La Residence, tucked away at Raffles Dubai, opened in 2015 and quickly garnered plenty of attention – not least because its menu was dreamt up by Michelin-starred chef Frederic Vardon.
If you want to visit a place with a 1920s-jazz vibe, then this restaurant is perfect. An elegant bar is the focus of the space, placed right in the middle, separating the lounge and restaurant and allowing a respite if you are a restaurant-goer and want to be away from the loud noise. Rows of low-hanging chandeliers gives the space a five-star feel and transports you back to classic France.
Tucked away in the corner is a small stage that has a grand piano that is played most nights, accompanied by a singer, singing popular songs but with a blues twist. There is also a DJ booth for use on certain nights when the tempo is expected to pick up – ladies’ night, for example.
With the distinctly French theme, the menu offers a selection of French favourites such as landes duck foie gras, accompanied by two slices of toasted, country-style bread. The smooth pâté’s buttery flavour is robust enough to match the fig jam, making it a tasty, traditional combination.
For mains, the menu incorporates English flavours with traditional French dishes – for example, the veal, macaroni cheese and vegetable stew. Unfortunately, by default, the veal is served medium – slightly over-cooked for a meat so delicate. And the vegetable stew is relatively unimaginative, sticking to carrots, parsnips, and little else. The mac and cheese saves the dish with its runny cheese sauce and just the right amount of oven-cooked crunch. Additional spices bring what is a traditionally boring dish to life.
Another highlight on the menu is the beef tartare. The generous portion of the hand-cut beef is accompanied by cooked egg and capers. It must be said that, with very little sauce to accompany all the blended ingredients, the overall meal is a little dry. But again, the side dish saved the meal – thick, chunky and crispy potato chips served perfectly, crispy on the outside and light and fluffy on the inside.
For dessert, opt for the French brioche toast with salted caramel. It’s a hot, spongy and juicy cacophony of well-known sweet flavours, with the brioche topped with a drizzle of caramel and ice-cream.
Three courses will set you back around AED 300. And while that’s a little expensive, the menu at La Residence offers visitors a deep dive into fine French cuisine dreamed up by a Michelin-starred chef. For the bragging rights alone, that makes it worth a visit.
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