Le Cirque: A blend of French flair and NYC sophistication

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Le Cirque: A blend of French flair and NYC sophistication

Sushmita Bose enjoys the fine food and the cosmopolitanism


Sushmita Bose

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Published: Thu 13 Dec 2018, 11:00 PM

Last updated: Fri 14 Dec 2018, 1:00 AM

Le Cirque in New York was famously known for having leapfrogged the careers of chefs such as Daniel Boulud. The interiors - built around the circus theme (la cirque in French translates to 'the circus' in English) - were larger than life, much like its committed clientele: Andy Warhol, the Reagans, Jackie Onassis, Henry Kissinger, Donald Trump and so on. The Dubai chapter of the iconic restaurant is way more genteel... Discreet splashes of colour on a lot of white. There's a Mediterranean feel to it, interspersed with upscale Big Apple vibes. The French food has Italian twists - so it's basically fine dining with a touch of rusticity... best combo on a gentle pre-winter evening in the sand pit!
Given the great weather, my dining partner and I opt to sit in the al fresco section. The first thing I notice is how convenient the menu is: it's thoughtfully divvied up into sections such as Starters, Pasta & Risotto, To Share, Meat, Seafood, Sides and Desserts. There are not many items - it's a select menu - and the prices are uniform for items in every section - which immediately flatlines cost considerations... Thumbs up rightaway.
The food and service are both excellent. My only quibble was with the French fries, which I thought were a bit below par - but I'd still give a 5/5 rating for Taste (see below) because the general standard is super - even for something as basic as Heirloom Tomatoes (with arugula gorgonzola). Le Cirque takes you on a gourmet, gastronomical show without any circus-like interruptions.
The Spinach and Ricotta Gnudi (with summer truffle, crème fraiche and walnuts) was perhaps the standout dish. Giving it a close run was the Chocolate Fondant (with a pat of coconut sorbet). Overall, quality is very high - classy yet wholesome.

The inside seating area is elegantly sophisticated, very urbane chic, lots of whites, dim lights. I liked how varied the table seating numbers were! The outside area is much more informal, and has stunning views of the night sky and the DIFC skyline.

Our server Manjli was a delight to interact with: attentive, educative and with a sense of humour. She told us stories of how she recreates the Sugar Snap Salad when she goes home to India. All restaurant staffers greet you, and bid you good night - nice touch that!

Lovely crockery, and a very Med way of styling food. There were no flourishes, and the garnishes were done with clever implants of ingredients used. The food looked welcoming and delicious, not spectacular. The portions, I thought, were quite 'American'.

Really good. The starters and pastas/risottos are good for two, and are priced uniformly at Dh80 and Dh100 respectively. Seafood and meat items are for Dh160. Desserts for Dh50 are quite a steal - if the Chocolate Fondant was anything to go by.

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