Appearances can be deceptive.
I’ve seen Serafina on many Uber trips down the Mukarramah Road. It’s on one of those annoying slip
roads (’slide right’) that you usually drive past before you realise you needed it, and end up half way
to Bahrain before you can do a U-y.
From the outside, Serafina’s blue and yellow colouring can leave you guessing as to what’s inside.
However, once inside, you realise that cheesy, red white and green colour branding of many Italian
eateries is not Serafina’s style, and that they manage to achieve a delightfully comfortable, relaxed
ambience through more subtle means. The lighting is low; candles add warmth and intimacy. Table
size and spacing creates a relaxed setting, around which handsome waiters calmly glide. Music plays
discretely, and couples sit in quiet intimacy hidden amongst jolly, family groups.
The gourmet store shelves display products with the homely cosiness of an Italian farmhouse
kitchen. They even host numerous stacks of recipe books, but curiously they are all displayed with
their spines turned inwards. If there hadn’t been so many of them all around the room, I would have
got up and turn them round the right way to complete the scene.
I began to fret that these brand inconsistencies might be reflected in the food. So, we chose from
their unique dishes and gourmet specialities to be sure to get the measure of the place: selecting
from the separate antipasti burrata, and carpaccio and tartare sections, and the distinct ravioli and
risotto elements. There are impressive meat or fish secondi piatti, a whole page dedicated to pizza,
and more coffees than you can shake a stick at. But to be honest, once you’ve tried the buratta, you
will want it for each course, including desert.
There was no need for fretting at all. The food was amazing. We loved the rich flavours and colourful
presentation, and were mesmerised by some entertaining moments such as the linguine being
tossed inside an enormous parmesan beside our table.
We noticed during the evening that scarves were slipping slightly, abayas being loosened, and
flirtatious glances exchanged. The authentic Italian charm, cuisine, ambience and mocktails had
obviously done their work, proving that behind the veil of appearances can be hidden some
charming and unexpected delights. A restaurant for our times.
A Leyla wa Leyla
Makkah Al Mukarramah Branch Road, Al Mathar Ash Shamali، Umm Al Hamam Al Sharqi, Riyadh
Tel: +966 11 222 4492
Catering and events contact: Ms. Hodman Yusuf