Last month the largest shopping mall in the world got a little bigger, introducing a beautifully designed addition of retail, walking areas, lounges, glass roof with the famous Burj Khalifa peeping through, well-fitted curiosity objects and restaurants facing the Dubai fountain (another must-see). During my recent stroll between shops I discovered the gem of the hidden gems, Cova.A landmark on its own, Cova first appeared in Milan at the beginning of 19thcentury; soon transforming into a place to see and be seen. With irresistible aromas of freshly baked pastry mixed with intense espresso, Cova immediately won hearts and minds. While many went in in expectation of exceptional delicacies, others fell in love with Cova’s elegant design accented by a bit of a sparkle from their crystal chandeliers and decorative glass. Forced to relocate following the WWII, Cova sustained the ambiance of aristocratic luxury and delicious recipes being once again the destination for a stylish dining experience. No wonder Downtown Fashion Avenue in the trendiest shopping district was selected for Dubai’s flagship.Designed to resemble the original location, with prevalent classic oak furniture adorned with branded dark blue and gold, Cova Dubai is so Milanese. As I walked through the restaurant (my tongue refuses to call Cova a café), a feeling of glorious heritage kicked in, adding a rare emotion: “Look, this place has a past” as opposed to the usual “shine bright like a diamond” local interiors.
While I debated with the rising sun if the weather would permit us to sit outdoors, my waiter gently placed a well-printed menu of the closest to the window table and gently pushed a chair out for me. If only all decisions were that easy!The lunch rush was ending and I witnessed a transformation from super buzzy to stylishly reserved. Only a few were leaving empty handed, many opted to carry a little box of Cova’s chocolates or delicate looking cakes. I turned my head to the menu hoping for a serving of creamy burrata. My habit of reviewing online menus prior to a visit always pays off.
Once settled in a very comfortable chair, probably one of the best restaurant chairs in Dubai, I suddenly felt very hungry; a result of watching the tables around me. A few sips of sparkling water helped and I occupied my mind with the upcoming order. The burrata was accompanied by beautifully sliced veggies and left me happy. It was sweet, creamy and as delicious as I imagined it to be. My penne in pink sauce, sprinkled with freshly grated Parmesan was excellent in its simplicity. The veal Milanese, coated in crunchy bits, was very tender and accompanied by a side dish of finely chopped ratatouille a la Provençale.
What followed was a trip to the terrace and a cup of coffee in a special Cova cup paired with the best tiramisu in the city. Come and try for yourself!