Circo Abu Dhabi: A Taste of the Main Event

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Circo, already a name in NYC, is one of the Tuscan-inspired sister restaurants to the landmark Le Cirque, also known as the birthplace of a dozen household names in the culinary world. It seems fitting that they chose the venerable Intercontinental Abu Dhabi as home to their newest location. To celebrate, we were invited to attend an Aperitivo evening event by Jo Brett, author of the Abu Dhabi lifestyle blog, An Expat Abroad.

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Circo’s Aperitivo are pre-booked events for groups of 20+ where food is served canapé-style (standing). What followed was a perfect taste of their menu – a few antipasti, a couple dishes of pasta, some pizza, plenty of Prosecco, and an army of desserts. They know their audience. Here are the highlights of our night.

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First out were the antipasti and I started with the Involtini di Bresaola {Goat Cheese, Ricotta and Walnut Stuffed Bresaola, Balsamic Glazed Pear, Candied Walnut, Marinated Yellow Carrot}. As you’d expect, these marry very well. Creamy mild ricotta, salty bresaola, sweet and acidic pear, and a little texture from the walnut. A happy beginning.

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Next up was the Crudo di Tonno con Agrumi {Salt Cured Red Tuna Crudo, Baby Arugula, Orange and Ruby Red Grapefruit, Shaved Fennel, Baby Radish, Kumquat Marmalade, Candy Striped Beet}. I will note that there were no beets in our presentation, but this might have been one of my favorites of the evening. Light, fresh, crispy – I could have had a whole bowl of this. I may have had more than my share of micro-plates.

 

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And then the main event (well, to me at least): the pizza! There were two varieties being served, the Pizza Toscana {Tomato, Mozzarella, Wild Mushrooms, Beef Sausage, Ricotta, Fresh Chili}, which was amazing. I had a few slices even though beef sausage is not one of my favorite toppings. The mushrooms were just as expected, earthy and savory. I was already in love.

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And then perfection: the Pizza Margherita {Blushed Cherry Tomatoes in Oregano, Baby Buffalo Mozzarella, Fresh Basil Leaves}. I will have to disclaim the blurry photo above because 1) I was trying to get an action shot (thanks, Inez!), and 2) the pizza was literally fresh out of the oven and my first hurried bite brought on tears (OF HAPPINESS…YEAH).

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And as sad as I was to see the empty pizza boards retreating to the kitchen – all is redeemed and out comes the dessert. First up, the Torta Meneghina con Gelato al Balsamico Invecchiato {Milano Style Apple and Almond Cake, Apple Compote, Aged Balsamic Gelato}. Which I found pretty good, but not remarkable – then later I noticed we didn’t get any “aged balsamic gelato” as the menu promises so I’m definitely giving it another shot at a sit-down dinner. Because, hello…balsamic gelato! Sounds amazing.

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And here is where I’m going to be skewered, over the Cannoli Siciliani {Filled with Ricotta Cream, Candied Fruit, Prosecco Truffle Sorbet}. By all standards that which cannoli are measured by, this passed. Crispy, creamy and everyone around me losing their minds and going back for seconds…but, but…I just don’t like cannoli. Any cannoli. Maybe it isn’t dessert-y enough for me – don’t ask how cream and sugared fruit stuffed into fried pastry doesn’t constitute as “dessert-y” to me, but there you have it. Oh, and it wasn’t served with the PROSECCO TRUFFLE SORBET – which sounds amazing. Can I get a bowl of just that?

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But then, something I get along with very well showed up. To be honest, I had no idea what these were, I just wanted them. Chocolate, berries, stick. All agreeable in my book. Surprisingly, this is Tiramisù {Chocolate Covered Tiramisù with Coffee and Mascarpone Cream}. Yes. Genius. Tiramisu pops that are absolutely fantastic. I don’t want tiramisu any other way now. Thanks, chef.

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And so ended our Aperitivo evening. My takeaway is that I’m definitely coming back for a full sit-down dinner where I’ll be ordering basically endless pizza and tiramisu. Which is all I really need in an Italian dinner, anyway. Right?

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So , try to squeeze out the last few evenings of decent weather we have left and get a table outside, right on the marina. Or scrounge up a group of friends for an after-work get together with some bubbly and truly fabulous food.
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And get the pizza.

«‹♦›»

Circo Abu Dhabi – Chef Luca Banfi
Intercontinental Abu Dhabi
Open 12:30PM – Midnight
Book a table online, or call +971 2 6666 888

Yasmin Jeiroudi

Editor & Admin at Moms Talk
aka, Miss Jay
Is a mom to two and wife to one. She knows a little about a lot and is a founding member of the Institute for Overanalysis Paralysis. She enjoys building IKEA furniture, following cookbooks, and taking things apart.
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