I’m in the midst of compiling features for an Italian-themed issue of a magazine at the moment. With each passing day, I find myself growing clinically obsessive about tomato-mozzarella, fantasizing about adventures in Sicily and attempting to get as close to Italy as possible, within the geographic limits of Dubai. I think only Italy can do that to a person.
This weekend, my newfound love of Italy steered me towards the highly recommended The Boardwalk, at Dubai Creek Golf and Yacht Club for Mediterranean cuisine, that someone promised, would definitely not disappoint. Set at the very picturesque end of the Dubai Creek, the nautical inspired setting looked beautiful against the waterside. The wooden deck and white-and-tan al fresco ambience set the mood for a truly Mediterranean experience.
But then again, somehow, the single reason to visit Boardwalk is not the ambience- it’s the food! The charming in-house chef Stefano went the extra mile to explain what he’d lined up for the day’s guests. “I’d recommend the panzanella salad- a native Tuscan dish made from leftover bread and served up with fresh tomatoes, onions and vinegar. This one is special because it’s my own grandma’s recipe but I’ve added my own twist and presentation- hope you enjoy.”
He also recommended a selection of Mediterranean cold starters such as the Arabic mutabbal (happens to be a long-time favorite) and hummus along with eggplant caponata- a Sicilian specialty that I’d never tried before. The chef also offered a serving of fried calamari with a dip- which I singlehandedly (and gladly) took down, as my companion was on a non-fried food trip. The Sicilian capponata, however, took the top spot. I don’t think eggplant has EVER tasted this good in any form, across any cuisine. It would be criminal skip this dish, while at The Boardwalk.
While that was quite a spread for a first course, we were surprising feeling super light- no heavy feeling after a course of Chinese (hello cornflour) or Indian cuisines (god save the butter!). The secret behind this ‘lightness’ of Mediterranean cuisine is fresh ingredients that are considered simple, ‘humbe’ and inexpensive. This is why it’s also counted as one of the world’s healthiest recipes to eat – easy on the heart and the weight.
Next up was the main course- an oven fresh calzone with a generous spattering of parmesan – okay this one was fattening as hell, but when anything looks or tastes that good, just has to be devoured (and it was polished off within 5 minutes flat). The oven fresh bread, baked from scratch in the Boardwalk pizzeria made a world of a difference to the calzone- as opposed to other restaurants which tend to use ready-made dough for their pizzas. The stuffing was a deeply savory turkey ham, with mushrooms and fresh tomato- enough said!
And finally the signature main course arrived – A grilled Seabass in Piquant seasoning- straight out of their live seafood display and you, as a guest can choose the weight and type of fish to be prepared. The dish took its time to come, but once it arrived, it was clear why. Deeply marinated, the fish was mildly spicy and the flavor ran deep in every bit – another no-to-be missed delicacy at The Boardwalk.To clean the palate, we dug into some sorbet for dessert and topped it off with coffee. The orange sorbet was especially good.
Overall, The Boardwalk boasts great ambiance and service but the food is simply exceptional. At approximately AED 400 for the three course meal and mocktails for two, it’s needless to say it summed up to be immense value for money and an unforgettable epicurean delight.