We all have our ‘go to’ spots at Dubai Mall, do we not?
For me, it’s usually something easy like Shake Shack or, if I’m trying to be healthy, a quick pop over to Baker and Spice for a takeaway salad. It’s why I’ve tried to force myself to try some new locations in the recent past. Guynadin. Parkers, Katana, and now Serafina. Stopping in for lunch, at first, I was immediately confused at the interior. While you might not care much how a restaurant looks, I personally believe it can have a positive, negative, or neutral impact on the meal. In this instance, negative. As it was too hot to sit on the lovely outdoor terrace (all white, taupe, and relatively chic), the overlarge chairs, mixed tables, strange lighting at the bar (cantina? club? We couldn’t decide), random graffiti, and too dark interior definitely did not add up to something enjoyable. Similarly, the music was a bit all over the shop. As my sister pointed out when we entered a store in the mall later in the afternoon (one that was playing something I would consider ‘home-style Italian’), we wondered, how could a furniture store have a better grasp on the soundtrack than a restaurant?
The food, like so many places in the city, is average, but not special. To start, we split a large antipasti plate (complete with, you guessed it, Burrata). The beautifully arranged tray also included Bruchscetta (AED55, a bit heavy on the olives for both of us), as well as Fritto Misto (70AED, complete with a delicious aioli). Overall, the winner from the food turned out to be the freshly baked garlic bread (complete with the cleverest presentation of olive oil I’ve seen to date).
For mains, I decided that a pasta course was my best option, and ordered the Pappardelle con Petto di Pollo (AED87), while my sister decided on the Gamberoni (AED132). My portion was from the American school of plating, and thus, easily made for a leftover lunch the following day. I can’t fault the pasta, with a nicely balanced amount of sauce, it was exactly as advertised. Unfortunately, across the table, while the prawns were perhaps a touch overcooked and Sis prefers the heads off her shrimp (I am inclined to agree). The accompanying salad was made of greens that almost entirely wilted, thus the dish lacked any sort of nice crunch to accompany the seafood. Overall, we both were a bit ‘meh’ on the prospect of reordering our dishes.
An Italian meal isn’t finished until you have Tiramisu, isn’t that a rule somewhere? At AED54, it’s a bit on the high side, but easily split between two people (and even more, if I’m being honest). The dessert is delicious and easily celebrates one of the more famous Italian sweets.
So, would I go back? For the food, I don’t think I would. To impress out of town friends and family who would like to enjoy a glass of vino while taking in the fountains during the cooler months, this is a fantastic destination. I think the suggestions I have for the restaurant are easily actionable and
after a complete overhaul of the interior, I would consider giving the venue another try. Service was prompt and professional.
A to Za’atar was a guest of Serafina. Opinions are my own, just ask my husband.