Review: La Maison Ani by Chef Izu
Chef Izu Ani makes a suitably stylish entrance to Fashion Avenue…
Chef Izu Ani’s culinary empire includes some of Dubai’s best loved restaurants. Long-standing Carine has long been a Dubai favourite for long, lazy lunches that transport you straight to the Mediterranean; while his Greek restaurant Gaia is seldom left out of any edit of Dubai’s best restaurants. For his newest restaurant, chef Izu Ani has headed to one of the chicest addresses in the city: The Dubai Mall’s Fashion Avenue, opening La Maison Ani on the first floor.
It seamlessly blends into its stylish surrounds with crisp white tablecloths, grand interiors in varying shades of orange that range from pale cantaloupe to firey salamander, all complimented by crystal cut glassware and accents of brass. In the cooler months, a botanical, fountain-facing garden terrace will be a prime spot for people watching. The whole space as got that well-perfected Mediterranean flair chef Izu’s become renowned for in abundance, coupled with subtle Parisienne accents in the form of shimmering chandeliers, pretty floral arrangements and a patisserie counter where you can get freshly baked goods to takeaway.
The internationally-influenced menu is a celebration of Izu’s love of travel, and the destinations that have shaped him, so while the flavours may feel very Mediterranean, you’re had pushed to put La Maison Ani in one box.
A team of well-versed staff recommend a salade de homard (Dhs145), which is elegantly served in a glass bowl: fresh chunks of lobster, slices of avocado and roasted tomatoes are light and tasty, all tossed in just the right amount of yuzu vinegarette. Just-warm prawns (crevettes chaudes á l’huile d’olive Theo, Dhs95) are a standout starter, swimming in a plate of chef Izu’s homemade Theo oil. Simply seasoned, it lets the fresh ingredients sing for themselves. A beef carpaccio (Dhs125) neatly topped with a quail’s egg and drizzled with truffle dressing is a generous plate, but lacks a little flavour.
Having filled up on starters, we opt for a duo of lighter – but indulgent – mains. The market price truffle tart is Izu’s delectable take on a truffle pizza, with a crispy base and endless shaves of truffle, while we’re pleased to see the ever-popular Izu Burger (Dhs125 make it onto the menu). A Wagyu patty, sliver of Ementhal and welcome dollop of tartar sauce squished between a golden bun make a confident case for a cheat day order.
Chef Izu’s delectable desserts are stuff of dreams, and at La Maison Ani they don’t disappoint. The mousse tiéde au chocolat et glace a l’orge (Dhs145) might say it’s for two, but at the size of a large human hand, it could easily be shared between us and our neighbours and there still be left overs to take away. And take away this warm, perfectly-gooey-in-the-middle bowl of indulgence we do.
La Maison Ani by Chef Izu, Ground Floor, Dubai Mall Fashion Avenue, 10am to 12am daily. Tel: (0)4 456 1989, @lamaisonanibychefizu