Bistrot Bagatelle, Fairmont Dubai
The Venue You know when you’re asked, ‘If you could invite anyone to dinner, who would it be?’ I don’t think my response would be Brigitte Bardot, The Incredible Hulk, Kate Moss and Pepé Le Pew. And yet, they were all present and welcome for dinner at Bistrot Bagatelle. This bright French-styled restaurant features a fabulous collection of art, adding lots of colour and character to the dining experience. The flagship Bagatelle restaurant was launched in New York’s fashionable Meatpacking district in 2008 and has since opened in destinations such as St Barth and St Tropez. Of course, the Dubai venue is just as glamorous.
The Design The interiors, designed by architect Callin Fortis of Miami-based firm Big Time Design Studios, emulate a Haussmannian Parisian apartment with high coffered ceilings, wall mouldings and decorative mantels. White tablecloths and white walls are warmed by candlelight and chandeliers embedded in the ceiling, while vibrant pop art (curated by The Opera Gallery in DIFC) ignites the room with an excitable energy and definitively funky vibe. Think iconic photography of models, movie stars and moguls alongside graffiti on canvas, abstract paintings and mixed media artworks that are all conversation starters. The lounge distinguishes itself from the dining room with royal blue leather banquettes matching the plush royal blue, tufted velvet sofas and chairs that greet you at the bar entrance.
The Experience Settling into a comfortable, camel-coloured leather banquette in the dining room, we are greeted by the very enthusiastic fedora-wearing server. He is quick to suggest too many delicious-sounding options for us to possibly consume in one sitting, but we are game to try. The cuisine is Mediterranean and meant to be shared. We start with the Crudo de Bar, a sea bass carpaccio with blood orange, sultanas, jalapeños and pickled red onion – it was both fresh and flavourful. This was followed by a signature dish for Bagatelle, Pizza à la Truffe Noire, which doesn’t disappoint. I stick with seafood for my main course, choosing Gambas Rôtie, succulently roasted prawns with chanterelle mushrooms and smoked corn purée with a spicy kick. And while seafood is a winning choice, my dining companion discovers that Bagatelle really hits the bullseye with the wagyu filet – it was oozing with juicy and buttery goodness. We hear there’s a jazz night too – another fabulous reason to come back for more.