Reflets par Pierre Gagnaire, InerContinental Festival City
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Reflets is the Dubai outpost of three-Michelin-starred chef Pierre Gagnaire’s international culinary empire, as the eatery’s full name suggests. From the moment you enter the space (via its dedicated lift, no less), to the moment you depart, it’s impossible to forget that you are in a fine dining establishment. Fortunately, this is due to the attentiveness of the staff and the quality of the food, rather than any sense of stiffness. Charismatic Gagnaire is renowned for his creativity: a leader in the fusion cuisine movement, you can never second-guess what you’ll find on the menu from season to season. The amuse bouche, therefore – whatever it may be on your particular visit – will kick-start your palette with panache.
Your tongue and tastebuds will then be tickled, tricked and teased with unexpected ingredient-matches for as long as you can handle: while portions are not large, they are intense and extremely rich, and the uninitiated may well find themselves physically satiated before their appetites are willing to give up. Meanwhile, the ‘reflets’ theme reverberates through the restaurant – the toilet walls, floors and ceiling, for instance, are entirely mirrored, creating a part-mesmorising, part-uncomfortable mise-en-abyme effect – and the general décor is flush with deep purples and silvers. Our only quibble? The tipping system - which now has to be entered separately onto the card machine before you pay the full bill - tends to cause an awkward conversation at the end of the meal. But otherwise, Reflets is the one restaurant that anyone with even a passing interest in contemporary cuisine should visit during their time in Dubai. Truly luxurious.
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Time Out Dubai,