“The trouble with eating Italian food is that five or six days later you’re hungry again.” George Miller
Dining at Circo Abu Dhabi is always a pleasure, a definite favourite place of mine to dine in the city. The food and service at this brightly coloured circus themed establishment are both fantastic, if you like Italian food especially Tuscan fare then this restaurant at the Intercontinental Hotel is a must. The other half and I attended a media dinner early this month hosted by Mauro Maccioni, son of Circo founder Sirio who had flown in from New York for the occasion.
Amazing food paired with fine wines was the order of the evening, a five-course extravaganza of dishes for both meat eaters and vegetarians alike. The Amuse Bouche of either delicious creamy burrata or cured red tuna with citrus fruits and salad was beautifully presented in a cocktail dish atop a glass fishbowl decorated with clam shells, pebbles and foilage. Antipasto of perfectly cooked eggplant cannelloni filled with both ricotta and goat’s cheese or beef 1824 and truffle tartare was accompanied with a lively, fruity Attems Pinot Grigio.
The primo course was a rather lovely flavoursome garden vegetable risotto or a squid ink risotto topped with a gremolata crusted red mullet gratin with clams perfectly paired with an intense flavoured deep red Sasseo. This wine also accompanied the secondo course of surf and turf combining poached lobster with veal tortelloni ossobuco or the veggie option of Mamma Egi’s tortelloni with pumpkin sauce. The non-alcohol Porthole berries infusion and the alcoholic version blending grappa, limoncello and amaretto was presented alongside the evening’s finale, Sirio Maccioni’s Creme Brulee, a sweet tribute to the founder himself. A rich dessert adorned with a crunchy burnt sugar shard and served with red currants, raspberries and a side of caramelized pineapple, a very pleasing finish to the evening’s proceedings .
Circo, the Italian for Circus, was the first of its kind in the Middle East when it opened just over a year ago here in capital. It came with plenty of history as part of the Maccioni family restaurant empire. Circo founder, Maccioni and his wife Egidiana opened the acclaimed celebrity hangout, Le Cirque French restaurant in New York over forty years ago and now have a total of ten restaurants worldwide.
This upscale restaurant’s showy decor and ambiance is as impressive as its menu, with all the grandeur of an old-style European circus tent recreated by the imaginative and visual primary coloured big top styled interior. You can enjoy a varied menu of classic Tuscan food inspired by the personal recipes and traditional cooking of Maccioni matriarch Mamma Egidiana. Handed down through generations the recipes are being reinterpreted by the fantastic team of chefs at Circo Abu Dhabi led by the very talented head chef Matteo Fontana under the guidance of the hotel’s executive chef Dany Kattar, using the best and freshest produce available.
Yet another fabulous evening of authentic Italian food at Circo Abu Dhabi, each dish a work of art showcased and presented front of house by the always passionate restaurant manager Gianluca and his welcoming, efficient serving team and not forgetting of course the incredible wine selections. Circo Abu Dhabi is a must do in the capital, don’t take my word for it go and find out for yourself. Bon Appetito
CIRCO ABU DHABI
Location: Lower Ground Floor, Intercontinental Hotel Abu Dhab
Opening Hours: 12:00 – Midnight (Happy Hour – enjoy 50% off on selected beverages daily from 5pm – 7pm)
Telephone: 02 666 6888
Facebook/Instagram: Circo Abu Dhabi
I was invited to this event but the views are all my own based on my experience. Unless otherwise stated all photos © Jo Brett 2015/16. All rights reserved.