I'm gonna take a break from my NZ travelogue to get through the backlog of short-haul travel posts.
We were in Dubai over the CNY long weekend. Why Dubai, as many have asked? Well, we wanted a place that'll be open through the Chinese New Year, and Dubai, arguably the hub of the Middle East, is as far removed from any Lunar New Year festivities as it gets.
Besides, I've always wanted to see what Dubai was like, and how the Arabs "manufactured" a city, just as our forefathers "manufactured" Singapore into a "legoland" of sorts. I figured the long weekend would suffice as a short-but-deep-enough look-see trip to the bustling metropolis.
We stayed at the One & Only the Palm, one of my favourite hotel chains for its consistent standard of luxury.
The hotel's restaurants are all curated by 3-Michelin starred chef Yannick Alleno, the premier, and most distinguished, of which is Stay by Yannick Alleno. The quintessentially French restaurant is all class and sophistication, but cosy and relaxed due to the use of romantic low-lights and warm service.
The food was sublime, even if it was a smidge vanilla and somewhat tame. Prices may be a little on the high side, but then again, which restaurant in Dubai isn't? At least Stay by Yannick Alleno piled us generously with complimentary bits and blobs, so even though we originally planned to get a full 4-course meal, we ended up being satiated with just 2 appetizers and 2 mains.
We started off a trio of Amuse Bouche: a Comte Puff; Truffle Mushroom Tart, and Chilled Lobster Salad on a squid ink crisp. A most outstanding way to kick off dinner, which left us hankering for more.
The parsley-free rendition of the standard Amuse Bouche replaced the lobster salad with a slab of stellar Smoked Salmon.
The bread basket which was pure perfection (you can always trust the French to make good bread), accompanied simply by good ol' French butter.
A must-try appetizer was the Slow Cooked Organic Egg (55AED = S$20) drenched in the most luxurious comte foam, and dotted with juicy girolle mushrooms, was intensely flavourful, rich from the cheese and earthy fungi. This was just sensational.
We'd just watched Burnt (the food porn movie with the dreamy, French-speaking Bradley Cooper) which heavily featured turbot, so when we saw said fish on the menu, we immediately ordered it. The Wild Devon Turbot (240AED = S$88) was braised with shellfish jus for oomph, set atop steamed baby vegetables and slathered in a dijonnaise sauce. Really lovely subtle and layered flavours.
The Slow Cooked Black Angus Beef Short Ribs (200AED = S$73) was a carnivore's dream, sumptuous and meltingly tender. The full-bodied heft of the meat was complemented by fried shallot ringlets, and the most gossamer whipped potato mash ever.
Complimentary petit fours which posed a conundrum: Passionfruit Choux; Starfruit Coconut Jelly; Coffee Chocolate: these were too pretty to eat, but too delicious not to
Ditto for the platter of sweets that followed shortly: pistachio chocolate, meringue, gold-dusted chocolate truffles, and chocolate wafers. So scrumptious we forgot about dessert entirely.
Stay by Yannick Alleno
One & Only The Palm
United Arab Emirates