Dubai’s beloved boulangerie elevates mall dining on Yas Island…

La Serre’s story began in Dubai, with the French restaurant serving as a top choice for Downtown dining for a decade. While that La Serre is no longer, it lands in the capital as a more relaxed iteration of its original counterpart, positioned as a bistro and boulangerie.

Located next to the main entrance of the mall, La Serre’s location means it benefits from a beautiful alfresco terrace lined with cream planters emblazoned with the restaurant’s name, and a delicate wooden French carriage that guards the entrance. Guests are invited to choose a table either on the terrace, where a trickling water fountain sits pretty in the centre, or inside, where sparkling chandeliers, furnishings in ruby red, and black and white photographs add to the authentic French feel.

The extensive menu starts with an extensive selection of viennoiseries et pans, all freshly baked and neatly displayed in a glass cabinet inside the restaurant. Then there’s eggs almost a dozen ways, all-day breakfasts and a menu for lunch and dinner more reminiscent of the French fine dining dishes offered at the late La Serre Dubai. Torn between the all-day breakfast and the a la carte menu, we choose to go off piste and order options from each.

From the eggs selection, the oeufs Brouillés à la truffle noir (Dhs115) arrives in a silver dish of canary yellow eggs scrambled with fresh cream, making it a little runnier than we’d hoped, but we put this down to personal preference. The amount of fresh black truffle shaving can be described only as generous, while the crisp, crunchy soldiers of brioche add an unexpected sweet touch. Next, we share two starters: the classic French escargot (Dhs105) and crevettes grillées (grilled prawns, Dhs145). The simple seasoning of the grilled prawns cooked in oil with garlic, rosemary and a hint of chili leaves us mopping up every drop left in the dish with the sourdough bread, which is sadly toasted to a shade away from burnt. We smell the garlic sauce of the escargot before it arrives, but it doesn’t overpower the taste, which is further enhanced with a punchy anchovy butter.

Our final dish takes us back to breakfast, as it wouldn’t feel right to not but La Serre’s famed pain perdu (French toast, Dhs60) through its paces. We can confidently say it’s now among Abu Dhabi’s finest. Sensationally spongy on the inside yet crunchy on the outside thanks to a caramelised sugar coating, the rich red fruit compote and airily whipped vanilla cream add balance to this dish of pure indulgence.

Verdict: A chic slice of Paris that’s well worth switching retail therapy for a long, leisurely lunch.

La Serre, Yas Mall, Yas Island, 8am to 10pm Sun to Thurs, 8am to 12am Sat and Sun. Tel: (0)2 658 5835,