Carluccio's offers bustling Italian atmosphere in Dubai Marina Mall

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By Emily Shardlow  www.thenational.ae

Before I start, let’s be clear: I am well aware that Carluccio’s is a chain restaurant with international outposts. A meal at its Dubai Marina Mall spot was never likely to offer the last word in authentic Italian food – and nor would I expect it to.

Carluccios restaurant in Dubai Marina mall. Duncan Chard for the National *** Local Caption *** DC0219-Carluccios-0015.jpg
Carluccios restaurant in Dubai Marina mall. Duncan Chard for the National *** Local Caption *** DC0219-Carluccios-0015.jpg

However, if the number of covers that it does is anything to go by, it had to be doing something right (or so I thought). Every weekend its outdoor terrace is full to the brim with customers and yet, last Saturday afternoon, I left there feeling disappointed with the service, cooking and general attitude.

Unlike countless other Italian restaurants, bread is not delivered to the table as standard. Should you fancy nibbling on something while you wait for your starters to arrive, you’ll have to pay Dh16 for the “savoury bread tin”. This would be justified if the bread tin came piled high with a generous selection of gorgeous, warm, freshly baked bread.

Not so. If you happen to glance towards the waiter’s station when walking through the restaurant, you’ll spot at least six pre-filled (but not particularly full) bread baskets. How long they’ve been sitting there is anyone’s guess – perhaps a few minutes, perhaps since service began. More info