There’s something about an evening dining experience at a cosmopolitan Italian spot that makes you feel social and hungry all at once. The atmosphere at Trapani Cicchetteria translates that beautifully into mouth-watering goodies and thirst quenching drinks, all while being nestled within a gorgeously designed space, situated in Kuwait’s scenic Murouj dining complex.
The darkness of the sky created a sleepy, intimate yet edgy, feel to the restaurant, with its interactive kitchen and drinks counter on full display. Customers perched themselves on the barstools and watched as the skilled drink slinger expertly crushed ice, and pounded fresh ingredients to create refreshing potions served in modern cocktail glasses. The modernity of said drinks in contrast with the classic “back-to-basics” use of fresh ingredients defines the concept perfectly. Trapani, from its cicchette (Italian style tapas) portioned food to its rustic-meets-art-deco décor, reaps a blend of traditional and modern values to create an unforgettable experience that encourages diners to share dishes and stories.
The sister restaurant to the loved Melenzane concept in Al Bida’a promised a taste of Italy with every bite, and it surely delivered. Named after the capital city of the Trapani province in Sicily, Trapani takes influences from parts of Italy as a whole, paying a little special attention to the Sicilian region, and incorporating those tastes with the palates of Kuwait’s locals to create fusion dishes to be enjoyed by all.
We were warmly welcomed with a basket of freshly baked, fluffy bread strips and a small pot of sundried tomato pesto to tease our taste buds for the goodness to come. We munched excitedly on the lightly seasoned bread, the waiter brought us three festive drinks to start our evening off with a refreshing kick. The Passionista, mixed with strawberry, passion fruit, lemon, cranberry and apple juices, was a delightful concoction that catered to those who enjoyed something sweet, yet tart to cool down with after a day of being underneath Kuwait’s harsh sun. Its frozen counterpart, Sunset, is aptly named to commemorate the famous Capri sunsets that many congregate to enjoy. Made with mango, ginger and apple juice, it provided a tart sweetness and spice. For those who love their classic 7-Up and Sprite while enjoying a meal, go for the Sour Apple: an innovative cocktail created with a crushed green apple, with a subtle twist of lime and ginger. This drink is expertly prepared, shaken in ice cubes and topped off with a dash of sprite.
Salads were a fresh way to start off our dining experience, with two beautifully presented dishes: the Quinova salad and the Gambotti salad. The Quinova offers a healthy way to dine and is loved by vegetarian customers. This hearty medley of quinoa, goat cheese and market-fresh cherry tomatoes is tossed with a light citrus dressing, promising and delivering a “summers in Sardinia” flavor. The Sicilian-inspired Gambotti served up a delightful blend of tossed lollo rosso and rocket leaves topped with grilled and glazed shrimps, shredded parmesan, crispy bread, and drizzled with white ranch and vinaigrette dressing to create a bright and indulgent salad.
Then came the antipasto. We were brought a dish of Fromaggi balls: a harmonious medley of cheese mixed with hints of jalepeno, rolled into balls and deep-fried. Of course, the only thing that’s better than deep fried cheese is deep friend risotto and quinoa with cheese, which is what we sampled next. A glorious dish named Quinoa Arancino, which the menu described as a “Siciliana-style flavor filled ball of pumpkin risotto rolled in a quinoa crust, stuffed with cheese and porcini served on a bed of creamy tomato sauce.” Dubbed “the ultimate Italian comfort food”, it was indeed comforting, and with cheese oozing out of its crevices, we couldn’t keep our forks from attacking the shared plate.
You can’t dine Italian without having a pizza to share on the table, especially at Trapani, where all pizzas are made from scratch in their authentic wood-fire oven. The built-in oven is made to allow for pizzas to slide in and out of, until the crust is bubbling. We opted for a classic Margherita and were pleased with the results. With playful hints of basil and just the right amount of cheese, this pizza is truly perfect and would please the likes of any dough-kneading Nonna.
While Trapani offers a wide range of mouth-watering pasta dishes, their risottos are showstoppers. We were presented with two best-selling dishes: the Porcini Pollo Risotto, and the Carne Risotto. Both dishes were creamy and delicious, yet offered a pleasant difference in taste. The Porcini Pollo consisted of delicately grilled chicken breast topped with a coating of creamy porcini sauce, and was cradled in a portion of saffron risotto. The blend of spices was extremely impressive, as they married together well and the strength of saffron played its part beautifully in this innovative dish. Its carnivorous counterpart, the Carne Risotto, was served as a creamy tomato risotto infused with chunks of grilled short rib beef and a touch of fried onions to garnish. Mixing sweet and succulent, it’s difficult to disregard this prize-winning dish as a best seller.
Though we were stuffed beyond our very core, we at bazaar have never been known to deny ourselves dessert, and Trapani knew just how to stimulate our sweet teeth. Serving up a plate of deliciously warm Sticky Date Pudding alongside a traditional Italian Tiramisu was just the way to end our evening on a sweet note. We swooned when we tried the Sticky Date Pudding – it was quick to become the table’s favorite. After all, who doesn’t love a tender, sponge textured date pudding cake, topped with a rich butterscotch glaze? Pair it with sneaky spoonfuls of vanilla ice cream and you’re in heaven. As for the Tiramisu, it was beautifully presented atop a bed of ladyfingers. Delightfully Italian, classic, and ideal with a nice, hot cup of strong espresso.
Visit Trapani Cicchetteria at Murouj Complex next to the Sahara Country Club off the Sixth Ring Road, Sabhan. Call them at 9887 9111, and check out their website at www.trapanirestaurant.com. Follow them on Instagram @trapanikwt.