Variegato: Luscious Italian Gelato at Al Guezeira Plaza
When it comes to ice cream and gelato, Sheikh Zayed definitely lacks options. Granted, there’s Baskin Robin’s at Americana Plaza, the recently opened Troufa’s at Arkan Plaza, and Stavolta and Frozzy Twist at Beverly Hills, but that didn’t quell our excitement around newly opened Italian gelato joint, Variegato.
Located at Al Guezira Plaza, the venue isn’t particularly inviting; plain white and empty at the time of our visit, there’s a boomerang-shaped gelato display, a fridge for cakes and randomly-placed white chairs and tables, as well as high tables overlooking Al Guezira Plaza’s stage and big-screen.
When it comes to variety, there was 16 gelato flavours to choose from and, though they seemed simple, they were still very tempting. Variegato also serves house-made popsicles, but they weren’t available at the time of our visit.
We opted for two cups filled with two scoops each (49LE); one with a scoop of Frutti di Bosco (mixed berries) and a scoop of passion fruit gelato, while the other was filled with coffee gelato and salted caramel gelato.
Like the venue, the serving cups are plain white and unbranded, and the presentation overall was just a bit flat considering ice cream and gelato are among the most visually appealing foods; but you know what they say – don’t judge a book by its cover.
Starting with the mixed berries, the gelato had a beautiful stretchy and dense texture. It was a bit too sweet for our taste, but still refreshing thanks to the intense berries flavours, while the berry seeds added to the texture. Meanwhile, the passion fruit gelato was more like a frozen sorbet/granita due to its icy and stiff texture. Again, it was too sweet, and this one really didn’t have the tart and exotic flavours of passion fruit, yet the inner kid in us enjoyed it and reminded us of the old “Lolita” we used to buy back in the day.
Moving to the, let’s say more ‘grown up’ cup, the coffee gelato also had a dense and stretchy texture, and the coffee flavour in it was incredibly bold and intense – one for coffee fans. As for the salted caramel, it was the richest and heaviest flavour we tried. It had similar flavours to a creme brûlée and caramel pudding, which worked in its favour and added plenty of depth. However, it needed more saltiness to complete the balance.
And so with the huge portions, the flawless texture and the very friendly and helpful staff, Variegato could become a worthy competitor. Yes, there’s a lack of a strong identity and a general lack of pizzazz to its presentation and appearance, the flavours alone are enough to tempt us back.