Quattro: Mucho Bellissimo!
Mexican and Italian are perhaps my two favorite cuisines in the world, so when I heard about a new restaurant that offered a fun take on both, I just knew I had to try it. After stirring up a buzz in Mumbai, Quattro Ristorante opened up in Dubai just over a month ago, next to its sister restaurant Spiceklub in Mankhool.
It’s a cozy little place with a simple green sign, and a décor that reflects its duality in cuisines. One end of the restaurant has a white brick wall like you might find in a casual Italian eatery (though adding some framed black and white photographs would have really completed the look), while the other end has brightly colored wooden slats, evoking the more colorful atmosphere of a Mexican restaurant. The unifying theme is the blue and gold seating, which suits both sides well.
To start, we’re served a total of 8 dipping sauces (4 salsas and 4 Italian dips) but, oddly, no bread or tortilla chips to dip in them. The sauces are tasty, but I don’t have much use for them with the appetizers or main courses. Next come the drinks, a Kiwi Margarita, which is more like kiwi sorbet in a glass, and Eat Your Ice Tea, a concoction of crushed ice and watermelon tea (other flavors are available for both drinks). The margarita’s flavor becomes overpowering after a while, while the tea is a refreshing palate cleanser.
The first appetizer might look like shrimp cocktail as it arrives at the table, but it is in fact Chilled Melon and Feta, skewers of melon balls coated in crumbled feta and balsamic ‘caviar’. The combination of sweet and salty works really well, and it’s a good pairing with the iced tea. Quattro’s Taquitos are gluten free corn tortillas filled with beans and salsa, all topped off with a little scoop of avocado ice cream. They’re best had in one bite, allowing the various fresh flavors to harmonize on the palate. Quattro has its own take on arancini known as Risotto Palle, served with mini pipettes filled with chili oil. It’s a crunchy and creamy treat with a few memories of high school chemistry thrown in!
Things get a bit more traditional for the main courses, as we have Penne Pesto Genovese. It’s a simple, well-prepared dish. Vegetable quesadillas are another standard dish. Quattro’s version adds roasted peppers and eggplant, making for a heartier dish. Finally, there’s Spinach Riso with Vegetale Paprika, or spinach rice in creamy paprika sauce. It’s a decent enough dish, though it is a step down from the ones that preceded it.
When it comes to dessert, Quattro doesn’t do dainty portions, so make sure you bring a friend or three. There’s Hazelnut Mousse with Candied Hazelnuts and Popcorn, a decadent dish that also adds in a scoop of chocolate ice cream for extra richness. The mousse is a bit too dense, however, and not as light and fluffy as I’d expected. I also find the pop corn clashes with the flavor rather than adding to it. Thankfully, Quattro’s deconstructed Tres Leches, consisting of moist mini sponges with cream, powdered milk, vanilla ice cream and coconut shavings, is an absolute delight.
Quattro’s progressive take on Mexican and Italian cuisines provides a good representation of both and could prove to be a hidden gem for veggie lovers. The menu is very expansive (for both cuisines) and what we tried probably doesn’t even cover a tenth of it. I’ll have to make multiple trips to try a little bit of everything!
Veggie Friendly: ✔ Vegan Friendly: X
Pros: Good flavors, friendly service, relaxed atmosphere
Cons: Main courses aren’t as inventive as appetizers, dessert can be hit or miss
Price: $$ (50 - 200 AED)
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