Does the Maison always win..?

Update Aug 14: Please note that Maison Mathis is not currently offering this brunch

Tin Tin, mussels, Hercule Poirot, Kevin De Bruyne, and chocolate. What do these things have in common?  If you answered ‘much loved Belgian imports’, you have our permission to celebrate with fries and mayonnaise. But we’re here to discuss another, less talked about yet still equally adored gift from Belgium.

Yes, Maison Mathis, restaurant and bakery now a decade deep into delighting residents of Arabian Ranches has its roots in the lands of the Benelux. In January of this year, phase two of its UAE mission rolled into town with a permanent address at Voco Dubai The Palm, placing the chic eatery in convenient rambling distance of current Dubai entertainment epicentre, Palm West Beach.

They’ve just launched a new four-hour (just Dhs329 for the house package) Saturday brunch, that trades in sharing plates of modern European cuisine – and just like the restaurant’s fictional compatriot, Mr Poirot, it is incumbent on us to investigate. We’ve plonked ourselves down at a sunlit (covered) terrace table, just as the live duo launch into a rendition of Amy Winehouse’s Back to Black.

Food service begins with housemade freshly baked bread, the house identifies as part bakery after all, and oysters served with lemon segment and shallot vinegar. With the musical accompaniment and statement cocktails, there’s a real ‘Film Noir club scene’ energy to the table. Plates change and we’re confronted with another classic Dubai dish, wagyu tartar.

Maison Mathis doesn’t seem to go in for experimental reimaginings or theatrical deconstructions. It’s more concerned with plating up attractive dishes, whose components are allowed to give a clean account of their own quality. The wagyu tartar is a great case study of this method. We add a little cracked pepper and salt, to suit our own preference, but it’s already demonstrative of killer kitchen instincts. Sheets of rare velvet flesh, pickle and crunch for garnish, and an arty arch of tarty sauce.

It’s octopus next, with an almost creole tomato-based salsa, and mussels (vive la Belgique) two ways. This is seafood we’d joyfully reorder if we came back outside of brunch, marine-appropriate marinades, and an attention to cooking times that is rarely seen in mass catering.

The main platter is essentially a mixed gill – lamb chops, beef and brochette-style chicken skewers served alongside thick-cut steakhouse chips. No pageantry, no sparklers, no misdirection. It’s a transparent mini meat feast that proves the Maison has a great relationship with the local butcher.

The final act plays out on a stage of crispy, fluffy-cored churros and messy dips. One more. We can’t. Oh go on then.

Maison Mathis, Voco Dubai The Palm, Sat 1pm to 5pm, Dhs229 soft, Dhs329 house. Tel: (0) 4 249 5502, @maisonmathisvocopalm

Images: Provided