Walking into the immaculate Dai Forni is like walking into a pristine oasis. Assisted by the restaurant’s breathtaking view of the entirety of Kuwait city by day, with large windows accessing the restaurant’s decadent terrace, the room’s entrance is already flooded with light and embodies a fresh dining feel. The lush greenery growing from the sides of the walls offers an avant-garde modernity to the whole look, polishing it off with an appetite whetting ambiance of extreme luxury. Right off the bat, based on such descriptions igniting a sense of poetry in one’s mind, we know that Dai Forni isn’t just another Italian restaurant.
Forget about the fact that it’s situated in the upscale Four Seasons Hotel Kuwait at Burj Alshaya, a hotel world-renowned for its high standard of hospitality. We can even put aside for a minute that everything about the hotel from its décor to its fine touches of service exudes opulence. Dai Forni, located on the 21st floor of the tall tower, reaps an elegance all on its own, while offering up a menu of fine-dining delicacies curated by the talented Executive Chef Sebastiano Spriveri and his team to cater to the comforts and tastes of Kuwait’s palate.
“Coming from the southern region of Italy and having lived in Milano for 25 years, my influences obviously will always stay true to the traditional sense of Italian cooking. However, the most important factor when creating food is to take into account the tastes of the locals. At Dai Forni, all of our fresh ingredients transported directly from Italian sources are crafted to the likes of the Kuwaiti customer, presenting them with an unforgettable meal that has a special touch.”
As is customary in Dai Forni, we munched on the delicious homemade bread provided at the table, accompanied with Italian olive oil and a drop of thick, sweet balsamic vinegar. As recommended by Chef himself, I indulged in the tanginess of the aromatic sundried tomato focaccia which delivered a sweetness in fragrance as well as taste – coupled with the olive oil, it was in short, euphoric.
Our first courses arrive, and we are automatically impressed with presentation. Calamari, in a form that’s foreign to me, was presented in a poached fashion. Piles of squid curled atop one another like a mountain, seasoned with hazelnuts for crunch and topped with herbs and whimsically laid French green beans for a dramatic finish. Infused with lemon confit, this dish was impressively refreshing – unlike the expected breaded and deep-fried alternative most are accustomed to.
The Carpaccio di Manzo Kobe was outstanding. Beautifully marbled, thin slices of Kobe beef crusted with sea salt flakes, topped with creamy dollops of Mascarpone cheese and smeared with truffle paste, presented on a place with delicate wedges of crumbly parmesan, just begging to be paired with the table’s fresh bread. This dish seemed never-ending, because its portion, without being ostentatious, was quite generous. Each time you’d manage to pick up a piece of expertly cured beef, another would appear below. This, was definitely a treat for myself and my dining counterparts.
When it came time to sample the Artisanal Buffalo Mozzarella, my companions and I sang songs of high praise. Though Creamy Burrata would have been a more popular choice, it was not an option due to chef’s strict restrictions of the unpasteurized cheese being subpar to his standard during our visit. We opted, instead, for the cheese’s appetizing cousin, and we were ever so pleased with our choice. The mozzarella was presented to us in its true form, playfully sitting atop wedges of fresh tomato with basil playfully strewn across the plate. Without gimmick or unneeded accessory, it was perfect as is, and difficult to abandon.
We had to abandon our generous appetizers eventually, however, in favor of the main courses Chef had prepared for us. But when we took our first bites of the Risotto Carnaroli porcini mushrooms, we were not sorry. A medley of flavors explode onto the palate with even the smallest serving of this risotto, igniting a mixture of emotions ranging from wonder, to amazement, to extreme satisfaction. A high recommendation for sharing, a small portion of this goes a long way.
But none could compare to what was arguably the best lasagna any of us had ever had in our entire lives. Made as classically as you’d imagine any other homemade lasagna to be, it was served home-style in its cast-iron pan to retain its heat and freshness. It appeared to look standard, with possibly a little more delicateness to its build, but as the waiter portioned the pieces to suit our four diners and drizzled “extra béchamel” on top, our eyebrows raised with interest. Needless to say, the first, second, third and seventh bites were absolutely magical. The béchamel, soft, fluffy and airy added a perfect creaminess to this already comforting dish. All in all, it was a crowd pleaser, delivering a slightly sweet taste mixed with decadence and hints of cheese between an obviously homemade pile of tender lasagna sheets.
The pizza, however, was the pièce de resistance. Pizza Fritta is not your ordinary run-of-the-mill pizza, appearing in spherical form. We expected, after the dough had been fried, topped with spicy Arrabiata sauce, basil and parmesan shavings, that we would find cheese exploding out of the compartmentalized pie. Shockingly, however, the only cheese to expect in this savory dish is what was freshly grated at your table by your waiter. Its interior was instead filled with a tasteful amount of sauce, and possibly the best basilica pesto to have ever graced my taste buds. A delicious dish to share, its most prominent taste would have to be the homemade freshness of Chef’s special dough used to make his ranges of pizzas, breads and focaccia.
Between all the bread, the truffle-kissed carpaccio, the cheeses and that gorgeous lasagna, we were too stuffed to eat another bite. Therefore, we had to politely decline the opportunity to indulge in a sweet ending. However, we didn’t say no to authentic Italian coffee! Grinded and prepared freshly by Dai Forni’s expert baristas, it was the perfect, soul-warming way to end our opulent meal.
Dai Forni is located in the Four Seasons Hotel Kuwait at Burj Alshaya. Call 2200 6000 for reservations. Follow them on Instagram and Twitter @fskuwait, and Facebook: FourSeasonsHotelKuwait for more information. Photography by Muneera Alkhulaifi, @I9ora on Instagram.