THE VENUE:  An international foothold of the famed Le Cirque restaurant that was launched in New York City in 1974 by renowned creator Sirio Maccioni, which became a Big Apple landmark frequented by A-listers, the Ritz-Carlton DIFC’s Le Cirque is an elegant affair that doesn’t have the same circus-themed entertainment as the original, but features colourful statement art and playful touches to delight guests in a fine- dining atmosphere.

THE DESIGN:  It’s literally a tough circus act to follow, but Le Cirque Dubai has defined its own exclusive, sophisticated vibe. A more subtle take on the eccentric brand, the interiors reflect a focus on the classic French fine-dining experience with some circus-themed art and exceptional statement pieces adding flair to the fare. The Ritz-Carlton team worked with UK-based Curious Design to create the décor, which also features classic elements of French design including antique armless dining chairs, floor-length drapery, mirrored walls and crisp white table cloths. The venue is zoned into a few dining areas, each carrying through the simple but chic white aesthetic from the marble flooring to the white walls with simple moldings framing the colourful art piece. Subtle Art Deco-style patterns feature on the separating glass dividers, and small pops of red from drinking glasses are a nod to the symbolic Le Cirque fire engine red.

Meticulously curated artwork from the Opera Gallery Dubai was selected to display amidst the classy and chic interior of the restaurant, adding to the prolific culture and heritage of the renowned brand. The most notable pieces displayed at Le Cirque are by famed Spanish artist, Lita Cabellut, whose contemporary, vibrant and diverse pieces include paperworks, photography, intricate installations with flowers and realistic oil paintings that follow a central theme of ‘the human’ , which can be seen spread across the space. Post-war Italian abstract artist, Umberto Mariani showcases his affinity to folds of textiles, exploring the illusions of light and shadow. Painter and sculptor, David Gerstein, adds a burst of bright colours in his post-pop art style. This is projected through bold hues and multi-layered metal work. From My Palette to Memento Mori, his creativity with cut-out steel is proudly hoisted on the walls of Le Cirque. The mantels can be seen laden with Jeff Koon’s Balloon Dog, part of the American pop-culture artists ‘Celebration’ series which is reported to have set the record at the 2013 Christie’s auction as the most expensive work ever sold by a living artist. These are just some of the impressive, vibrant and expressive artworks showcased at the restaurant.

THE EXPERIENCE With options to sit at the chef table, in the dining room, the winter garden or on the terrace, diners can enjoy the sophisticated surroundings. For starters, the yellowtail crudo is highly recommended, but it’s just so French we can’t resist ordering the escargot, which is a succulent choice as they are a meaty morsil in a lush garlic and butter sauce that is divine for dipping bread in until the main course arrives. From the grill, Wagyu beef, lobster and tiger prawns are rich options, while Duck à l’Orange is a classic. Discerning dessert lovers would be well advised to leave room for the chocolate fondant too!

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