Step into Santorini at the new Villamore in the striking Emerald Palace Kempinski on the Palm. Situated in its own building overlooking the beach, Villamore truly feels like you are miles away from Dubai on a beautiful Greek Island with its stunning stone floors and blue and white hues.
Upon arrival we walked past the antipasti room (yes I did say room), through the minimalist chic restaurant and out to the candle-lit terrace overlooking the beach with awesome views of the marina. Our server quickly came over to introduce herself, offer us drinks, the menus and explained the sharing concept, with a focus on fresh seafood. Having walked past the antipasti room we couldn’t resist checking this out to begin with. We figured we could always order extra starters if we needed to. We didn’t.
The antipasti room priced at 90 AED per person has a beautiful selection of salads, cheeses, freshly sliced cold cuts, Spanish omelettes, stuffed tomatoes, etc. and is a really fun way to begin the evening. I think between us we probably tried pretty much everything on offer and were very impressed. So impressed that we clearly went too hard too soon and didn’t leave room to try any other starters. There is always next time though right?
Onto mains and we were really struggling to decide what to order. The menu isn’t huge but every dish sounded seriously tempting. In the end and with some guidance from our server we opted to try one pasta dish, one fish and one meat dish. For the pasta I was drawn to the Rigatoni Norma, which came in a tomato sauce with grilled eggplant, topped with fresh burrata and basil (85 AED). It was so simple but you could taste the freshness of the ingredients and the care that have been taken in bringing the flavours together. The lamb chops were next up and with two chops and a lovely fresh salad they are well worth trying (140 AED). The meat was well seasoned and perfectly cooked. The scarlet prawns, which I’ve never tried before, were extremely impressive. Aptly named as they are red even when raw, they were cooked in a simple garlic and lemon butter and were unreal. Priced at 275 AED for two they are very expensive compared to some of the other fresh seafood options on the menu and didn’t have as much meat as I was hoping for but were beautifully tender and juicy. As a bonus Chef Ghokhan (previously of Weslodge) sent out the Scallop Carpaccio for us to try which sadly I couldn’t due to being pregnant but the husband confirmed it was fresh and full of flavour thanks to the shaved radish, pine nuts, basil oil and lemon.
For dessert having spied the Tiramisu I couldn’t resist and have to say it was utterly divine. It was pretty large so definitely one for sharing unless you are feeling particularly gutsy (60 AED). Chef also kindly surprised us with the Milk and Strawberry B’stilla which was presented at our table and then broken up and dished out. With Mastic cream, strawberries, almonds and cinnamon it had a slight middle eastern flavour and whilst isn’t something I’d typically order it ended up rating as one of the greatest desserts I’ve encountered. Delightfully light, with great textures and flavours.
We had a superb evening at Villamore and were made so welcome by the friendly and knowledgeable staff. I cannot wait to head back for a spot of lunch or brunch in the sun; it’s such a beautiful restaurant and is just crying out for a lazy afternoon of grazing. I’m also looking forward to trying out their new rooftop bar which wasn’t open at the time we visited but looks fantastic!
For more information please visit https://www.kempinski.com/en/dubai/emerald-palace-kempinski-dubai/dining/restaurants/villamore/ or call +971 4 248 8890