Whenever La Serre is mentioned in Dubai, most people quickly associate and compare it to LPM (La Petite Maison) one of Dubai’s most coveted restaurants located at DIFC which I reviewed last year here.
That’s because the resemblance between the two is strikingly similar and it’s not really a coincidence. The common denominator in this case happens to be Chef Izi Ani who left LPM to open up Dubai’s latest hot spot; La Serre Bistro and Boulangerie.
Located in the trendy new Vida Downtown boutique hotel, La Serre boasts two floors in what looks like a glass box from outside, a traditional Parisian boulangerie on the ground floor which opens up early morning to serve freshly-baked breads, viennoiserie and a light breakfast menu and a fancier bistro and bar on the first floor serving Nicoise/Mediterranean cuisine.
On a recent trip to Dubai, I had dinner at Le Serre on a Wednesday evening and the place was packed. The interior is gorgeous, an open marble-clad kitchen looks out at a sea of fancy diners in a white crisp setting with a serene feel to it, and a very chatty ambiance. And just like LPM, a tomato, a citrus and a bottle of olive olive oil await you on your table as well as a very busy and difficult-to-catch waiter who barely has time to greet you before he’s ushered away.
We had a couple of vodkas and a few fabulous lychee martinis at the bar so we decided to share an array of our favorite appetizers as we continued to sip on our drinks. The Burrata and Tomatoes was the first to make its debut, a generous serving of creamy cheese topped with ripe cherry tomatoes and a serving of basil.
Next the splendid goat cheese with cherry tomatoes, hazelnut and subtle chilli, a specialty and preferred amongst La Serre regulars.
We also opted for a French classic, the Lentil salad with pickled vegetables which I thought gave this otherwise typical dish a lovely kick.
The Quinoa salad with confit duck legs and clementine was a real treat, a bright and colorful salad in a light citrusy dressing.
But the grilled prawns deserved the chapeau bas, marinated in abundant garlic and rosemary with crunchy toasted sour bread. Perfect.
We over-indulged on the appetizers so decided to share the mains, The Cepes Risotto was one of the best I’ve had to date, intense cepes in a creamy rose sauce and pungent Parmesan garnished and cooked to absolute perfection. The portion however was quite stingy.
And the Lamb Cutlets Provencal lived up to their hype and demanded respect as they made their way to our table, two glistening thick, juicy, succulent and ridiculously tender chops.
I’m afraid there was no room for dessert, especially since we moved on to the bar for some more post-dinner drinks. Unlike our waiter, the bartenders were patient, something that often lacks at much-coveted gastronomic powerhouses like this one.
Verdict: La Serre definitely gives La Petite Maison a run for its money, though Dubai without a doubt has the clientele and demand to withstand more than one premium culinary bistro. Perfect for a romantic date, business dinner or a birthday treat with friends. It’s worth the visit to Vida Downtown and if you’re not up for dinner then you can also brunch in the guest garden.
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