Named after the Italian word for crazy, Matto describes itself as ‘playing by it’s own rules’. Tucked away in the lobby of the Oberoi hotel in Business Bay, it’s the kind of place only someone in the know would go.
We definitely suggest a dinner booking for 9pm on any night of the week, as this will offer you the ‘golden hours’ of the charming Italian eatery. At this time of the evening you will be pleasantly surprised to see an almost full restaurant in full swing. On the weekends there is a live DJ, who’s decks are set up on an old yellow Vespa – the first hint when you walk through the door of that true Italian vibe.
The decor within Matto is more of urban-Italian than traditional, with naked lights hanging from the ceiling and a random variety of decorations and kitchen utensils lining the walls, just like you’d find in your own Nonna’s kitchen. Whereas many other Italian restaurants tend to go for the traditional Venice style decor, which can all look a bit same-same, Matto is much more refreshing and lively – a venue you could walk into in any trendy Italian city today.
The bar is open and inviting; the walls lined with countless bottles and glasses to accommodate the extensive cocktail menu, and the stools are always lined with guests just popping by to have a post dinner cocktail and a catch up at the end of a long week. In a city where guests are in & out of dinners in a blink of an eye, this proves that Matto is a place to linger.
The attentive waiters will help you choose cocktails to suit you individual tastes, and have pleasure in offering ‘if you liked that – you’ll like this’ options throughout your time there, which offers the chance to try something new and stray away from the familiar.
Matto is a sociable establishment – with a large wooden table in the middle of the restaurant and another at the end, and they are purely there to join people together. Groups will be seated at each of the corners and will always end up making new friends. This is reflected in Matto’s menu, which offers a huge variety of sharing dishes to enjoy from the appetisers to the desserts.
Sacra Sangria – Zonin prosecco brut, brandy, peach liqueur, homemade peach puree, Fever-Tree Soda
Not traditionally an Italian drink, but a favourite on the menu nonetheless. Served in a large ice-filled wine glass and garnished with fresh peach, this particular sangria is light, refreshing & cooling – Imagine enjoying a glass or two in the hotter summer months here in Dubai. Our top tip is to share the joy with friends by ordering a pitcher for your pre or post-dinner tipple.
Moka Martini – Russian Standard vodka infused with coffee beans, espresso shot, white cacao cream
Served in the traditional martini glass, this cocktail could be a replacement for dessert if you don’t have a lingering sweet tooth or offer as an alternative to the traditional after dinner coffee. The white cacao creme of Matto’s own creation offers a perfectly sweet side note and that subtle ‘Moka’ taste, and would work at any point during a meal.
The menu at Matto consists of (in their own words) a ‘medley of classic Italian dishes with a side of mischief’ and the true Italians in the kitchen and in the restaurant are always around to help you with your choices.
There are many options on the menu, but we have whittled it down to our favourite few…
Manzo & Rucola Flat Bread
This thin & crispy bread is topped with beef carpaccio, tomato tapenade, rocket, cherry tomatoes and parmesan shavings, all in perfect quantities. Served on a large wooden board, this is easily a dish to share with everyone at the table. Matto definitely do not skimp on the carpaccio, serving plenty on each slice, which gives a brilliant bread to meat ratio, sometimes a point overlooked on flatbreads and pizzas.
This dish can easily be served as a main with it’s base of shallot flavoured potatoes & Taggiasca olive dressing, but it will also make for a great sharing starter for a group that doesn’t mind getting stuck in. The octopus is light and beautifully cooked, with a smooth texture and intense flavour. The aroma from the shallots and oil make this a dish for all of the senses.
My Favourite Mains
Not one to share. Not because the portion is small, but simply due to the fact that it’s too good to let any of it go. Creamy and rich with lashings of beef bacon tossed into the mix, this particular dish could be anyone’s feel good food. The spaghetti is perfectly al dente, and we would make absolutely no changes to this meal. Fortunately for us then, as the menu states that the chef’s won’t change any recipes (for the love of their Nonna’s)
Spigola In Guazzetto
This baked sea bass dish is served beautifully in a shallow ceramic bowl placed on a red and white chequered napkin before stacking it up on a wooden board to serve to table. The red of the napkin matches the bright base of Datterini tomatoes mixed with Taggiasca olives and baby potatoes, with the delicate seabass placed on top. The fish is flaky and flavourful, with the tomato base complimenting the bass rather than overpowering it. And when you’ve finished the fish, the crispy bread served on the side can be used to mop up the rest of the sauce.
Costolette D’agnello Alla Griglia
For the red meat eaters of your group, this grilled rack of lamb is a must-order! Served perfectly pink on top of a bed of pumpkin purée and mustard sauce – it will satisfy all of your tastebuds. If you have a particularly large appetite, we would suggest ordering a side of Matto’s hand cut fries or roasted potatoes alongside this dish.
The Sweet Ending
If you fancy getting physical during your dinner at Matto, then order the Matto Rock. When it is delivered to your table, you will be shocked to find a large wooden hammer delivered alongside it. You may have to bicker over who gets to break apart the chocolatey masterpiece, but when you do, you will find it’s hard shell fall away to reveal a soft chocolate mousse center. Sharing this is definitely a top tip of ours.
If it’s dinner theatre you want, dinner theatre you’ll get with the delivery of Matto’s Creme Brulee. Watching the flames rise from the top of this dessert as a waitress ‘burns’ it with a blow torch is a sight to behold! The lotus biscuit base offers a distinct flavour, topped with smooth cream and crispy caramel.
Whether for an after-work drink or a meal with friends, Matto is the perfect social destination.