La Residence Restaurant & Lounge, the French fine-dining restaurant at Raffles Dubai, has only been in operation for 2 months now. With Michelin star Chef Vardon backing the menu offerings and a glamorous backdrop to boot, La Residence is set to create waves in the UAE culinary scene.
Stepping into La Residence is a magical experience. Inspired by the look and feel of luxury brasseries in Paris, the restaurant is dimly lit with mood lighting. Theatrically glamorous velvet curtains of deep maroon adorn the windows, a mix of classic and contemporary Parisian art showcase on the walls.
The furnishing beautifully compliments the chic ambiance with deep brown chesterfield leather couches and velvet upholstered classic-carved chairs.
At a corner by the entrance is a magnificently retro piano, and I envision live music is on the agenda here for special occasions. Soulful jazz music plays in the background adding to the opulent elegance of the setting.
La Residence is divided into two areas; a lounge area and the dining area. The lounge is next to the bar, and also allows for smoking. After 9 pm, young children are therefore prohibited from entering the restaurant.
For the holy month of Ramadan, La Residence is offering a very special set menu for Iftar. The menu features a number of favorites from the A La Carte section, and is priced at AED 220 per person.
- Feuillete Spinach and Truffle
- Courgette Moelleu
- Chaud-Froid Silver Leaf Organic Soft-Boiled Egg
- Landes Duck Foie Gras
- Salmon Tartar
Choice of one Main from the following:
- Cod “Grenobloise”
- Lamb with Citrus Fruit
- Macaroni with Old Vintage Comte
Our host for the night was the very lovely Aurora who hails from Versailles, France and her gorgeous accent made everything on the menu sound all the more appealing.
We started off our meal with the Gougeres. These are airy French cheese puffs made from choux dough. The ones at Al Residence were loaded with cheesy flavor, and the generous platter of butter went unnoticed with these.
My daughter had most of the Sacrisitan. I think these reminded her of the cheese-sticks we bake at home, but these French pastry sticks are far more decadent with their flaking buttery layers and caramelized edges.
The Courgette Moelleu has a soft, almost sticky, cake-like consistency, and the savory flavors just melt in the mouth. However, my favorite appetizer for the night would have to be the Feuillete Spinach and Truffle. The beautifully flaky pastry cases hold a delicious filling of cheesy spinach, and the robust flavor is accentuated with the addition of truffle. I wish I could have had some more of these!
Throughout the meal, we were offered an array of freshly baked breads and these were a real treat with melting knobs of butter.
And here is a click of our Mocktails:
I had the Tarte Du Payes, a delightfully tangy, fizzy concoction of rhubarb with elder-flower topped with aromatic house-made rose soda.
Hubby had the Bouquet D’Agrumes, a fruity mix of grape juice and apricot nectar spiced with ginger and ground cloves.
For the Starters course, we were presented with three spectacular dishes, and it’s a tough call narrowing down to one favorite.
The Chaud-Froid Silver Leaf Organic Soft-Boiled Egg is a signature dish created by Chef Vardon, and looks too pretty to eat! The egg has been boiled to perfection, and has a a slight wobble when touched. Covered in a foil of edible silver leaf, making this beauty must be one finicky task! And notice the candied violets added for color? What a work of art!
“Chaud-froid” is French for “Hot-Cold”, and in this dish, the ‘hot’ comes from the warm, runny egg yolk that beautifully flows into the cold caviar salad it is nestled upon. This has to be the best boiled egg I’ve ever eaten in my life, no exaggeration (and I’ve had my fair share of eggs!).
The Landes Duck Foie Gras at La Residence is served in generous portions. Beautifully creamy in consistency, this foie gras is brimming with flavor, and goes beautifully well smothered on a rustic loaf of salted bread. It was served with a fruity fig jam on the side.
I am a huge fan of salmon, yet the Salmon Tartar last night managed to get a little overshadowed by these fancy French offerings. The salmon was beautifully ceviched, and the mild tanginess of lemon made this dish a very refreshing appetizer.
For mains, hubby went for the Lamb with Citrus Fruit, and I had the Cod “Grenobloise”.
Hubby asked for his lamb done medium-rare, and the mere color of the meat below shows you how beautifully it was cooked. With a slight marbling of the meat, the lamb was melt-in-the-mouth perfection accentuated with the zestiness of fresh citrus. A few slices of citrus were served on the side drizzled with a special cider vinegar dressing.
My cod was beautifully flaky, and the skin was deliciously crisp. “Grenobloise” is a traditional French caramelized butter sauce, and it alleviated the cod to decadence. My dish had a generous helping of croutons that were soaked in a tangy lemon marinade. The lemon’s zestiness helped balance out the buttery richness; a wonderful marriage of flavors.
As a part of the mains, we were served a side dish which included a pickled red pepper stuffed with burghul. This little dish packed a serious punch of aromatic flavors. It is a wonderful example of Chef Vardon’s take on Arabic cuisine, and goes to show his craftsmanship goes well beyond the French flavors of his origins.
To end the meal, we were served a platter of three desserts: Mille Feuille, Raspberry Parfait and Paris Brest.
Mille Feuille, the classic layered French dessert featuring layers of pastry sandwiched between custard and cream, can be quite challenging to eat daintily. We literally demolished this slice, and any evidence of crumbs were very quickly wiped clean!
The Raspberry Parfait features decadent layers of whipped cream, sweetened berries and a very fresh, eggy custard. It’s like a summer bouquet in a pot.
From all the three desserts on the platter, the Paris Brest stole the show. The pastry has been made from French-style choux dough, and filled with a very delicious praline cream. A caramelized macadamia nut sits pretty on the top garnished with edible gold leaf, and a surprise crunch of an almond is buried within this sinfully rich, nutty treat.
Overall, the Ramadan set menu at La Residence is a great way to sample a number of gourmet French dishes. At AED 220 per person, this meal is definitely great value for money.
The ambiance of La Residence is simply majestic, and combined with superior customer service and artisan French cuisine, this is one memorable dining experience you won’t want to miss.
La Residence Restaurant & Lounge is located on the ground floor of Raffles Hotel (Wafi City). For reservations, visit their website. Bon apetit!