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Wed 6 Feb 2008 04:00 AM

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Segreto, perfecto

If Italian fine dining is what tantalises your tastebuds, Dubai's Segreto is the perfect place to indulge.

If Italian fine dining is what tantalises your tastebuds, Dubai's Segreto is the perfect place to indulge.

It's hard to describe any restaurant at Dubai's Madinat Jumeirah as being "off the beaten track" - but thanks to its clever design and location off the main tourist drag, Segreto is something of a hidden gem.

The large outdoor bar area alone makes this a great nightspot. Sophisticated furnishings and the more secluded location make this a more exclusive al fresco drinking spot than the more crowded bars along the Madinat promenade.

Segreto is not a cheap place to eat out. Prices range from AED75 for a starter and around AED100 for a main course.

But what you get for your money is very different to the identikit pasta and pizza dishes that are omnipresent in other cheaper Italian eateries.

You won't find steaming bowls of pasta or cheese-covered pizzas. But you will find sophisticated dishes - and authentic Italian cooking.

firstclass began its meal with starters of pumpkin stuffed Panzerotti with sage and Ameretti Crumble and potato gnocchi with tomato, mozzarella and roasted eggplant.

The pumpkin was perfectly complemented by the sage while the more traditional potato gnocchi starter was a delicious start to the meal.

The ambience of Segreto is more suited to a romantic meal for two than a group or family meal out.

Its low lighting and stunning décor should make it an ideal choice for anyone hoping to impress this Valentine's Day.

Diners can also choose to eat al fresco with views over the Madinat resort and walkways.

The staff are very attentive - even handing out pashminas to diners feeling Dubai's winter chill drifting in through the big open windows. For our main courses we selected Barolo braised beef short rib with truffle potato gnocchi and sautéed root vegetables and roasted Chilean sea bass with white bean ragout, grilled endive and caramelised shallots.

Not being Italian food connoisseurs these were not the types of dishes we were expecting. They arrived beautifully presented and offered a delicate blend of flavours while arriving in typically Italian hearty portions.

This didn't stop us from ordering desserts however. We finished off in true Italian style with a dessert of Tiramisu with Amaretto and deliciously gooey coffee macaroons accompanied by feather light pain d'epice crisps.

firstclass was feeling particularly greedy so also ordered a selection of vintage Italian cheeses accompanied by tangy home-made jams and freshly baked breads.

We finished of course with the drink the Italians invented - coffee.

Style and good food underpin Italian culture - and Segreto combines both these elements to create a dining experience you'd expect to enjoy in Milan or Rome. Buon Appetito!

For reservations call:+971 04 366 6730

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