Date nights just got a little better at the Towers Rotana
Crimson red walls decorated with black and white photos of old Hollywood stars and starlets, Teatro oozes understated glamour; moody low lighting, plush furnishings and a glass-walled walk in cellar setting you up for an elegant but discreet date night. The type of space that is not overdone or over decorated; nor, is it large in scale or built to impress or intimidate. It is just a classic dining done well, with attention being paid to doing all the expected simple things correctly.
Unpretentious and unfussy, Teatro allows the food to shine.
Arriving ahead of the dinner crowd, my dining partner, Lindsey, and I decided to start off with aperitifs at the bar. In light of the surroundings, it seemed suitable to go with a gin martini to start. The bar staff really know their gins here and made decent recommendations based on our taste preferences. Lindsey’s gin & tonic came served with a slice of grapefruit and a couple of peppercorns to complement the citrus and pepperiness notes of the Tanqueray 10. If you are a lover of this classic drink, please try one here. Mixed with confidence, it was one of the highlights.
However, a restaurant with a fully-stocked walk-in cellar needs to have its wine-list explored. One could even argue, perhaps, that there is a moral imperative here. With such a comprehensive selection, we were encouraged to order by the glass; allowing us a little more flexibility. We were recommended the Da Luca Nero d’Avola from Italy. A medium-bodied red wine that has the smoothness of a Merlot with the lightness of a Pinot Noir. I went with this and Lindsey tried the Cantena Cabernet Sauvignon from Argentina. Full-bodied with decent tannins, she enjoyed it.
Currently serving their special concept Truffle Menu, we decided to order a couple of dishes off this as well as a few popular dishes off the main menu. To start we decided to go for the grilled octopus served with avocado, aji amarillo and vegetable confit as well as the wasabi battered tempura prawns. The servings were generous and one may be enough for two if you are wanting to have space for sweets later on. While the tempura prawns – one of the most popular dishes on the usual menu – were cooked well and the batter was crispy, I could have done with a slightly thinner layer of batter and would have liked to have seen the wasabi played up just a little more. Besides that, they were enjoyable and will suit those with a more conservative palette who are spice or heat-adverse.
But the real winner for me was the smokiness of the grilled octopus on the Truffle Menu. I am not sure what I was expecting, but any expectations were surpassed. While, when overdone, octopus can tend to be on the chewy side, this was not. Perfectly tender and meaty, it was sublime. I would never have thought to pair truffle with it and that was a nice surprise. It all seemed to work well and gets top marks for being the most intriguing dish of the evening. Currently on the Truffle Menu, we reckon it should work its way onto the main one.
For our entrees, we kept with the seafood theme and ordered the sea bass. Now, if a piece of fish is cooked to perfection is will have a sheen to it. If it is matte; it is overdone. Our generous portion of fish was wonderfully cooked. It glistened. Served with a miso sauce, it was generous and succulent. I am miso fan and was expecting something a little saltier but this had an unexpected sweetness which was a bit surprising although not unwelcome.
Lately, I have been on a bit of risotto kick. I have no idea why; I’m just going with it. So, with that in mind, I couldn’t resist and ordered the Risotto alla Milanese. Also on the special menu, this dish is served up with Aberdeen Black Angus marrow, black truffle and parmigiano-reggiano. Rich and satisfying, it was calorific, melting goodness. Well-balanced in flavours and textures, it delivered on all fronts.
And lastly, for pudding, we went for the ever-popular sizzling caramel sauce brownie and the chocolate fondant. There are only two words really to describe these desserts. Sexy. Decadence. Enough said.
Overall, the service was attentive yet unobtrusive. Our server Richelle was knowledgeable and if unsure, happily consulted the head chef for us. All in all, it was a pleasant evening out. The dinner crowd really started filling up the place around 9, so be sure to make a reservation in advance. You can do so through Dine in the City’s convenient online booking form on this page. So, put on your favourite little black dress and head down to the Towers Rotana on Sheik Zayed Road for a little bit of low-key loveliness.
Please note: Teatro’s special concept Truffle Menu will be served until 26 November.