Armani/Deli

One imagines the Milanese are picky about their delis; with their reputation for culinary greatness, they’d have to be. The original Peck Deli has been running for more than 125 years and has since branched out to become a high-end international franchise. Its latest incarnation at the Armani Hotel is unique because it accommodates both a deli and a restaurant, providing guests with one of the hotel’s more modest bood and beverage outlets. Of course, ‘modest’ in the Armani vernacular still translates to impeccably dressed waiters and a sleek decor. When my date and I arrived, we were met with gleaming vitrines brimming with dim lighting, chrome finishing and a pervading colour scheme of black and white. Food could be ordered à la carte or chosen from the bounteous offerings on display, and after much lazy deliberation we opted for the antipasti platter and the cold mezze, which, in keeping with the setting, were both immaculately presented. Each component of the antipasti – voluptuous olives, paper-thin purple bresaola, velvety smoked salmon, pickled radicchio, feta cheese and grissini sticks – was served in its own porcelain dish, as if to quarantine the wildly varying array of flavours. The bresaola was salted and smoked to perfection, while the radicchio proved to be an acerbic delight. Meanwhile, the mezze platter transported our taste buds from Italy to Arabia. The muhamara was a particular stand-out, prickling our palates with a gentle infusion of chilli, pomegranate and garlic. The antipasti selection was a perfect precursor to my pappardelle main, which I ordered with mushroom sauce. The choice wasn’t adventurous, but neither was the menu’s limited selection of Italian pasta sauces. This is by no means a criticism; anything other than a simple sauce would detract from the textures and tastes of the hand-made pastas on offer. My date ordered the seafood special of king prawns – three enormous specimens in a tenacious garlic marinade that offset the succulent, saccharine flesh of these divine decapods. Though we had sufficiently sated our appetites, curiosity induced us to dabble with dessert – could it possibly be as good as all that preceded it? Alas, no. That’s not to say that the lemon tart we shared was bad – it was beautifully presented and provided a refreshing, tangy zip – but we felt as though we could have tasted that same dessert in any of Dubai’s high-end eateries. Peck’s strength lies in its ability to bring a little bit of Milan to the foot of the Burj Khalifa. It achieves this through authentic hand-made pastas, fresh breads and olive oil – the simple ingredients of this illustrious deli’s enduring success. The bill (for two) 1x Large bottle of water Dhs30 1x Cold mezze platter Dhs55 1x Antipasti platter Dhs74 1x King prawns and garlic Dhs95 1x Pappardelle pasta Dhs70 1x Lemon tart Dhs40 1x Espresso Dhs24 Total (including 10 per cent service) Dhs388

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