Much of life in Italy revolves around the dinner table, so the boot-shaped country has that in common with Dubai. This family-friendly brunch is where cultures collide to great effect.
Although it’s the newest addition to the Oberoi in Business Bay, Matto has no catching up to do. When we visit one Friday evening, it’s standing room only.
Apparently ‘matto’ means crazy, and with its industrial interior and huge murals, it’s certainly more offbeat and edgy than your everyday Italian bistro.
Returning on a Saturday afternoon, the pace is a little slower and we’re absolutely fine with that. Friday might be for friends, but Saturdays are for family and that’s what Brunch del Matto is all about.
Sharing portions from the Italian eatery’s a la carte menu are served to your table while fresh pizzas are carried round by the good-natured staff, should your plate ever fall empty.
Primo is precise servings of arancini, salmon carpaccio, fried calamari and buffalo mozzarella salad (imported from Italy, the restaurant manager assures us) – the kitchen sends out just the right amount for two people to enjoy.
Pizza slices of peppery Diavola and aubergine-topped parmigiana are carried round by the waiters and handed out at request – we like this way of ensuring each piece is hot and fresh.
This is not a day to dodge carbs, we reflect, as three decorative pans of pasta join our table. Gnocchi bolognese, prawn risotto and ricotta and spinach ravioli are unfussy and filling.
‘Dolci’ is the sweetest course – tiramisu, ‘sporcamuss’ cream-filled puff pastries and fried doughy strips similar to Mexican churros. They come with almost a whole pot of Nutella, which we set about with a spoon before our companion has a chance to try any.
Italian cuisine might be all about sharing, but those eating it have a way to go.