Haute Eat: Yas Viceroy’s Amici

Set within minimalist and simplistic decor on the ground floor of the Yas Viceroy Hotel, Amici offers a modern taste of traditional Italian fare. As soon as my guest and I entered the venue, we were greeted by the restaurant’s jovial manager, Giuseppe Bonasia. In typical Italian style, he warmly welcomed us and led us to our table outside on the terrace.

Large chunks of parmesan cheese and a delicious variety of fresh breads coupled with olive oil and aceto balsamico were soon brought to our table. The weather this time of year in the UAE is heavenly, spring-like and serene and perfect for relishing in long dinners outside. That’s exactly what Amici afforded us on this evening. Giuseppe came out again to chit chat a bit and tell us about the menu and then introduced our friendly sommelier who spoke to us about the different wines available which would compliment our meal.

We opted for a few starters – Burrata Pugliese with Millefoglie di Melanzane, Burrata cheese and eggplant parmigiani with tomato sauce, a dish which was at once rich and savory, the creamy burrata coupled nicely with the savory texture of the melanzane; Insalata di Mare con Verdurine e Citronette, mixed seafood salad with lemon dressing – while refreshing and tasty, the dish wasn’t something I hadn’t tried before and my guest and I were under the impression that the fish arrangements were a bit too rubbery for our preferences, and lastly, we tried the Capesante agli Agrumi e Maionese allo Zaferano, delicious pan-seared scallops with orange and lemon segments on saffron mayonnaise – an immediate hit and one which certainly had our taste buds desiring for more. We also enjoyed a light and rustic Insalata Mista con Carciofi Grigliati e Crostone al Basilico, a mesclun salad with grilled artichokes, carrots, cucumber, cherry tomatoes and fennel-basil croutons.

For the main course, I opted for a Risotto All’Aragosta, Pesto di Rucolae Salsa Al Parmigiano, lobster risotto sauteed in parmesan sauce with wild rucola pesto. Certainly encompassing a different taste to my usual seafood risotto, this dish was decadent and rich with the lobster deliciously fresh and the wild rucola pesto a lovely and flavorful additive. My guest, on the other hand, chose the Risotto ai Frutti di Mare featuring risotto sauteed in fresh tomato, mussels, baby squid, shrimps and lobster sauce. The fish was fragrant, savory and nice and moist while the risotto was very saporito or “tasteful” as one would say in Italian – just how I like it.

Pleasantly satisfied, we were prompted to head on to the dessert and selected the Triligia di Pannacotta with three flavors of pannacotta: orange blossom, Arabica coffee and red berry and acacia honey to share. We were now complete.

Giuseppe came back out again with his warm smile and cordially asked how the food was. Amici was pleasant, serene and the offerings  were decent renditions of typical Italian fare that one would expect to receive at local trattoria, expect with a contemporary twist which is certainly in-line with the vision of the Yas Viceroy.

Amici, Yas Viceroy, +971 26560600.