope MilaneseOctopus grilled on coalsRhubarb jelly dessert

My main course of choice had to be the Milanese signature dish of pan fried and breaded veal cutlet – all 280 grams of thick, chunky Dutch veal – a dish the Viennese also stake claim to. With a dash of lemon making for a crunchy yet velvety breaded coat, the meat was so moist and cooked perfectly pink. M argued that a thin boneless veal escalope, a la Viennese-style is a better option for the Milanese, but oh no FooDiva was happily hanging onto this goodie. Crackling slithers of fresh purple potato crisps and juicy oven-baked cherry tomatoes on the vine made for a light and ideal accompaniment.  M’s Scottish octopus grilled on coals was as soft as butter – the most tender I have ever, ever tasted. Groan…more food envy. A mellow puree of squash and yellow bell pepper sauce with a tang of tart balsamic was all that was required to mop it up.

We shared a dessert of rhubarb jelly cubes, which once we’d succumbed to the gelatinous texture of the first bite, were tangy and moreish – dipped into a light yoghurt and sprinkled with a biscuit crumble and the odd blueberry. A modern day adaptation of rhubarb crumble, but hardly Italian. Like Roberto’s, perhaps avoid the fusion influence and stick to simple authentic Italian desserts such as the tiramisu, which in all fairness we didn’t try.

Now for the bad news, prices are extortionate with our primi piatti starters at AED 130 – 160 (antipasti is similarly priced), and mains AED 170 – 250 each! On a par with its Italian godfather we were told when I expressed my horror. A glass of prosecco AED 95. With booze as we know so much more expensive in Dubai, the dining out experience at Giannino here is at a much higher premium than Milan. The food may have impressed, but for a beach club location on a casual strip of Dubai where the service requires fine-tuning, Giannino is pricing itself out of this market and potentially out of diners. A real shame but for that reason, here’s to a three out of five FooDiva knife rating. Reduce your pricing and you may be up for a four, and perhaps even an Italian stallion accolade.

Giannino is located at Meydan Beach Club on JBR Walk (opposite Movenpick). T; +971 4 4333777. E; Open daily for lunch and dinner. Price per person including a couple of glasses of Prosecco each AED 600. Licensed. Daily beach club pass AED 495 including an AED 250 credit on F&B.

Would you pay that kind of price for a licensed Italian restaurant in this location? As always, love to hear your feedback.

A bientôt.

FooDiva. x

FooDiva Rating: Knife Rating: 3
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188 Responses to “Giannino at Meydan Beach Club – a new Italian stallion?”

  1. George W October 29, 2012 at 7:05 pm

    Andy Zyla,
    however hard anyone works this is not an excuse to be rude and of course any customer/blogger is entitled to an opinion as long as it is given in a tactful way, as Foodiva did.

    you are entitled to your opinion as long as this is given in a justified and polite manner and if you associate yourself with Brambilla’s way of behaving, then be it…My experience taught me that whoever cannot put up a good argument, then he/she takes the road of insulting/swearing…
    Regarding Trip Advisor, I agree this site is not the arbiter of quality but it gives an indication of the degree of satisfaction/ratings of clients of their dining experiences.

  2. Tony October 30, 2012 at 11:24 am

    I understand that some chefs have pride and they are really passionate about their products, but in the end of the day you guys are cooking because there are people on the other side who savor food and will pay in return for your product… Hence its our primitve right as consumers to give an opinion without being attacked just because we scratched someone ‘s ego…

  3. OB November 6, 2012 at 1:37 am

    This chef clearly has his head in the clouds. As much as I like Italian food, I have never walked out of an Italian eatery in Dubai (and I’ve dined at some of the high-end ones in the city) thinking WOW! Perhaps there is some great Italian food out there, but I have yet to come across it! As for this blog, I have been reading posts on this site for a year and a half and can say that the reviews are balanced, fair, and professional even if I might disagree with the author’s views / taste from time to time (only natural). I would go further and say that the reviews more often than not tend to “err” on the side of being overly courteous – and this is in no way a criticism, just my personal perspective. I had no intention of dining at Giannino, but I now find myself unable to resist the temptation if only so I can sink my teeth into it 😉

  4. Amy | Appetite for Discovery November 18, 2012 at 12:14 pm

    Just tuning in to this great debate and am not sure if I am more shocked by the arrogant and offensive response of Andrea Brambilla or the fact that so many people are not only standing by such behaviour but even applauding it! Probably the latter. Overall I am left wondering how he would handle a review that actually was scathing given that FooDiva’s review was fair and balanced and incredibly mild compared to others I have read – like this one written just last week, for example –

    Everyone is entitled to an opinion, when they express it in a respectable manner, that is.

