DINING

Restaurant review: Verso at Grand Hyatt Abu Dhabi Hotel & Residences Emirates Pearl

When you think Italian cuisine, creamy pastas and decadent pizzas are probably among the first things that come to mind. But the stylish new trattoria at Grand Hyatt Abu Dhabi Hotel & Residences Emirates Pearl has so much more to offer. Perhaps it’s the soulful acoustic soundtrack in the background or the colourful homely touches in the décor, but the vibrant space evokes a sense of nostalgia.

The moment you step in, you’ll find yourself instantly transported to an Italian countryside eatery. Aromas of freshly baked bread, springtime herbs and sauces cooking away in the open kitchen fill the air while the bright and airy space, with views of the hotel’s pool and the Arabian Gulf, makes for the perfect setting. And when it comes to the culinary philosophy, Verso proves back to basics never goes out of fashion. It’s only been a few months since the Italian trattoria opened its doors in the UAE capital yet the chic spot has quickly made a name for itself as a serene seaside retreat.

And after taking one look at the menu, it’s easy to see why. No frills and fancies, here it’s all about classic Italian recipes. It’s like walking into a kitchen, only to be surrounded by the most comforting flavours. Think mixed bean soup, clam linguine, gnocchi cooked in a thick tomato sauce and calamari risotto. And the more you peruse the menu, the more you’ll see why Verso is not just your average trattoria.

We visited on a Friday evening, a few weeks after Grand Hyatt Abu Dhabi Hotel & Residences Emirates Pearl officially opened its doors to the public. We spotted a good mix of families sharing a meal with their little ones, couples in for an intimate evening and groups enjoying a night out. Clearly, the venue lends itself to a variety of occasions, be it date night, a birthday celebration or simply a leisurely afternoon lunch (book the poolside terrace during the cooler months).

When it comes to the culinary philosophy, Verso proves back to basics never goes out of fashion

There’s plenty to enjoy even before your meal begins and if you’re anything like us, you’ll be keen to walk around the restaurant’s lush herb garden or take your pick of freshly baked bread lined up along the counter dedicated solely to bread and cheese with assorted varieties from focaccia to ciabatta. Sure to also keep you in high spirits throughout your meal is the restaurant’s extensive wine list, boasting the finest varieties sourced from premium vineyards across the globe.

The sheer number of classic Italian favourites on the menu means you might need a little assistance when it comes to whittling down your choices. Fortunately, the restaurant’s warm and friendly staff are always happy to help by recommending the most popular dishes. Based on our server suggestions, we opted to start with the artisanal selection of Italian charcuterie. With nine different choices on offer, we narrowed it down to the cooked veal ham, served with crunchy potato crackers and homemade pickles. Keeping things light and fresh (considering the decadence ahead), the garden salad completed our selection of starters. This healthy mix, packed with salad leaves, heirloom tomatoes, purple artichokes, walnuts and goat cheese imported from Italy’s Piedmont region, will tick three out of your five a day.

For mains, we relied on the classic combination of pasta and pizza. The creamy tagliatelle with melt-in-your-mouth lamb and subtle hints of rosemary is a pasta lover’s dream while the diavola pizza, topped with hot beef salami, onions and fresh chillies, tasted incredibly indulgent yet felt surprisingly light.

When you dine Italian style, skipping dessert is not an option. And what better way could there be to end your meal than with a delightful tiramisu? Perfectly complementing the robust flavours of cocoa and espresso is the delicate combination of mascarpone and custard, which Verso serves sharing style, in a large platter for all the diners around the table to enjoy over great conversation and laughter. It all comes together nicely as a nod to the Italian way of life.

For reservations or more information 02 5101234

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