You may remember that recently we brought you a chat with Ducati MotoGP ace Nicky Hayden. “Preposterous,” I heard some of you cry. “How on earth did crankandpiston manage to wangle time with a former World Champion mid-season? A sneaky phone call? Trick photography?”
Actually no. Nicky was in fact the guest of honour at the recent opening of Ducati’s first café in the UAE. Now café openings aren’t exactly crankandpiston’s cup of tea, but we figured an invite to such a grand occasion guaranteed a fair slice of motorsport paraphernalia alongside the gamberi e pancetta. And so it was that we made our way to Dubai Mall for crankandpiston’s first-ever restaurant review.
Let’s start with décor. Like the three already established Ducati Caffes (yep, two fs) the newly opened Dubai example wouldn’t be complete without copious nods to the Italian marque and its racing heritage. On the mostly red, white and black walls – give or take an Italian flag or two – were a number of ‘Ducati Art’ pieces (the subject of which you probably don’t need many clues to guess) whilst vignettes detailing Ducati’s 86-year history were being played on a loop through the LCD screens behind the main deli counter.
“Sounds good. What about ambience?” If conversing with friends and family around the ice counter wasn’t enough on the night after the ribbon cutting, background music courtesy of a resident DJ kept the Caffe in noticeably enthusiastic spirits, even if passing by one of the enormous at-ear-level speakers could intermittently knock a person off their feet. A live saxophone serenade usually made up for that.
Given that the new Ducati restaurant/coffee bar/lounge is also housed within the largest shopping mall in the world, it’s hardly surprising that manufacturer merchandise is on sale on-site. And if you’re the kind of person who can’t enjoy their meal/cappuccino without some visual stimuli, the wall-mounted Ducati superbike and plinth-adorning racing example should keep your eyes trained nicely.
“I’m impressed. Maybe I’ll head there tonight. Wait, hang on, what’s the food like?”
…Ah. Yes, knew I’d forgotten something…