"My cooking follows a gourmet style," chef Francesco Calo, founder of Via Toledo recently told The National.
Fittingly, the Dubai restaurant, which opened in June after the original in Vienna, Austria, won legions of fans, offers a menu that epitomises Calo's penchant for exotic ingredients.
Case in point: the Pizza Magnatum, which launched this month at the spot in Address Beach Resort Dubai. Priced at a staggering Dh2,900, the pie is topped with a generous helping of white Alba truffles — the so-called diamonds of the culinary world. Just a few shavings of this prized, seasonal ingredient can elevate the humblest of dishes to the realm of fine dining ... and possibly set you back by a few hundred dirhams, or thousands, as is the case at Via Toledo.
If it makes you feel better, chefs and restaurants, too, spend a veritable fortune acquiring white truffles, with Alba in Italy hosting an annual truffle fair each year. In 2020, a 900-gram truffle sold for $118,100, while The Gaillard restaurant at the Address Downtown in Dubai picked up a 750g specimen that same year for Dh125,000 ($34,000).
Chef Calo sourced the truffles for Via Toledo this year from Dubai's so-called "Truffle Man" Massimo Vidoni, who also supplied the restaurant with some of the finest caviar in the world.
"Truffles cannot be cultivated. They are truly a gift of Mother Earth, which can only grow naturally. And, there are special techniques to train the dogs who hunt for them — akin to police dog training," says Vidoni, the founder of Italtouch.
If you're unconvinced about spending thousands on a pizza, consider some of the other options on the Via Toledo menu. The award-winning restaurant has made a name for itself for its niche Neapolitan-style pizzeria elevated to lofty proportions, with toppings such as Beluga caviar, bluefin tuna tartare, exotic cheeses and even fried seaweed.
The trick also lies in chef Calo’s perfected dough, aptly named intensa. This, he says, is so well developed and executed that it is “senza morso”, meaning it doesn’t really require the effort of biting.
Some tried-and-tested favourites are: marinara doppio crunch (Dh120) with twice-cooked dough, and topped with fresh San Marzano tomato sauce, semi-dried yellow tomatoes, mountain oregano, capers and a basil emulsion; I collori dell’orto (Dh150), a vegetarian pizza topped with creams of courgettes, aubergine, peppers, pumpkin and friarielli, a leafy green staple of Neapolitan cuisine, plus fior di latte and pecorino cheeses; and alga di mare, with fior di latte cheese, bluefin tuna tartare, stracciatella and fried seaweed.
Via Toledo is located at Address Beach Resort Dubai, JBR, and is open from noon to 2am; firstname.lastname@example.org
Scroll through the gallery below to see other dishes on the Via Toledo menu