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REVIEW: Il Capo at The Westin Al Habtoor City

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Tucked away in the palatial surroundings of The Westin in Al Habtoor City, is an Italian eatery that lives up the grand setting. Il Capo, literally translated as “The Boss”, is the type of place films like The Godfather would depict the mafiosi welcoming a new “made man” to the fold over a bowl of pasta. From the huge twinkling chandeliers suspended from the impossibly high ceilings to the immaculate table dressings, you feel you ought to be discussing how to gain a bigger slice of the Vegas action.

We’re seated at a table overlooking the Dubai Canal and its colourful waterfall cascade – a fantastic backdrop for our dinner. We’re also just within range of the traditional brick pizza oven that fills the restaurant with tempting aromas of stone-baked dough and melting mozzarella. We go for the burrata and the – deep breath now – bresaola della valtellina all’ olio tartufato (read: cured beef) to begin with. The tasty burrata cheese and toasted garlic bread is neatly complimented with balsamic-glazed cherry tomatoes and a drizzle of olive oil, that works well on the palate.

With the peppery punch of the rocket leaves and subtle parmesan shavings, the cured beef is another winner. What’s apparent is that although both starters are typical of many Italian restaurants we’ve been to, there’s special attention paid to each ingredient at Il Capo that demands each bite be savoured.

For entrées, we plump for the lamb chops that are served on a bed of crushed potatoes and are flanked by seasonal, roasted vegetables. The succulent meat peels away from the bone effortlessly and melts on the tongue, and the rosemary veal jus helps the dish come together in a medley of deep, rich savoury notes. There’s almost too much for us to get through, but then again traditional Italian portions are supposed to test your belt’s durability. But be warned.

We also order the beef filet. Served medium-rare, there’s a nice crispness to the outside of the meat that keeps the juices contained for mouthfuls of delicate meat that elicit faux chef kisses with every forkful. Its brocollini, sautéed spinach, vegetables and green peppercorn sauce garnish makes for an irresistible meal that, although simple, is immaculate.

To round things off we opt for the profiteroles and a cheese board – two pretty stock-standard desserts in any Italian restaurant, but both classics for a reason. The choux pastries were delightful and filled with light, cloud-like cream, and finished with a chocolate that paired perfectly. Although the cheese board was plentiful, and crossed the spectrum of tastes from a mild, gooey brie to a Stilton we’re still pining for now, the lack of an appropriate quality of breads and biscuits was a tad disappointing. More needed to sample a greater cross-section; by the end we were balancing slices precariously on the walnuts that came with it.

Still, Il Capo’s all-round experience – from the food to the decor, canal views and the rest – makes for an enjoyable and gratifying evening. Prices veer towards the high side, but then again this is a meal fit for a boss.

Bresaola
The beef pepperoni starter is a great and delicious way to ease yourself into the mains.

Lamb chops
Come for the succulent lamb chops, stay for the creamy crushed (mashed?) potatoes.

Profiteroles
You’ll have just enough room to squeeze these dainty pastries into your belly by the end.

Where: The Westin, Al Habtoor City
Contact: +9714 435 5577

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