In a place where there are countless options for Italian, Indian or Continental cuisines, Bistro des Arts is a French gem tucked away behind Dubai Marina Mall overlooking the luxury yachts of Dubai Marina.
Inspired by 1970s bistro style cafes traditional to Paris, Bistro des Arts is a tribute to those traditional tiny eateries found in the pages of Life magazine and vintage tabloids that often captured old Hollywood celebrities and French elites dining their time whilst overlooking the Champs-Élysées. As we walked into the venue, the ambience was very pleasant with an outdoor orchard garden seating area and a cosy inner seating arrangement where the dim lighting and dark palette of the interior transports you back to the days of the French Monarchy.
We chose to sit outside to get a better view of the Marina waterfront. The waiter was very pleasant and since it was our first taste of authentic French cuisine, he gladly guided us through the menu and helped us select the starter dishes that were classic to the French bistros in Paris, and the main courses that were popular among local Dubai diners.
We started with foie gras de canard maison (a dish made of duck liver served with fig compote). It was heavenly, especially accompanied with brown bread and butter and was served with a plain salad served with vinegar condiment.
The next starter that we got to experience was the simple and yet exquisite French Prawns served with garlic and butter. The way the French use garlic and butter in their cooking makes everything taste rich and full of flavour.
On to the main course, we were made to try The Art of Penne, a very popular dish apparently favoured by Emiratis. It is a nod to the classic Italian pasta but cooked in French parmesan, black truffle and Lorraine salt. It was very creamy and absolutely satisfyingly filling without being too overwhelming.
Next was the heavenly French sea bass served with shaved fennel salads and a bit of a tangy condiment. The tanginess in our second main course helped refresh our palettes from the creaminess of our first main course, but it also packed a punch of flavours including a mix of mild and fresh spices.
The dessert was truly the best experience in the whole menu. Crème brûlée is a very French experience but having a coffee inspired crème brûlée? We couldn’t ignore that. Many of the crème brûlées I have previously tasted have had an overpowering eggy and sugary flavour, but this crème brûlée was nothing like that; it was a delicious spread of fresh coffee cream served with scorched melted sugar as a topping that appeared like a glass fixture. It was mesmerizing in appearance as well as taste.
Our next best bet on dessert was the chocolate mousse. The French take their chocolate desserts very seriously and it showed. The powerful notes of dark chocolate synced with melted brown sugar served in a traditional French coffee mug were beyond this earth. It tasted very rich in flavour yet with a slight mellowing of the bitterness of the chocolate without being too sweet. It was the best chocolate mousse we have ever tried in Dubai.
The apple tart was served with dash of caramel spread, cinnamon essence and light vanilla ice cream, and tasted like something one would have on a Christmas Eve as a festive treat.
Our verdict: Bistro des Arts is a dining experience of a lifetime we would highly recommend.