Thank God it’s Tuesday

Thank God it’s Tuesday

Le Classique at Dubai’s Emirates Golf Club has a ‘Gourmet Tuesday’ every week. It’s quite a classic

By Sushmita Bose (editor, Wknd)

Published: Fri 27 Feb 2015, 2:09 PM

Last updated: Fri 26 Jun 2015, 12:26 AM

I am not a golf fan, so I really don’t know what the fuss is all about; the only time I am remotely interested in links and tee offs — by proxy — is when Ray and Debra fight because Ray is playing too much golf (and giving Debra the bypass) in Everyone Loves Raymond. My dinner companion, however, is a golf fiend; he recently played a few rounds in Pebble Beach, California, and couldn’t stop talking about it; he also plays golf all over town — Dubai — including snatches at the Emirates Golf Club. But, he tells me, he’s never eaten at Le Classique. This lovely French restaurant is housed in the clubhouse — set amid the beautiful golfing greens — and partly al fresco. And no, you don’t have to be a club member to avail of the French flair that’s served up with finishing-school etiquette.

If you are lucky enough to get a table outside, while the weather is still gorgeous (at least in the evenings), you sit on an overhang to the links that, at night, are flush with floodlights. It’s pretty and romantic… and you wish the Eiffel Tower was somewhere in your line of vision.

The “seriously good” cold starters’ spread is a meal by itself. Beet tartare, duck quinoa, oysters (with mignonette sauce — yummy!), tuna carpaccio, assorted nigiri and maki, salmon rolls and so on. But if I had to choose a few bests from the seriously good, I’d go for the prawns — that are fresh, flavourful and cooked with a dash of chilli-ginger — and the vegetarian nicoise salad. Oh, and the cherry tomatoes with olive oil, garlic and pesto. Elemental but delicious. So reminds me of The 100-Foot Journey, where the lure of rustic, simple French flavours brings our hero back home. 

For the set menu, the portions are small, very French, but you can have as many helpings as you fancy. C’est la vie. Both me and my friend are already feeling full after several gluttonous pit stops at the starters’ long table so we decide to give the aerated potato mash with truffle cream and beef juice, and corn veloute a miss and pitch for the French onion soup. It’s utterly magnifique, the humble onion acquiring a very fine zest for life. As an aside, what is interesting is that I drink the soup with a smallish spoon, not a conventional soupspoon. It feels very petite. And posh.

Then, I try the red mullet black risotto with carrot and &Cajun nuts: it’s somewhat bland, and the mullet — unlike tuna or salmon — doesn’t lend any particular flavour. Next up is the scallop with cauliflower puree, which is tender and far more articulate in its taste. By now, I realise I’ve had my fill.

My friend had earlier insisted that we keep some space for the sweetness. “You know, this is a French restaurant, desserts are bound to be brilliant.” They are. It’s a smorgasbord once again: there are éclairs, chocolate cakes with berries strewn all across, cheesecakes, tarts, an assembly line of soufflé and mousses and what have you. But the showstopper — the piece de resistance, as the French would say — is the crêpe Suzette, flambéed with orange juice and wisps of citrus peel. It’s so fabulous that I even ask the girl tossing up the magic how she makes it. “It’s a secret recipe,” she blushes.

Some full-bodied espresso later, we are done with dinner. As we walk past the links to the parking lot, my friend tees off, “Now, if only you’d played golf, you could have dined at Le Classique ever so often.”

“Have you read The Murder on the Links?” I ask.

(This menu is served between 7pm-10.30pm, on Tuesdays)

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