Want delicious and healthy Italian? Head to Per Te Restaurant and Cafe

But hurry the calorie-conscious diet is only on for two more weeks

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I seem to be eating a lot of incredibly tasty Italian food at the moment, having dined at four Italian establishments in the past couple of weeks. You’d be forgiven for thinking that I must be well on my way to securing the title of Dubai’s fattest man by now, or at least a mild heart attack, but happily, no! Well not yet. A big slice of healthy help has come in the form of a delectably clever little low-calorie menu from executive chef Gladwin Anton at Per Te. 

Created to coincide with your wavering New Year resolutions, here you can get back on track and still feel like you're indulging. The healthy menu is appealing, exciting and lists every calorie, so you can choose confidently and feel guilt-free. Perfect, right?

Per Te is a converted villa located on a quiet backstreet of Jumeirah 1. The restaurant is inviting from the minute you walk in – not a hint of stuffiness, with the relaxed feel echoed by the very friendly staff.  We were seated in the light and airy conservatory area at a good old-fashioned solid oak table. Scattered around are various little stalls displaying all kinds of wonderful Italian produce available to purchase such as balsamic vinegar, pastas and olive oil to inspire your home cooking. There was also a cute little log cabin full to the brim of various chocolate goodies, including boxes of huge chocolate Cuban cigars, just to test your commitment to keeping an eye on the calories.

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For our starters I ordered the grilled asparagus rolled with smoked salmon, orange pulp and balsamic while my date went for the grilled calamari with fennel and cherry tomatoes. There was nothing to fault here; in fact they looked beautiful on black slate plates against the grain of the wooden tables. Both were great, however the calamari dish was just pipped to the post by the zing of the orange pulp complimenting the lightly smoked salmon; I would order it again in a heartbeat.

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Grilled asparagus rolled with smoked salmon

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Calamari with fennel and cherry tomatoes

For my main course I opted for the tiger prawns with broken wheat fregola and broccoli. The quality of the prawns was exceptional; they were cooked to perfection, well seasoned and extremely moreish. The fregola (Sardinian pasta similar to couscous – yep, I googled it!) was sat in a light and tasty tomato sauce, which, like a good book, I found completely unputdownable, though I could have done with a few more prawns on the plate. The poached sea bass with asparagus that my date was tucking into didn’t last too long either. However, I managed to sneak a little away from her clutches and soon discovered why, as it was pure melt-in-the-mouth goodness. It also looked stunning, presented on a beautiful tree-slice plate.

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Poached sea bass

Difficult as it is to produce an exciting dessert for the calorie conscious contingent, Per Te have done a pretty marvellous job. The rustic pear crumble made with brown rice and served with pears and gluten-free chocolate sauce was spot on. Gooey and crunchy with just the right amount of sweet, it really did feel indulgent. Just don’t make the same mistake as I did by ordering one to share!

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Rustic pearl crumble

I was pleasantly surprised at Per Te; having tried a few low-cal eateries before I usually come away hungry and disappointed. However, I can wholly recommend this restaurant - but make sure to head down there as soon as you can; the new healthy menu is only available until the 15th February. But don’t worry if you have, like me, already been consumed by your penchant for puddings or have shamefully sucked down a few secret burgers this side of the commitment turnpike; you can continue with your wicked ways and order fantastic wood-fired pizzas, risotto, pasta and delicious deserts from Per Te’s established classic menu all year round. Enjoy.

Written By

Phil Seaton