Review: Eugène Eugène
A beautiful brasserie in the most unlikely of locations…
Once upon a time, Eugène Eugène was but a lone tennis court – a stowed away sports complex on the second floor of the Kempinski Mall of the Emirates. Not that you’d spot any sign of that now. Green court fencing has been replaced with sky-high glass windows, and today, under the management of hospitality giants Rikas Group, it is a brand-new brasserie evoking the charm of a country home conservatory; its glass roof helping to bathe the entire restaurant in natural light.
In the heart of the restaurant is an opal bar covered in vines, while other tables and red booths enveloped in plants are scattered behind, with a huge patio right at the back. It is a genuinely gorgeous garden in the heart of the city.
The menu is meticulously crafted, overseen by corporate chef Gilles Bosquet, and curated by the talented head chef Yannis Sgard (of Burj Al Arab and Four Seasons George V Paris pedigree). The result is delightful brasserie fodder; French ‘souvenir’ fare without the frills.
There is yellowtail (Dhs58) topped with half a hazelnut and a lemon drizzle that makes the lips pucker. A dinky pizzetta (Dhs55) arrives on a wooden pedestal. It is layered with taleggio cheese, caramelised onion, quince paste and pine nuts. It is half a dozen mouthfuls of joy.
A properly made avocado Caesar (Dhs52) features pristine cos lettuce lathered in dressing, fresh Parmesan, anchovies, egg and croutons. Like most dishes at Eugène Eugène, the serving portions are small, so dive in early.
By this point a quiet calm has settled over our table. It’s that delight which comes from knowing you are in safe hands; that whatever is delivered here will almost certainly be worth the time and money.
From the mains, the menu description of the roasted whole baby chicken (Dhs125) doesn’t do justice for this charming – if petite – farmhouse-style roast. The chicken is moist. The skin crunches. The juices release with a faint hint of rosemary. There are a few well- seasoned baby potatoes and mushrooms and a whole roasted garlic should you wish to punch up your meal. It is everything you want a dish to be. Even the cordon bleu with Comté cheese and fresh truffle (Dhs155) is hard to criticise. But is there ever anything wrong with melted cheese and ham?
Unsurprisingly at this point, chef Yannis doesn’t drop the ball at dessert either. For full bellies, there’s a red fruit pavlova (Dhs50) with effortlessly light cracker-shaped meringue resting on yoghurt ice cream and berries. It’s an airy treat with an explosion of textures.
What’s On verdict: Brasseries are having a moment in Dubai, and Eugène Eugène has rightfully stolen the spotlight. Day or night, it’s a hit.
Kempinski Mall of the Emirates, Al Barsha, daily, 12pm to 11.30pm. Tel: (0)4 379 8963. @eugeneeugenedubai