Read our review of Couqley in JLT, a slice of French bistro paradise.
Couqley is a rustic French bistro with authentic old school Parisian flair. Outside, the exterior beckons with frosted windows printed with fabulous bistro style red letters. Inside, Couqley boasts a long zinc bar and cool looking replica bistro artefacts. The red chequered table cloths, dark wood hues and the smoke effect mirrors add to the warm bistro charm.
When it comes to the food at Couqley, you could not expect a more generous use of traditional French cuisine ingredients. You can really taste it – the garlic, butter and parsley sauce escargots we have to start are superb. The retro prawn and avocado cocktail is fresh and beautifully dressed.
For mains, we are absolutely bowled over by the steak frites and the rib-eye. The magic of the cuisson of the steak is almost puzzling. The rib-eye really melts like butter and tastes so flavoursome. The frites also have their say: perfect French fries, skinny, slightly crunchy and salted à point. They are everything you need to mop up Couqley’s house sauce – a delicious secret recipe.
Desserts are also a must. The traditional crème brulée and mousse au chocolat, with real chunks of dark rich chocolate, really hold their own.
Even the bread at Couqley deserves a special mention. It is the best French baguette we have ever tasted outside of France. No surprise there – it is shipped from France in its pre-cooked dough and cooked on the premises. It is presented in red napkin chequered baskets, perfectly warm and fluffy – un délice!
You can really sense the influence Alexis Couquelet’s teachers chefs Alain Ducasse and Jean Georges has had on this Lebanon-based Frenchman’s cuisine. It is energetic, authentic and tastes divine.
Couqley’s service is 5 star with attentive, knowledgeable and mostly bilingual French staff. We look forward to returning to sample the signature pain perdu – deliberately left for our next trip as its legendary reputation precedes it already!
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