Normally theme park food options don’t inspire the greatest of interest – or confidence. Burgers, hot dogs and soggy chips all seem to be bog standard favourites in the main it would seem, and all at extortionate prices for what tends to be less than average fare. So when I heard the famous Mamma Rossella was going to be at Ferrari World Abu Dhabi launching her newest addition to the menu at the restaurant of the same name within the theme park, I was interested to see her in action and find out more.
Mamma Rosella’s is a traditional Italian style trattoria inside Ferrari World Abu Dhabi named after Giannini Rosella, an Italian Mother and restaurateur much loved in her home town of Maranello, the home of Ferrari. Through running Ristorante Montana, Mamma Rossella has established herself as a stalwart on the Italian restaurant scene, renowned for great, home cooked traditional Italian food and along the way has also found herself in the position as friend and confidante to many celebrities within the Formula One world.
The new addition to the menu is Swiss Chard Ravioli, and so straight away Mamma Rossella got straight to mixing the pasta. Of course, she made it look easy, effortlessly mixing the ingredients together – a job which I can believe takes a lot of strength and one that she performs no less than four times a day, every day.
Once we had been treated to the professional demonstration we were offered a meal which included the Swiss Chard Ravioli as main course. As you’d expect from fresh pasta made by an expert, it was thin, delicate and light. The filling was Swiss Chard, ricotta and parmigiano reggiano which was a lovely balance of cheese and the herby flavours of the Swiss Chard and was served in a sauce of sage, butter and finishing touches of parmigiano reggiano. The dish was delicious – good Italian, home cooked and comforting food but without any of the stodge or ‘too full’ feelings that all too often ill-prepared pasta can leave you with. This dish and restaurant would not be out of place in a five star hotel and is far removed from the type of food you may have come to expect from a restaurant within a theme park.
Later on in the afternoon, there was also a kids party taking place at the restaurant and I have to say the pizza the kids were scoffing looked and smelled amazing. But it should be – both of the restaurants at Ferrari World Abu Dhabi are the only restaurants in the region that offer authentic Neapolitan pizza which is certified as such by the True Neapolitan Pizza Association (Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana).
After filling our bellies with pasta, it was time to go off and explore the rest of the theme park. I’d already visited briefly once before and had a chance to try out the fastest roller coaster in the world – the Formula Rossa, so I bypassed that one on this occasion, but you can read about it here if you missed it.
There’s quite a few people who seem to be confused about Ferrari World and who it’s for or what it is. Is it for adrenaline seekers who enjoy their thrills on fast rides or is it for people who love Ferrari’s? Well, the truth is, it’s a little bit for everyone. Whilst grown up thrill seekers will find some kicks on the two resident roller coasters, they may find themselves a little disappointed if they’re not fully aware of what to expect.
But of course there’s plenty for car enthusiasts too with vintage and historical examples of the cars throughout Ferrari’s history on display.
But don’t be fooled by the name – there is much more to Ferrari World Abu Dhabi than just this, the idea that it’s only for boys, car lovers and thrill seekers couldn’t be further from the truth – there are plenty more rides and experiences to try, and ones all the family will enjoy. My impression on taking a closer look at the park was certainly that the one thing they have done very well is to make the theme park truly accessible and entertaining for all the family – the large numbers of families visible is testament to this. There’s a range of simulators offering different experiences, some tailored for the whole family and younger kids, and some a little more high octane, as well as a host of other fun experiences for the kids to try on their own or together as a family. There’s a large playground with climbing frame and remote control cars to entertain little ones which is ideally placed to wait with younger ones while any more adventurous members of the family experience the nearby Formula Rossa.
In the Junior Grand Prix kids get to have a go in their very own scaled down models of a Ferrari F1 racer, or explore miniature Italy as you take a leisurely journey through Italian landmarks and countryside on the Bell’Italia.
And that’s not all – there’s loads more for all the family, but I won’t spoil it all for you, you’ll have to go and take a look for yourself to see what I mean. It is a great day out, and despite any preconceptions you might have, is definitely focused on being a family experience and designed to appeal to a broad audience.