He’s the two Michelin-starred chef known for having crafted the ultimate burger – the recipe remains un-tweaked for twenty years. This signature dish, that caused consternation in dining circles for its original US $29 [approximately Dhs106] price tag, is reason enough for visiting Daniel Boulud’s Dubai just-opened outpost. And, luckily for foodies, this proper French brasserie offers up a plethora of other highlights too. Despite having forged his career in the competitive Big Apple environment where he remains revered among the culinary cognoscenti, aside from this one elevated American classic, Boulud’s menu remains firmly in classic bistro territory.
The space sets the tone; a beautiful art deco room with soaring ceilings complete with a chic glass chandelier, monochrome marble floors, and covetable leather burgundy banquettes at the edge. It skirts that fine line between feeling special yet unstuffy and relaxed. Your eye is immediately drawn to the bustling kitchen at the centre where everything – it’s not just for final flourishes – is prepared in front of you. There’s so much precision and theatricality that you feel like you have a ring-side seat at a perfectly rehearsed performance. It’s the kind of spot you’d happily take you family as the menu consists of dishes you actually want to eat, executed on point. We underestimated the serving sizes and over-ordered; although you can happily share as everything is very generous, you can equally tuck into your top pick as there is no pressure to pass around the plates.
Moreish fried artichokes, a jar of duck rillettes with charred French bread, brown butter sole and a huge portion of wagyu steak frites share the menu with a grilled sea bass, Italian burrata platter and tuna crudo with a sesame ginger punch. And, of course there is the star burger. After demolishing everything we received we decided to skip dessert… ’til we spotted an Ille Flotante on the menu. This feather-light merengue floating on a sea of rich vanilla custard is a rare find in Dubai so we succumbed and were thrilled we did.
And we couldn’t resist the lemon-accented Madeleines brought to finish off our meal with coffee. This restaurant opened during the pandemic and you can see they instantly adapted to it. Tables are spaced so there is plenty of social distancing, masked service staff – without exception excellently trained and knowledgable about the menu – dispense hand sanitiser at the start of the meal and bring individual portions of butter and accompaniments with the crusty, hot bread. All dishes are also brought with individual cutlery – unprompted – so you can share easily too. The price points are also very impressive; and coupled with portion size, you can have a really wonderful, special evening without breaking the bank.
Rillette de Canard