BiCE Mare

There’s something comfortingly classic about Bice Mare. Essentially, it’s a cool, crisp Italian restaurant, complete with starched white linens and cooing service. In that sense, the latest addition to the Milanese chain is a quintessentially Italian venue that (unlike its older brother at the Hilton) specialises in fish. It seemed somewhat criminal, therefore, to stray too far from the piscine theme when ordering. My date and I kept things simple to start. I opted for a lobster carpaccio opener: while I adored the fine slivers of crustacean, I was disappointed that the citrus dressing overpowered the sweet rounds of flesh, preventing my palate from fully enjoying the fine product. My date fared better with a salmon tartare, which came with wedges of orange and had a tantalising balance of sweet and tart. Our mains satisfied, though fell somewhat short of inspiring. A signature seafood linguine dish recommended by our waiter came served in a brown packet: it’s a cooking method I appreciate, but I assumed the staff would have removed the bag before serving. The result was a rather unruly dish (I was constantly afraid of the packet breaking while I was eating). And while it included a good selection of fresh fish – mussels, prawns, clams and all the classics – I found it could have benefited from some more seasoning, perhaps a few extra fresh herbs to give it added oomph. My date’s monkfish osso buco was slightly more daring. Osso buco, a casserole-style dish, is almost universally made with veal shank, though the Bice Mare chef decided to switch things up by using monkfish. The variation worked, partly because of monkfish’s dense, meaty texture, but while it was very good, it fell just short of being great. Desserts were just as true to form as everything else at Bice Mare. A tiramisu was lusciously creamy and well proportioned, but ultimately unmemorable, while an apple tortino (essentially an Italian apple strudel) was middling. I couldn’t fault the execution of the food at Bice Mare, except to say that while it was consistently traditional and well prepared, it at no point really dazzled. If it weren’t for the inflated price tag, the restaurant could easily make a charming and reliable local. The bill, however, is overly ambitious given the somewhat lacklustre overall effect. The bill (for two) 1x Large bottle of water Dhs24 1x Lobster carpaccio Dhs135 1x Salmon tartare Dhs110 1x Seafood linguine Dhs135 1x Monkfish osso buco Dhs160 1x Apple tortino Dhs50 1x Tiramisu Dhs50 Total (excluding service) Dhs664

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