It’s been awhile since we’ve gone to brunch with friends.
Out came the handy Entertainer app and ‘Al Grissino’ popped up. I jumped onto social media to see if anyone else has been and saw this from fellow blogger Foodie with Suitcase , and decided – yep, we’re going. Their website had a few more offers and the Thursday evening brunch deal worked better for everyone’s schedule. More importantly, the restaurant was fine (surprisingly!) with having prams (two, actually!) – so it was a done deal. A 241 brunch, somewhere we’ve never been before, a really pretty-looking bar I want to check out, and supposedly good food = an evening to look forward to 🙂
So, how was it? Is Al Grissino just another pretty looking restaurant with a gorgeous bar in the DIFC? Here are our thoughts of their Thursday evening brunch.
Good, very good. They explained the deal clearly – what the “+” meant, which is basically the 10% tax all restaurants in the DIFC charge (which I only recently learnt, as we hardly dine in this area). I had originally booked for 10 people, and rang them half an hour prior to 8pm to change to 8, and was very impressed to get there and find that they had already re-arranged the tables to accomodate just the 8 of us, and also a corner table just in case the babies decide to make some noise 🙂
First time to Emirates Financial Towers, so we were initially a bit disappointed that there was no free valet (because yes, we are very spoilt). Not to fret – you can easily park your car right next to the lifts. The lifts open up to the Level 16 and you’ll be welcomed by the staff, and the first view you get is of the bar. Oh, the bar. I’m definitely coming back for a drink or two there next time!
We were led to our tables in the restaurant area which was very quiet at 8pm. Possibly just two other tables at the time. Very very impressed that they had already set the table with all the entrees, I felt like we have just arrived at someone’s dinner party at home 🙂
I’ll start by saying I’m no Italian food expert, though we did enjoy the food we ate when we spent 10 days in Italy last year. So please keep that in mind when you read the rest of my blog 😉
Now for the Thursday evening brunch you get a selection of cold starters served on the table to share. My favourites – the fresh burrata with tomatoes, and the tuna carpaccio. My first raw oyster in the last 12 months so it was delicious – though this is a highly biased opinion so don’t take my word for it. They cleared the empty plates soon after and out came the hot starters.
It was nice to have a little bit of everything – I liked the prawns dashed with a bit of garlic and olive oil – simple and tasty as the Italians would do. At this point I was getting quite full, so the tomino cheese and deep fried rice balls were getting a bit heavy for my liking.
The burrata cheese risotto – most of our group loved – though G and I were saving our tummies for the ‘main dish’ so we had a few bites and asked for it to be taken away (yes, you can take away as it’s not a buffet-style brunch so please don’t be shy to NOT waste food!)
When our mains finally came out (at 10pm) – I think we were all getting a little sleepy (or maybe it’s just me) – so I was a little bit disappointed to see my steak covered in a lot of sauce. Upon reading the menu again I realised it was described that way “Grilled beef rib eye with a rich pepper corn sauce and baked potatoes” – I guess we’ve always liked our steaks the way it’s cooked down under – just with salt and pepper so you can truly enjoy the taste of a good rib-eye (and the NZ ones always taste better than the Australian ones, don’t you think 😉 ). Portions are not big, and for once I was thankful as we were getting so full! Surprisingly – I did also enjoy the thinly sliced steak though drenched in pepper corn sauce.
As most of our group agreed – they saved the best for last. The desserts – tiramisu, millefuille with chantilly and chocolate dips, and two scoops of ice cream. How I wish I could take them home and have them right now as I type up this blog.
Taking into consideration of the reservations, and how they set up our table beforehand, as well as the general good service althroughout – I have no complaints. It was not over the top, it was just right.
If you like a really grand-looking restaurant which somehow feels very warm, with gorgeous views of the DIFC area and beyond, a man who plays the piano well, sounds like Barry Manilow, and sings to the tunes of Amy Winehouse’ Back in Black and Eric Clapton’s Wonderful tonight – you’ll love Al Grissino.
For the non-alc package (which includes soft drinks, and available that night fresh orange juice) – it worked out to be AED 148.50 pp including the 10% DIFC tax. And if you wanted free-flow drinks including Prosesco, Mai Tais, Stella Artois’ and the likes, you only need to pay 214.50 pp. Talk about a bargain! Of course, it’s part of a 241 so you need to find a +1 to share! Better still, you don’t need to take out any apps for this deal as it’s just on their website, and according to the flyer available till end of September.
What could be better?
The timing of the food. 10pm for mains is way too late. It starts at 8pm, so I would say, to work through such that the main course comes at least by 9:30pm at latest? Maybe ask the table first, what time they would like the mains to come – I’m sure some people don’t mind a really late dinner.
The live music, though good, was a bit too loud for the restaurant of that size. Would be good to just bring it down a notch.
From the rest of the menu, I thought the rice balls were a bit unnecessary as it was too filling considering the the amount of food altogether.
Would I go back? I’m actually trying to figure out when I can squeeze in another trip before we go on holidays! And if we don’t, I hope they extend the promo so we can check the place out during their Friday brunch!
Have you been to Al Grissino? What did you think of the food? Thoughts on why the bar area is so empty on a Thursday night? Maybe it’s busier during after-work for the DIFC chaps?
- Al Grissino Restaurant & Lounge
- Emirates Financial Towers, DIFC
- Tel : +97143524000
- Deal : 241 Evening Brunch on Thursdays, 270 AED for non-alc, 390 AED for alc package, + 10% for DIFC tax till end of September 2016 according to their website.
Disclaimer : We paid for our meals. All thoughts are our own 🙂