One of the trickiest things a high-end restaurant can do is successfully open a casual dining spin off.
Why? Two reasons really…
Positioning the casual restaurant in a way that wouldn’t cannibalize the high-end restaurant’s business, i.e. offering a more casual experience at a more casual price tag.
And second, the price tag can’t be too casual or else people will start to question the sensibility of margins at the high-end restaurant.
It’s a fine balance that I believe Sapori di Bice has hit.
Sapori di Bice, as the name indicates, is a casual restaurant from the Bice restaurant group.
Bice, once a staple in the fine dining restaurant scene in Dubai, saw an unfortunately decline from the expatriation of heavy weight talent from them to Roberto’s.
Bice seems to have faded away like red lipstick after a bowl of spaghetti Bolognese. A remanence is there, a pink shade if you will, but nothing compared to the bold red in it’s heyday.
Its Friday afternoon and a friend and I are walking around City Walk on Wasel Road, investigating the mushrooming of newly opened shops and restaurants.
Shisha, pass, more shisha for heavens sakes, pass, desserts, pass, soul-less, pass, pass and pass. And then a flutter of Italian being spoken around the corner, I pear my head over and the white space draws me in.
After working up an appetite and spending a healthy amount on a new skirt in Sauce in the Hood, comfort food is in order.
Beef Carpaccio, spaghetti bolognaise and a café gelato for dessert please.
My surprisingly cute Italian waiter (attention, cute waiter in Dubai translates into an oxymoron) responds with, “Right away Miss, the spaghetti Bolognese is not on the menu but I will ask the chef to prepare something special for you.”
Could it be, I ordered something off the menu and wasn’t greeted with a deer caught in the headlights expression from my waiter?
The result, a smile and a thank you.
My beef Carpaccio arrives with a drizzle of truffle oil and slices of mushroom, both of which I feel there is no need for.
My specially prepared spaghetti arrives, I push away the Carpaccio to make room. Swirling my fork in the pasta, I create the perfect tightly wrapped bite sprinkle some Parmesan and take it all in. El dente, well seasoned and comfortable, everything a bolognaise should be.
Extra sprinkles please I say… A café gelato, maybe one of the best flavors created by man. Velvet-ty and lovely and with each spoonful my troubles and spending woes wash away.
A casual Italian that is not in a mall or in a Hotel, how lovely… Would I make a trip to City Walk for a meal at Sapori Di Bice? I’m not sure, but if I’m shopping or walking around that area, that’s the only place I’d sit down for a bite.
The next dish to try, freshly roasted chicken.
But if we’re speaking take away, I did make my way over to Sapori Di Bice just to pick up a couple of scoops of café gelato for a dinner date. How sweet it is.