“Italian food is all about ingredients and it’s not fussy and it’s not fancy.” Wolfgang Puck
Brunch like the Italians do at Brunchiamo, debuting this month at Spaccanapoli Ristorante at the Crowne Plaza Abu Dhabi in the heart of Abu Dhabi. Recently appointed Head Chef Luca Paltrinieri and his team take diners on an authentic culinary journey from his native Italy in the latest table brunch to launch in the capital. Dishes are served straight from the open kitchen directly to your table, until you say I’m Full or Basta as the Italian’s say!
We started with a hearty Tuscan style tomato soup, a tasty offering served with warm fresh breads and olive tapenades along with an antipasti platter with a selection of Italian cheeses, charcuterie, grilled vegetables and olives. Next up was a choice of three different homemade traditional pastas; parmesan infused pasta with classic Bolognese sauce, spaghetti with shrimps, mussels and squid and tagliatelle with seasonal vegetables.
The secondi piatti featured three dishes, a meat platter with grilled lamb chop, a tender piece of steak and chicken breast with hand-cut chips (the other half substituted the carbs for sauteed vegetables) or a selection of grilled seafood including giant prawns and salmon with Mediterranean dressing. A vegetarian option of seasonal vegetables with lemon vinaigrette is also available, I ordered a margherita pizza from the a la carte menu. A selection of traditional mini Italian desserts make up the final course, two bite size portions of the creamiest coffee-flavoured tiramisu, a dollop of almond panna cotta and a miniature slice of apple pie.
Located on the Mezzanine level, Spaccanapoli (named after the busy narrow touristy promenade in old Naples) has a charming authentic trattoria feel with its stone clad walls, paintings of Italian streets housed in wooden shutters, miniature orange trees, vintage lanterns and a large fireplace at one end adding to the cosy ambiance. The dark decor is lightened by daylight streaming in from several windows that look out on the busy Hamdan Street below. Passionate chef Luca is putting his own twist on the rustic menu which offers a menu filled with Italian favourites such as homemade pasta, seafood, grills, soups, salads as well as classics such as lasagne, ravioli and of the course the famed rich layered tiramisu.
Spaccanapoli’s renowned metre long pizzas, that are gigantic and can literally feed a whole family (we once foolishly ordered two), are still the restaurant’s unique selling point. There are also lots of vegetarian options, gluten free pizza is available on request, there’s an extensive wine selection and the service is attentive.
Two of my favourite things have been amalgamated in the latest option to be introduced into the capital’s overcrowded brunch scene, Italian food and table brunching. Brunchiamo offers delicious rustic Italian cuisine combined with real Italian hospitality served in the sociable sharing style concept. At the moment it can be rightly described as Abu Dhabi’s best kept secret but it’s early days, I’m quite sure once people taste Chef Luca’s homely Italian menu, which changes weekly, they will be back for more. If you are a lively brunch goer or like a five-star option with beach views then this may not be the brunch for you. If however you like traditional cuisine at an affordable price served in an intimate setting with free-flowing beverages then this is a viable and enjoyable choice.
Location: Spaccanapoli Ristorante, Crowne Plaza Abu Dhabi, Hamdan Street. Abu Dhabi
Telephone: 02 616 6261
Brunchiamo is available every Friday and Saturday from 12 noon to 4:00pm
Cost: AED 200 net including soft drinks AED 300 net including mixed drinks
Read more about Spaccanapoli Ristorante in previous post Cheese & Wine Night | Spaccanapoli Ristorante
I was invited to review this brunch. All views are my own based on my experience. Unless otherwise stated, all photos on this page © Jo Brett 2017. All rights reserved.