Approaching Bistrot Bagatelle in its tucked away location in the Fairmont on Sheikh Zayed Road, we are not quite prepared for what lies behind the unassuming large white French apartment style double doors.
As the doors are swung open, we catch our first glimpse of what could be described as an Aladdin’s cave of sorts: French bistrot meets prohibition style speak-easy where the atmosphere is already gloriously a-buzz at just past 9 pm.
The Luxe Diary is at Bagatelle this evening to enjoy the its ever popular signature French night, ‘Le mardi c’est permis’ – or ‘Tuesday nights – anything goes’.
We must confess that the charm of the French apartment style layout is a real hit with its big, beautiful and sometimes bold coloured art contrasting perfectly with the white starched table cloths so typical of French traditional bistrot dining.
The dining area extends well beyond the bar, a bar already milling with elegant patrons smartly perched sipping their Frenchie cocktails with flair. But despite the size of the room, it feels cosy, warm and chic.
The restaurant’s ‘Frenchness’ is refreshing and very authentic. All of the waiters and staff we meet and talk to all sell the beautiful menu to us in fluent French and with an excellent knowledge and understanding of the dishes, their recipes and origins.
Berets, red neckerchiefs and Breton stripes set the tone among the staff. Suprisingly, it is everything but kitsch as the look is carried off with style and aplomb. Old school Vanessa Paradis, Johnny Hallyday and other great French artists’ hits sound out and the wait staff cannot help sashaying elegantly through the tables – chiming in with the well-known refrains. The atmosphere is contagious!
We start with Bagatelle’s take on the Salade Landaise – one of the Luxe Diary’s favourite salads. The frisée salad is sharp and and tangy, the confit duck thinly sliced which adds a light saltiness – but it is the genius addition of the egg Mimosa and caviar which really steals the show!
We enjoy the delicious Tartare de Thon but are totally bowled over by the Crudo de Bar à la truffe noire which must be one of the finest ceviche style entrées we have had the pleasure of tasting. A light touch, the truffle oil really lifts this dish which is complemented by the subtlest touch of raisin – which we are surprised to learn is included in the recipe.
For mains we can certainly recommend the pan-seared sea bass with its Barigoule Sauce and fondant leeks and pickled vegetables. On The Luxe Diary’s list is also the filet mignon, a perfectly pan-seared tenderloin with raclette mashed potatoes and a Bordelaise sauce.
We round off the meal with the famous Bagatelle Mousse aux Chocolats, an incredible chocolate mouse with caramel cream and crunchy peanut butter. We also try the salted caramel profiteroles with chocolate sauce – a chocolate lovers dream!
The French tricolore macaroons served to compliment dessert are a perfect and quite cute touch.
As we’re leaving, the slightly disco atmosphere of French bonhomie is really ramping up. Approaching midnight, we have to tear ourselves away, reluctant to leave the party but we know we will be back to celebrate again soon!
Bistrot Bagatelle is situated on the 1st Floor of The Fairmont Hotel, Sheikh Zayed Road and is open from 20.00 till late.
Reservations & Information:
Please call +971 4 354 5035 or email [email protected]
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