La Serre is renowned for its French style breakfasts, lunch bistro and a fabulous boulangerie.
Facing all the action of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Boulevard, Downtown, this slick, chic venue also offers an extensive Mediterranean selection in the evening – and we are here to taste its recently-launched new menu.
Arriving late to our table after horrendous city traffic, we are ushered to a window table next to the bannister, with the city lights twinkling romantically in the background through gigantic floor-to-ceiling windows. Fresh, airy bread and a cool bottle of water calm our nerves as we examine the menu in dimmed lighting.
It might be 10pm on a weekday, but fellow diners are still trickling in and there’s a party atmosphere at the marble-topped bar.
The greenhouse, as La Serre translates, holds an abundance of fresh produce as you walk in, and rather than olives or nuts on each table, we are met with a tiny bouquet of the sweetest, most delicious cherry tomatoes imaginable.
Our Ukranian waiter makes the journey through the menu easy, with good recommendations based on his honest preferences rather than the most pricey dishes.
First up, from the ‘nibbles’ section, we choose bruschetta aux aubergines, chargrilled toast with aubergine (AED 55). Filling, smokey and rich, we already feel like this is menu for those with big appetites.
The tarte tatin tomate we opt for next is again a surprisingly large dish; a giant pastry rectangle topped with burrata, grilled tomato and rocket (AED 75). The pastry, as you might expect, was divine – light, airy and buttery.
Given the great choices we already make as hungry diners, we opt for a lighter main course, choosing to share a beef tagliatelle ragout, white truffle asparagus and an aubergine grillée, feta et crevettes – grilled aubergine with feta and prawns, thinking these dishes might be lighter options.
Beef ragout is classic, rich and dense but served with a mountain of tagliatelle (AED 135). White asparagus is a delight, drenched in slivers of truffle and served with a heavenly sauce (AED 180). Four fat spears are too much, even for us sharing. The grilled aubergine is reminiscent of the starter – dark, smokey, pungent, tangy, with disappointingly ungenerous dots of feta but incredible fat, juicy prawns (AED 145).
Having hit the Mediterranean style dishes for the rest of the meal, we go full French on the desserts, opting for crème brûlée and a cheese board, given that third-generation French cheese aficionado, Patrice Marchand, had given a cheese master class just the night before at La Serre.
The cheese board (AED 100) is as good as it gets, and overly generous. Served with a slab of quince jelly, walnuts and grapes, we’re not left craving Cheddar. The brûlée (AED 65) is the best our dining companion has ever eaten – and that’s high praise indeed, given it’s their dessert of choice from Barcelona to Bangkok.
There’s are many more fantastic dishes we missed on the menu, and we leave, planning to swiftly return to this delightful, understated gem.
Dubai Week dines anonymously, unless otherwise stated.