When we met Bader Al-Kulaib, creator of Vinny's restaurant and winner of the 52 Degrees' "Kuwaiti Chef" competition, the first thing we asked – after gushing about the delicious food – was "Are these your recipes?" and "Why Italian?"
He shyly replied that yes they were his own creations and he's always loved Americanized Italian food and diner-style food, so coming up with a menu for the latest addition to 52 Degrees' strip of cafés was involuntary.
We heard rave reviews about the newly opened Vinny's, so we decided that it's about time to try out the place. We asked Al-Kulaib to serve us a selection of dishes from the menu as well as a heavenly burger that wasn't on the menu.
We started off with some Homemade Potato Chips with a side of ranch-style dip; Shroom Poppers, delicious giant mushrooms with a hint of smoky flavor, layered over a crunchy sauce that we couldn't quite make out, and topped with dollops of sauce. We also enjoyed some delicious small deep fried shrimp drizzled with a spicy mayo sauce.
When you're going to have Italian food, you don't think about salads right? Not this one though. Highly recommended is the Rocca Salad with Balsamic Dressing. An amazingly tantalizing balsamic dressing makes this salad a favorite.
Next up were the pastas; the Spaghetti Bolognaise, a classic Italian dish, was full of flavor, very fresh and surprisingly light. For vegetarians, and carnivores alike, you MUST order the Penne Rosa. This dish was divine and got five stars from everyone at the table! Possibly the best "pink pasta" we've ever had. Needless to say, we emptied the bowl in minutes!
As if we weren't full enough already, we devoured slices of the White Pizza with Wagyu Bresaola. The pizza was very delicious, with the perfect crust: not too soft, not too crispy. The Wagyu bresaola gave the pizza an added punch in flavor.
Finally, we had to try one of the burgers (they’ve got a selection). We were served the Mushroom Barbeque Burger, and may we say that it was the star of the meal! An extremely flavorful, juicy patty with caramelized onions, sautéed mushrooms, a hint of barbeque sauce and a delicious mayo sauce, sandwiched between two soft buns. The burger itself was the ideal size too; not too big, not too small.
Before trying out Vinny's, we had heard a lot of buzz about a certain dessert. And after all that savory food, we needed something to satisfy our sweet tooth. And what better than with everyone's recommendation: Kinder Bread Pudding. The dessert, baked and served in a small pot, is as decadent as it sounds. If you're a fan of white chocolate – and Kinder chocolate – then this dessert is an absolute must. It's very sweet and warm and is the perfect end to an already perfect meal.
The restaurant is newly opened, so expect to see a few glitches here and there – even though we didn't experience any. But give it a chance. With fresh ingredients, flavorful food and a beautifully decorated interior, courtesy of architect Ahmed Al-Baghly, the place is certainly worth the trip.
– Alya Al-Othman