The Dubai outpost of three-Michelin starred Enoteca Pinchiorri had already garnered a loyal following in its previous space – luckily it’s fans don’t have far to traipse as it’s 2.0 incarnation has moved just next door to the ground floor of the swanky Waldorf Astoria DIFC.
When you enter the monochrome marble-corridor that leads to the hotel and restaurant, your temperature is checked by a discrete doorman before you reach The Artisan’s hostess desk where a large bottle of hand sanitizer sits centre stage.
The new space might be intimate – but they’ve kept the table spacing to social distancing norms – and though the Italian team might be masked, you can feel their warm smiles as you are seated and handed menus.
Chef Luca – whose Florentine-trained pedigree is unmatched – is still at the helm, dishing out elevated plates in this suitably elegant, refined setting which oozes fine dining but takes out any of the stuffiness.
The menu spans Italian highlights, while adding the chef’s own distinctive touches. Feather-light pizzas – that garnered many an Insta-moment during lockdown when they started delivering – deserve the spotlight. We spotted those in the know ordering a couple to take-away at the end of their meal for midnight munchies.
Attentive waiters are happy to serve parties who don’t want to touch the cutlery, or leave you to your own devices if you fancy helping yourself.
Moving onto starters, we opted for the slow-cooked octopus and sweet Datterino-tomato and rocket-topped beef carpaccio – generous, rich portions of perfectly balanced flavours made with obviously excellent ingredients. Vegetarians shouldn’t miss the tangy beetroot salad; fine slivers of purple teamed with creamy ricotta and crunchy caramalised walnuts.
Whatever you do, don’t miss the pastas. We would return for this course alone. Our top picks out of a selection of all-hits? The sweet pumpkin-stuffed agnolotti, paired with a rich Parmesan fondue and buttery sage or the Tuscan thyme-infused paccheri for those who crave Bolognese flavours.
Both pescatarians and carnivores are catered for in the mains – if you manage to get this far without over-ordering. We couldn’t resist sharing the succulent beef tenderloin teamed with a subtle truffle sauce.
The portions might not be huge, but you’ll be tempted by so much that you’ll undoubtedly want to try the whole menu. Resist – as there has to be space for their beautifully curated dessert selection. The feather-light Miele – themed around honey – sees clouds of fluffy honey foam, lavender-infused panna cotta and a moist olive oil case topped off with a lattice honeycomb.
Everything we tried at The Artisan impressed. So much so that we were lured back within days, craving another turn at our favourites and wanting to try more of the menu. The team are justifiably very proud of having so many regulars. There’s a reason why we’ve already joined their ranks even in Covid-times.
For more information, call +971 4 338 8133 or visit theartisan.ae.
Find The Artisan Ristorante at the Waldorf Astoria DIFC, Burj Daman building, Al Mustaqbal Street, Dubai, UAE.