Aubaine, a popular London-born French restaurant and boulangerie, has made its debut in the Dubai foodie scene this December. Taking up a prime location at the main entrance of The Dubai Mall itself, this is the restaurant’s very first international stint (having opened 10 successful chains in its home turf, London so far).
‘Aubaine‘ is French for ‘treat’, and I was really looking forward to my lunch there last weekend, especially after getting glimpses of their fabulous lineup of sweet treats on social media!
“Dubai is fast becoming a gastronomic heaven which rivals London and New York, with its exciting array of international cuisine on offer and being a well-travelled destination. Hence we feel Dubai is the ideal destination for Aubaine to open the first outpost outside UK. Opening at such iconic destination as Dubai Mall, we are very proud to showcase our menu from London with additional dishes specially created for Dubai. Of course not forgetting to mention our hand-crafted selection of French cakes and bread, where we believe there’s something for all to discover and enjoy!” explains Hani Nakkach, Founder of Aubaine.
The interiors of Aubaine are delightfully Provencal, with shabby chic furnishings and ample natural lighting flooding into the space. Prim and proper ladies, pepped up for high-tea, occupied many of the tables. The setting is perfect for photography, and I must say my food clicks came out pretty decent sans any edits!
A complimentary basket of freshly baked assorted breads hit our table as soon as we were seated, and we had these with generous smears of butter while greedily flipping though the menu options.
For drinks, I tried Aubaine’s Pearl of Dubai, a slushy tropical mix of pineapple, peach and passionfruit. Hubby had their Simphone De Bois, a ‘berry’ refreshing slush featuring strawberry, raspberries and cranberry. The drinks are as pretty as they are refreshing. Perfect for the onslaught of hot, humid summer days!
For our appetizer round, we had Aubaine’s Calamars Frits, crispy deep-fried battered squid dusted off with paprika and chili, and served on a bed of fresh chili and spring onion. A rich, creamy garlic aioli was served on the side. More Asian than French, don’t you think?
I wanted to try one of the salads at Aubaine, and got recommended their Superfood Salade, a delightful toss-up of health-enhancing superfoods including quinoa, beetroot, alfalfa sprouts, roasted butternut squash, mung beans, spinach, broccoli, peas, pomegranate, and the crunch of mixed nuts and seeds.
You can opt to add chicken or halloumi to the salad, making it a complete meal in itself. We went for chicken, and were very impressed at how beautifully tender these boneless breast pieces were.
I only wish the salad had more quinoa in it to add more body to each forkful.
For my main course, I decided to try Aubaine’s much-loved Lobster Pasta. This moreishly rich dish is soaking in a very creamy pink pasta sauce (a combination of red and white sauces), and has a very generous amount of meaty, chunky lobster pieces mixed in. The lobster lends its characteristic seafood flavour to every forkful, and my tastebuds were going ‘ooh la la‘ at every bite. This serving portion is generously large, and I wish I could have done more justice to my plateful. One serving can easily be shared by two.
My Hubby is a true-blue carnivore, and he had his sights set on the meatier options on the menu. He finally settled for Aubaine’s Filet de Boeuf, Cresson, Frites et Sauce au Poivre. This is essentially a 220 gram serving of prime beef fillet, with crispy shallots and a fiery pepper sauce on the side.
Hubby asked his fillet to be done a medium-rare, and he is happy to report it was cooked just the way he wanted. The pepper sauce is very French for its creamy richness, and the heat of the cracked peppercorn is both fiery and stimulating with each bite of beef.
As an additional side-dish, I ordered a serving of Aubaine’s Ratatouille, a delicious stir-fry of bell peppers and mixed vegetables. I even got my 5 year-old to eat some, reminding her of the famous little mouse chef who got named after this dish!
And now for the best part of all… desserts! No one does pretty pastries like the French, and at Aubaine, the options keep changing on a daily basis. We were shown a whole tray full of enticing treats; what a mammoth task of narrowing down to just one!
Men are much simpler creatures; creatures of habit I’d say! Hubby promptly chose the Chocolate Eclair, his all-time favourite pastry. The one at Aubaine has an amazingly crisp choux pasty outer, and an oozy choco-hazelnut cream filling on the inside.
He was halfway through his eclair by the time I made a choice. I settled for Aubaine’s Caramel Rosemary Dolce, a caramel tart with a beautifully buttery, crumbly base with an added hint of rosemary. The caramel filling has a creamy, custard-like texture and what I loved about it is the fact that it wasn’t overly sweet. An absolute treat that would make you too selfish to think about sharing!
We were very stuffed by the end of our meal, and the beautifully serene sunlight flooding through the glass windows was slipping my mind into a restful siesta. We need tea! I spotted ‘Assam Gold’ on the menu, and got very excited (you see, my family originates from the North Eastern region of Assam, and we even have relatives who work in the tea trade). Unfortunately they had run out of Assam Gold, so I settled for a pot of Earl Grey instead.
This pot of tea was much needed for flushing down all that decadence, and adding a skip to my step after so much gluttony.
With its very own artisanal boulangerie, handcrafted patisseries, and Provencal-style dishes, Aubaine has perfected the all-day dining experience. Their signature dishes manage to be authentically French, without being trickily modern nor lazily traditional. The ambiance is both chic and relaxed, and makes for the ideal spot to catch up with the girlfriends after a marathon shopping spree. And if you love dessert as much as I do, you’ll have a really hard time narrowing down to just one pastry!
Aubaine is located on the Ground Floor of The Dubai Mall (right at the main entrance). The restaurant is open daily from 10 am to 12 midnight. For more details, have a browse through their website: http://www.aubaine.co.uk
All the images in this post were taken using the Panasonic DMC-GF7X.