Tucked away in a corner of Raffles Dubai is La Residence, Restaurant & Lounge. Inspired by the luxury brasseries of France and oozing Parisian elegance and glamour, the restaurant was created by Michelin-Star Chef Frédéric Vardon, the owner of the much-lauded Le 39V in Paris. Having worked with great masters of the kitchen like Alain Chapel and Alain Ducasse, Vardon knows what it takes to take gourmet food even further and Buro 24/7 played witness to this.
First and foremost, as the name suggests, this is both restaurant and lounge perfectly defined by the fine dining set-up and the contemporary crowd it attracts.
Walk through the heavy doors and the spacious and comfortable space opens up to a grand piano, although sadly it wasn't played the night we went. Speaking of music, the piped-in music starts soft and melodious when the doors open at 8pm but as the night goes on, the mostly instrumental music gives way to the much louder American band music, many of which are from the 80s. If you're expecting Jardin D'hiver, you'll be sorely disappointed.
While you can nitpick certain elements of the restaurant, you surely cannot fault the décor. Lush quilted leather seats, a variety of painting styles adorning the walls, sparkling chandeliers and candles, all combine beautifully to give off an air of elegance and luxury as you await your gastronomical journey.
The restaurant is also a mainstay for the Le Demoiselle ladies night on Wednesdays with 50 percent off the full a la carte menu. On Thursday evenings, you can avail the Le Club Social with a three-course set menu dinner package, but since we were there on a Friday, we experienced the Paris By Night Lumiere Brunch, which offers the opportunity to sample many a dishes with a sharing set menu.
When the appetisers came, it consisted of foie gras, buffalo mozzarella and chicken salad. The Foie gras came with a small dollop of melon marmalade that was sweet enough to elevate the dish. The chicken salad perfectly sums up what you'd expect from such a fine restaurant; an intricately arranged dish where moist poultry acts as a bed to colourful accompaniments like artichokes, figs and citrus.
Next came oysters, super fresh and placed on a mountain of ice, with a side sauce of mignonette. The three different mains that followed included milk-fed lamb provencal style, their twist on the macaroni vintage comte and the bouillabaisse. Of the three, that fish stew was clearly the stand-out dish. It was simply sensational; soft pieces of fish circling around the smooth light soup, and for a bit of crunch, served with a side of croutons with rouille.
By the time desserts came along, we were dying for something sweet. The fruit platter was temporarily pushed aside for one of the restaurant's signature dish: French toast brioche. This is insanely sweet, yet so delectable that sweet tooth or not, you're most likely going to wipe that plate clean. Thankfully, the tiramisu is a bitter complement to the sweet brioche.
The setting, the food and the ambience were all excellent. But what about the service you ask? Considering that the restaurant was quite busy, including two big groups, the servers were as attentive as they could be and always came to the table with a big smile and an eagerness to please.
La Residence is closed on Sundays. For reservations, call 04 396 2211 or email reservations@LaResidence-