A vibrant Italian fare
Torno Subito could be an anathema to Italian stereotypes - and that is its greatest strength
Buongiorno! The three hostesses said in a way that added radiance to their orange sundresses. I was all set to chalk it off as just stellar customer service but stepping inside Torno Subito's colourful and playful interiors sold me on the staff's sunny disposition. Here's a tongue twister, the Torno Sabato at Torno Subito is in essence an Italian lunch catered to large groups. The experience is more akin to lounging about in the Italian coastline while you enjoy delectable dishes from culinary master Massimo Bottura. Forget stereotypes, the Torno Sabato is a radical departure from rustic décor, whites and reds on almost all dining fixtures and the food can be summarised as Italian comfort food.
There is colour in every dish. I have definitely been won over by their beef carpaccio served with a painter's palette of sauces and seasonings. The dish lends itself to the diner's creativity and I had a ball trying out every colour presented to me. A bowl of green risotto, while a bit unusual (forgive my cluelessness) had hints of red in them. The blue bowl it was in added to the rainbow. The colour experience is aided by the restaurant's interiors which, according to the manager, is based on Bottura's childhood memories.
Of course, the classics remain. There's cacio y pepe (basically Italian mac and cheese), which was the perfect al dente. The bite then burst with a blend of pecorino cheese and a dash of pepper, which made the dish play between ticklish and aggressive. All said, I tip my hat to Bottura - he had a colourful childhood and it shows in his food and in his restaurant quite literally in the latter if I may add.
Taste: The stars of the lunch are the cacio y pepe and the roasted duck. However, the latter may have taken a small diversion with its oriental sauce, which gave off Asian vibes. I will, however, wholeheartedly recommend their tiramisu, which is a deconstruction of the dish - complete with a solid disc of coffee the size of a teacup.
Ambience: What do you imagine when you hear the words 'Italian restaurant'? Well, Torno Subito is a radical departure from all the Italian joints in town. It's a pastel-coloured, photos-hanging-from-the-ceiling experience, which lends itself to some great Instagram shots.
Service: From a trio of hostesses to every member of the staff asking us about the food and reminding us of the offering, it's nice to feel pampered. Food took some time to arrive between courses but the delay can be negligible. Your mileage may vary.
Presentation: You've got the beachfront, a restaurant interior with an entire box of crayons perfectly represented and dishes that look more like paintings. What's not to like? All dishes are plated in odd colours and sometimes, a salad shows up to add flair when the browns of bread and meat become too much.
Value for money: You're looking at Dh349 per person for the regular package and Dh499 with house beverages. The 'shared lunch' idea is only applicable to some dishes and I hope they increase the portion size. But the hero here is the gelato cart, which tops off an excellent dining experience that can be done in two to three hours.
AT A GLANCE
Torno Subito, Mall W Dubai - The Palm
Cost: Dh200 for two (approx.)