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Le Fabuleux

Fine French bistro meets rustic, simple, yet profoundly beautiful plating of dishes at La Serre in Downtown Dubai

By Kari Heron

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Published: Fri 19 Sep 2014, 3:30 PM

Last updated: Tue 7 Apr 2015, 10:52 PM

As much as Dubai is bursting at the seams with satellite restaurants from so called “celebrity chefs”, and franchises of all dining ranges, there have been very few dining experiences that have made indelible impressions on my palate and my soul. My dining experience at La Serre was certainly one of them.

A sophisticated yet fuss free double-decker dining hall perched on the corner of the Vida hotel in Downtown Dubai, this all-white rest-aurant presents a modern, uncomplicated and uncluttered atmosphere in a city known for it’s over top ostensible décor. At La Serre, the two most critical ingredients in the dining experience shine without distraction — the food and the service. And do they shine!

While the restaurant is rather charming for romantic dinners and still perfect for the business partners you want to impress, we opted to go for lunch instead. Like people, you can tell a lot about a restaurant by how it handles the 
light of day. Luckily for us, the restaurant opens for an often busy and buzzing lunch.

We arrived with no expectation, despite the fact that Executive Chef Izu Ani comes highly revered from La Maison Petite, the award-
winning and much respected restaurant that 
he opened some years ago.

It is no small feat to make it into the list of the World’s Best Restaurants list, which he did with his team within two years of opening. To be fair, one has to strip previous perceptions because as they say in show business, you are as good as your last show. And what a show!

From walking into the restaurant with baby and buggy and being seated at the favourite table of Hollywood A-Lister Janet Jackson, the whole service was delivered with the smooth cadence of a well-trained, well-oiled machine. And I am not one to be easily impressed.

The menu, was a simple presentation of a fine French bistro with the rustic, simple, yet profoundly beau-tiful plating of dishes that are meant to be shared a la table. There is a lot of honest, fresh, passion in Chef Izu’s food. It is clear that this synergy filters down through his brigade as you can literally taste the love.

For snacking, I recommend the onion tart, which is a delectable 
marriage of sweetened caramelised onions and tomatoes on a crispy flat bread. The buffalo burrata is equally delightful, with the sweetest tomatoes and rich high quality olive oil. Of the raw dishes, we selected the sea bream tartar as we had never thought of using sea bream in a tartar. It came nestled under a bed of fresh, crisp salad and was a blend of fresh flav-ours and complementary textures.

For the hot dishes, we went with our waiter’s recommendation of the seared langoustine with gnocchi and truffle butter topped with crispy thinly shaved onion rings — bliss in the mouth. We chose to skip the enriching pasta and fish courses and went straight to the meat course, for which we selected the whole roasted corn-fed chicken with foie gras and truffle sauce. This is the iconic dish that was the pride of Le Petite Maison and we were happy to see it on the menu at La Serre. It is by far the most expensive thing on the menu, just being surpassed by the 
Japanese Tijama Black Wagyu, which is sold at a very handsome Dh750. True steak connoi-sseurs understand the value of what they are paying for and there is an alternatively cheaper larger ribeye cut of lesser grade for Dh295. But back to the chicken…

As expensive as it is, you do get what you pay for with the huge whole corn-fed rooster and 
all the expensive ingredients that transcend 
the ordinary bird into a luxurious fare. There is enough to feed up to four people. I still dream of the sticky, soft, slightly sweet and succulent roast chicken and the wonderfully caramelised foie gras and earthy shaved truffles served whole and jointed in a rustic Mauviel copper roasting pan.

We also tasted the lightly spiced duck, which was practically gone in 60 seconds. Another winner, and this one is proportioned for a 
single serving.

For vegetable sides, we enjoyed the potato gratin and the seasonal asparagus, which were cooked perfectly. The freshly baked breads from the boulangerie downstairs was an extremely special touch. For dessert, the French toast bread pudding was a delightful end to a pleasingly long and mesmerising meal.

La Serre warrants multiple trips until you have tasted every dish. The palate is still singing along to the La Serre’s orchestration of the perfect dining experience. What we liked: Exceptional food and service

  • What we didn’t like: Absolutely nothing
  • Cost for 2: Cost for 2 Dh600-700 (without drinks)
  • Contact: La Serre Bistro & Boulangerie, Vida Downtown Hotel, Dubai
  • 044286969 reservations@laserre.ae

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