December 2nd marked the 40th anniversary of the founding of the United Arab Emirates and in honour of this momentous occasion we decided that we should spend the day partaking in the national pastime of unnecessary shopping. Our venue of choice on this day was the Mall of the Emirates, offering 2.5 million square feet of retail shops and restaurants.
After working up an appetite at Paul & Joe, Harvey Nichols, Boutique 1 and the like we strolled over to the “Fashion Dome” restaurants for an energy boost. The shopping malls in the UAE offer some of the best known international eateries so we had a slew of dining options to choose from including: the locally renowned More Café; French cuisine restaurant Fauchon; PF Chang’s; South African restaurant Tribes; Asha’s, famous for its Indian curries and biryanis; and Middle East-specialty restaurant Al Halabi.
Wanting a light lunch we opted for Fauchon and quickly found a table perfectly situated for some people watching. We were greeted by the standard “Hello MamSir” and offered the menus for our perusal. The options are more international than French with random dishes scattered throughout. We opted to share an appetizer of Salmon Millefeuille before selecting salads as our mains.
Our millefeuille was presented beautifully with layers of thin smoked salmon, arugula with sour cream chive, crunchy sweet pastry crust, salmon roe and sesame seed garnish. This was nicely complimented with a green salad and drizzled balsamic dressing. The dish was slightly rich due to the cream, the flavours were more sweet than savoury but they managed to be delicate at the same time and melded together nicely.
Our shared appetizer was followed by a Baby Spinach Salad and a Chicken Caesar Salad. The spinach salad included shrimp, avocado and green apple accompanied by a creamy dressing. A very healthy though somewhat bland option if you go light on the dressing. The Caesar was fairly standard and also included a ball of deep-fried breaded goat cheese which unfortunately did not pair well with the rest of the dish. Overall, the salads were adequate though uninspiring.
The highlight of the meal was definitely the appetizer, though if you have a sweet tooth the pastries are also delicious. While a far cry from the Fauchon experience in Paris, if you find a seat on the “patio”, order a coffee and pastry, you can settle in for some interesting people watching à la UAE.
Salmon Millefeuille – 50 dhs
Baby Spinach Salad – 60 dhs
Chicken Caesar Salad – 55 dhs