Everyone loves Italian food. PERIOD. Pizza, pasta, gelato, cheese and coffee are well-loved the world over. Italian cuisine is generally characterized by its simplicity, with many dishes having only two to four main ingredients. Chefs rely heavily on the quality of the ingredients rather than on elaborate preparation.
While ingredients and dishes vary by region, many dishes that were once regional have proliferated with variations throughout the country. With culinary traditions from Rome and Athens, a cuisine developed in Sicily that some consider the first real Italian cuisine. Did you know that Arabs invaded Sicily in the 9th century, introducing spinach, almonds, and rice?
Our quest for good food led us to discover a restaurant tucked away in Shatti, Melenzané. The restaurant claims to serve reinvented Italian food, a fusion of authentic Sicilian dishes which reflect Melenzané’s original inspiration - To remain faithful to established Italian cooking traditions and techniques and using them to produce dishes that have a unique and modern twist. The food looked excellent on the menu, so we went ahead and ordered 2 appetisers, 2 mains and a dessert.
HE SAID: We started with the Formaggi Oregano Fries. A fancy version of dynamite fries. The well-cooked fries were drizzled with a creamy yet tangy sauce, pepperoni slices and cheese. We couldn’t really taste any cheese. The fries could have been crispier and cheesier. Our second appetizer was clearly the winner of the two.
SHE SAID: The Carne Arancino is a game-changer. These slow-braised short rib and cheese stuffed risotto balls were served on a bed of creamy mushroom sauce. That sauce is a killer. It elevated the dish from good to excellent. However, the Arancino could have been seasoned better.
HE SAID: After the appetisers, we were a little unsure of how our mains would be. The restaurant wowed us hereafter. We picked the Tartufo Pizza, a truffle ricotta pizza with mozzarella, provolone, and parmesan. A cheese and mushroom lover’s dream come true. Each bite of the pizza was a mix of great dough, creamy cheeses, and the umami flavour of mushroom. This was probably one of the top two pizzas we have had here in Oman. Mind blown.
SHE SAID: Mushrooms and cheese, do you see a trend here? Our taste buds were fascinated with yet another dish. The Fungi Risotto – delicate yet creamy, a dish that can be defined as perfection. Topped with beaten-thin slices of grilled chicken, this Risotto is the best I have had here.
HE SAID: With great portion sizes, we couldn’t think of attempting two desserts, however, there’s always a place for Tiramisu. A twist on the regular hints of coffee, cream, and sponge - this one was served with a caramelized crumb and served with a decadent chocolate sauce. A perfect end to a perfect meal.
SHE SAID: The Espresso Tiramisu was a drool-worthy choice! The crumb gave the dish a defined texture and character while the cream left you wanting more. The best part? It was not cloyingly sweet and did not leave you feeling nauseous.
WE SAID: This meal was a pleasure. We enjoyed the quick and efficient service as well as the ambience but wished it was a bit brighter in there. The portions are rather good, and we believe the food is value for money if you consider the quality of each dish. Their drinks are overpriced like any other gourmet fine dining. Would we go back? Yes definitely! If you crave Italian food with a heartwarming twist, then this is your next epicurean destination.
Taste of food: 4/5
Value for money: 4/5
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Disclaimer: The ORR team reviews anonymously and pays for their own meals.