We’re calling it: the dessert we had here was the best we’ve had this year so far (and we eat a lot)…

Miss the Rivington Grill? Craving the bistro fare of the defunct Ivy? Well, we’ve found a replacement: and the good news is that this unlicensed City Walk spot is fairly friendly on the wallet, too.

Demoiselle by Galvin is the first of many GCC outposts from French-cuisine-loving British brothers Chris and Jeff Galvin (there’s also a Demoiselle in Harrods, London) – and the food is excellent.

The salmon starter (Dhs66) came with fresh rye, giant capers and eggs, and the Faroe Island fish tasted more like trout than salmon in that the flavour isn’t one-note-fishy.

You can tell the salmon is good quality (it comes from the Danish Faroe Islands)

The cheesy Comte croquettes (Dhs42) were delicious – but it’s not hard to make deep-fried-cheese taste good, so the real star was the tart walnut pickle on the side (like Branston, just way better).

The cheesy croquettes were incredibly moreish

Order the Wagyu short rib to share (Dhs186) – the buttery soft beef sits in an umami-filled mushroom sauce and came with a crisp, cheesy crust.

This dish packs an umami punch

Save room for dessert – the apple tarte tatin (Dhs42) is an example of pastry perfection, and has a rich, brown sugar taste. It was like eating a rich toffee apple, minus the sore teeth.

This is the best tarte tatin we’ve had in Dubai

The absolute triumph of the meal was the date and chocolate gluten free cake (Dhs42): like a fondant but with more balance of flavour. The bitterness of dark chocolate played against the punch of coffee and the sticky sweetness of dates. We would definitely order this again. And again. And again.

Who doesn’t love a fondant?

The venue is unlicensed, but a meal there feels special thanks to the opulent interiors. Definitely go up to the second floor where Birds of America illustrations (by US painter John James Audubon) adorn the ceiling, and wood, steel, tiles and marble create a rich and textured environment.

We’ll be back (apparently their Benedict is an excellent breakfast choice, and we imagine this would be a lovely place for afternoon tea). 

Here’s what the afternoon tea spread looks like (it costs from Dhs98 per person): 

City Walk, near the Roxy Cinemas. 8am to midnight, daily (note: opens at sunset over Ramadan). Tel: (04) 590 5076. Taxi: City Walk (near the cinema). facebook.com/demoiselledubai


ATMOSPHERE: Refined but without being stuffy

PRICE: Dhs250 to Dhs749 for two

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