A visit from HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, is enough of a feat to send any restaurant’s booking lines into a frenzy. On the day we visit, less than a week after his royal seal of approval, Cipriani Dolci has queues to get in. Far from a late-night lounge with a bouncer on the door, the hosts work tirelessly to get everyone sat in a jiffy. While all the tables outside are taken, we were happy to be sat inside and people-watch from one end of the room.

Like the other outposts (at Dubai Mall, Mall of the Emirates and Marina Mall Abu Dhabi), this Cipriani Dolci has a distinct yacht-style design, with plush white and blue furniture and mahogany accents. As the first standalone venue in the UAE, the brand was able to take this concept one step further with portside ‘windows’ (LED screens mimicking ocean waves) and an elegant bookcase displaying topics of everything from Chanel and sailing to the aforementioned Dubai ruler.

Cipriani Dolci offers a Venetian menu, inspired by the charm of Harry’s Bar – a 93-year-old institution which also belongs to the Cipriani group. It’s light and concise with breakfast dishes until 3pm and lunch from 11:30am. The biggest hit for us was the turkey ham and cheese croissant. I’d even be so bold as to say it was the best croissant I’ve had in Dubai. Warm, light and flaky, without a hint of dryness, I couldn’t imagine a fresher pastry. The ham was flavourful and wafer-thin, and although my French friend informs me that lettuce shouldn’t be in a croissant, I thought it added a welcome texture. Top marks must also go to the homemade spinach and ricotta ravioli with butter and sage. Ravioli portion sizes can sometimes go amiss but this plate of perfection was generous and utterly satisfying, especially when drizzled in a good quality olive oil.

No visit to Cipriani is complete without trying their namesake Bellini. Of course, this venue is dry so I settle for the mocktail version which is just as tongue-tingling and delicious, although I would’ve preferred if it was still served in a traditional flute.

This new edition of Cipriani Dolci feels more elevated and conceptual, where guests will come with intention than its mall-centric counterparts. Only time will tell if it can continue its post-royal visit hype but for now it certainly feels like the spot of the moment.