    As a blogger myself I will be the first to admit that SOME bloggers may write about things they are not particularly knowledgeable about (although again, we are all entitled to an opinion). Those who have this view of ALL bloggers, however, are only showing their own ignorance of the reality that many have extensive experience and knowledge of the industries or topics on which they blog – hence why they blog in the first place and why they, like FooDiva, have thousands of followers who value and respect their opinions.

    It is sad to see more and more chefs losing sight of the fact that a restaurant with the best food is nothing without customers, and feeling that it is beyond them to address the concerns of their clientele, no less thinking it is acceptable to adopt such vulgar and conceited behaviour. I for one am more than willing to accept and enjoy a less than exceptional meal in a restaurant that knows what true hospitality is all about. An attitude like Andrea Brambilla’s, on the other hand, is a great way to ensure that I make it my mission to never, ever set foot in such an establishment.

    The shame for Giannino Dubai is that it’s not FooDiva’s review but, ironically, the reaction of Andrea Brambilla (who is supposedly on their side) that has perhaps doomed them for failure from the off. I saw the response from Meydan but has there been a response from Giannino Dubai themselves? I would be interested to hear their opinion on the damage caused by someone speaking on their behalf who doesn’t even work at their restaurant!

    Hats off to you FooDiva for handling yourself with such poise, dignity and professionalism – enjoy the increased traffic to your blog and whatever you do, don’t let this incident stop you from providing the fair and honest reviews for which you are known and appreciated.

  5. Iana Mizunschi November 24, 2012 at 10:25 pm

    Food diva lot’s of comment are missing. You have recommended some italian restaurant in Dubai. Which are they?

  6. Giannino Milano December 3, 2012 at 1:05 am

    Dear Samantha,
    You are ending your comment asking for our public apology; here we are!
    Excuse us if we hurt you.
    Italians, nations of saints, poets and explorers, we proudly add chefs too!.
    What Andrea wrote to you, more than a month ago is exactly the copy of what Arrigo Cipriani replied to the dreaded Gael Green , famous food critic of the New York Magazine, who savaged The New York Harry’s Bar at the end of the 80’s.
    We are talking about Arrigo Cipriani, hotelier, writer, son of Giuseppe, friend of Hemingway and father of Giuseppe today head of the family empire.
    The letter of the legendary Arrigo, was published in the front page of the New York Times, not to the Mickey mouse magazine.
    The incident did not have today echo, of the net and due to the communications media, the affair has been exiled to only local prestige, a folkloristic event for the memory of New Yorkers and their protagonists.
    We believed that the precedent was part of your records and we have been quite sure that you stood the gaff, unfortunately this was not the case.
    Thank you to the web, the today affaire and the Arrigo statement are now an international case, about how to handling the web and social network comments.
    We start from a table in Dubai and we are been already around the world!
    Sorry for that!
    You are a famed culinary expert, who confused, deceived by the , a bell pepper, anchovies and garlic sauce , with a squash sauce.
    You celebrated the tradition of the Tiramisu, that is dessert invented in the 60, and you forgot all others Italian dessert.
    We left Milano and we arrived in Dubai certain of our tradition.
    ?Way you don’t invert the route ? Come to Milano we will be please to apologize to you in person at Giannino Milano.
    A bientôt .
    Giannino Milano

    • manish March 10, 2013 at 2:56 pm

      OMG !! Love the response… well drafted ….SUPER LIKE

  7. FooDiva December 3, 2012 at 11:01 am

    Dear all,

    You may be interested in my post this morning on restaurant reviews and food blogging in light of the Giannino review going viral. I have addressed some of the constructive comments you made.

    Many thanks to everyone for commenting.

    FooDiva. x

  8. R January 23, 2013 at 8:50 am

    Hi Guys,

    i finally ventured out to Meydan Beach club yest and we ate at Gianino’s.

    Being a big big foody, and one who loves the ambiance, food , service of places such as Petite Maison, Zuma, tons of restaurants in london as well.

    my overall reaction was simple and to the point

    Amazing Food,
    Slightly Over priced-but worth it for the food we ate
    No ambiance as it was absolutely empty- unfortunate.
    Service was really unique, the waiter was from Venice.

    Def going back, but with a big group next time to create some sort of atmosphere.


  9. manish March 10, 2013 at 2:49 pm

    Wow….I read the article in the Telegraph on
    Milan chef vents his wrath at restaurant blogger whose review left a bitter taste…..

    ….. what ever said & done…. emotions apart…. the restaurant just got famous & so did

    Peace Out people & stay focused !!!



  10. David Miras October 3, 2014 at 11:11 am

    I’ve visited for the first time yesterday but didn’t eat there, will save that for when friends are around

    • FooDiva October 12, 2014 at 11:52 am

      It’s no longer Giannino, just an independent Italian, I understand David.

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