Bleu Blanc at the Renaissance Downtown blew our socks off a couple of months ago and since then we have been clamouring for the chance to visit the hotel’s Italian sister restaurant Basta – also by chef David Myers. “Basta” translates to “that’s enough” – clearly an in-joke as the quality of the food here very much leaves us wanting more.
A more informal destination, Basta has a definite trattoria vibe, the faux shuttered windows above aiming to transport customers to a cobbled village piazza in southern Italy. The outdoor terrace might destroy that idyll a little when the mercury falls, though the Dubai Canal and its surrounding skyscrapers do have a certain al fresco charm.
The pizza and pasta options are very accessibly priced, while the newly launched tasting menu represents excellent value; for AED149, there are eleven miniaturized dishes so customers can sample the best of Basta.
On said menu, the veal carpaccio is served simply with peppery rocket, shaved mushrooms and Parmesan. A squeeze of lemon helps the paper-thin slices sing. The burrata with cherry tomatoes and basil is an understated treat.
We swap out the marinara pizza for a slightly more exciting wild mushroom, pecorino sardo and roasted garlic variety and it is a choice that brings zero regret. On top of the skinny crust sits a delightful combination of earthy mushrooms, sweet garlic and salty cheese. Bellissimo.
We also try the wood-grilled bistecca Fiorentina but while the accompanying pickled balsamic onions and rocket salad are great, the sliced steak is far too fatty. However, it is the only flaw in our whole meal. Elsewhere, the Naples soup – a spicy tomato broth with scallops, prawns, clams – is a fitting tribute to the sea, while the delicate king prawn Tagliolini pasta is the highlight of the main courses.
Among the desserts, the Tiramisu stands out for its successful execution and the strawberry granita is a seriously pretty pudding – served with ricotta cream and a lone basil leaf. There’s much to admire about Basta and its delivery of Italian classics, so it’s another thumbs up for David Myers in Dubai.
Where: Renaissance Downtown Hotel, Dubai
Contact: +9714 512 5522, website