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Inside the latest Carluccio’s in Dubai

Inside the latest Carluccio’s in Dubai
Inside the latest Carluccio’s in Dubai

The casual Italian hotspot recently opened its first licensed outlet (outside of the airport) at the Jumeirah Creekside Hotel

With seven outlets in Dubai and 13 in the Middle East, all-day casual Italian spot Carluccio’s needs no introduction. And in the vein of other casual-turned-licensed spots like Jones the Grocer (at the Emirates Gold Club) and Nando’s (at Al Barsha’s Novotel Suites), Carluccio’s has opened its first licensed outlet outside the airport.

Combining its signature blend of homely, hearty dishes at pragmatic prices, the new Carluccio’s (whose owner, Italian chef Antonio Carluccio, died last month aged 80) is at the ground level of the Jumeirah Creekside Hotel in Garhoud. On offer is a chic indoors space with nifty seating options and a bar, and the obvious choice until about March — the expansive, cosy candle-lit outdoor terrace that faces the Irish Village.

With music from the Irish Village for company (yes, it’s that close), we tucked into some favourites like roasted pumpkin and burrata topped with chilli and mint dressing; wild mushroom arancini that falls apart quite nicely, with what I still maintain is one of the best arrabbiata sauces served in Dubai; rustic Italian pizza with fresh toppings of eggplant, zucchini and broccoli and the right amount of crisp in its base; and to switch it up a bit, some juicy lamb steak. There are some interesting drinks to wash all this down with; on supervisor Yana’s recommendation we tried one with cucumber and raspberries, and another with peaches, and they didn’t disappoint — fresh, fruity and fun.

Desserts of ice cream and pistachio-topped Nutella cheesecake, a recent — and welcome — addition to the menu, was as decadent and gooey an affair as it sounds.

For the festive season, there’s a holiday menu available — two courses for Dh109 and three courses for Dh129. And starting next month, you can also head to Carluccio’s for ladies’ night every Thursday (three free bubbles, 50 per cent off food), and brunch every Friday (live cooking stations, kids’ face-painting, balloon artists, the works) from Dh195.

It’s the perfect spot for everything from a cosy dinner to a raucous birthday celebration – we’re definitely heading back to this branch of Carluccio’s.

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The details

Cuisine: Italian

Good for: Casual dining, serves breakfast, lunch and dinner

Credit card: Yes

Avg cost: Dh300 for two

Location: Jumeirah Creekside Hotel, Garhoud

Opening hours: 9am to midnight