Dish of the week: Cafe Milano

The roasted quail at Cafe Milano has Vanessa Fitter in a flap Discuss this article

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© ITP Images

Four Seasons Abu Dhabi is the newest kid on the Al Maryah Island block and is creating quite a reputation for itself. Just a few weeks ago we talked about the brilliance of its prohibition era-themed steakhouse Butcher & Still and now we’re here to tell you about the top-class Cafe Milano.

As you might have guessed, it’s an Italian restaurant. What you might not know, however, is it’s an import from Washington DC. Cafe Milano has been at the top of its game in the US for 20 years, serving southern coastal dishes in a refined, stylish atmosphere. What else would you expect from a restaurant named after one of the world’s most fashionable cities?

The Abu Dhabi outpost has a similar light, airy, high-end feel, but instead of views of a Grangetown street, here the dining room looks over the waters of the shimmering Arabian Gulf. It has a private dining room (as does its big brother, and it’s a favourite of politicians and celebrities such as Elle McPherson, Kate Hudson and Dave Chapelle), an air-conditioned glass enclosure and outdoor dining area. It looks the part and has the pedigree, and thankfully we can confirm the food is just as refined. The signature roasted quail stuffed with dates, in particular, is a dish we’re really intrigued by.

“Eighty percent of the menu is in the style of the Cafe Milano in Washington DC,” explains executive chef Franco Sangiacomo. “Our focus is on fresh, seasonal produce.” The other 20 percent, he says, has been adapted to suit the local market. The quail is one example.

The stuffed breasts are wrapped in veal bacon and deep-fried before being finished in the oven. It comes with a crispy quail egg, perfectly crunchy on the outside and runny in the centre, sweet pumpkin purée, broccolini and a quail jus.

It’s a dish with few ingredients, but each one is utterly essential. The rest of the menu is prepared in a similar, simple way and we can’t wait to try more.
Dhs160. Four Seasons Abu Dhabi, Al Maryah Island (02 333 2222).

By Vanessa Fitter
Time Out Abu Dhabi,

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