10 www.gooseberrydubai.com members and myself went to Paris on Thursday, by way of Bistro Madeleine, The Intercontinental, Festival City and had a great evening with simple French food.
Set up like a buffet, the “starter” section included some really good roquefort, some decent brie and a very goaty camembert, accompanied by authentic French bread, a wealth of salads (the olives were awesome and the salad niçoise was tops) and a range of cold cuts, including pork.
Mains included an impressive salmon en croûte and some huge vol-au-vants with a range of “fillings” (I had the chicken fricassee ) which could also be enjoyed sans pastry with the rice and potato sides on offer. Le navarin d'agneau was a winner with other guests, I also tried the boeuf bourgignon, which was rich, but I love rich food - and there were also fish and veal dishes available.
Dessert is where Bistro Madeleine excelled, with a crème brûlée that had everyone saying it was “the best they'd ever had”. I really don't like it and stuck with the fabulous crêpe suzette – prepared at a live cooking station by a chef with a heavy hand on the Grand Marnier and an accent that made me weak at the knees.
The “meal deal” is 185d and includes house red and white wine. The white (Sauvignon) was decent, but the red apparently wasn't. We paid extra for posh water (grrr) and as we went “off-package” with a better red wine and some beers, we all paid circa 245d.
Laid out very simply like a French bistro the atmosphere is informal with basic café tables and the obligatory red and white napkins. We sat outside, with views over Festival City Marina, having made the decision to do so at 6.55pm (with guests arriving at 7pm) - and the willing staff quickly set up our area for us.
Live French music was provided by the resident chanteur and his trusty guitar – and was perfect – not too loud or obtrusive.
I heard a few French accents from the other diners too, which is always a good sign. Recommended for an informal night out in the “other end of town.”
Cost: AED 185 for the Thursday evening package.
Smoking: Yes outside, no inside.
Children: YES there were several (well-behaved) children inside and out
Dress code: Informal – no shorts or flip-flops. Jeans are fine.
NB: Bistro Madeleine is permitted to serve drinks and snacks during Ramadan.
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