In Dubai by way of Paris (fashion avenue 105 rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré, to be precise), this chic French eatery at Jumeirah Emirates Towers has the ideal vibe for a lazy weekend afternoon.
When we arrive it’s on the quiet side, but this soon picks up and by 2pm the room is buzzing. With huge windows and a partial glass roof it’s light, bright and airy, and in the winter tables will spill out onto the pretty garden terrace.
La Cantine du Faubourg takes the word brunch seriously. And by that we mean there are plenty of egg and breakfast dishes to kick you off (don’t miss the eggs royale – served with smoked salmon and grilled avocado, it’s a pure joy) but also the décor. The restaurant has gone all out to make you feel as if you’re at home (if at home you wander around in silk pyjamas and eat eggs royale, that is).
The staff are all kitted out in pyjamas of varying hues, the huge menus are designed to look like broadsheet newspapers and there are retro alarm clocks on the tables.
There’s also a neatly made-up bed in the centre of the room. It’s a little odd to start with, but we soon get used to the relaxed weekend vibe and the effort to do something a little different.
When it comes to the food, the menu is à la carte. It’s simple really – you’ll be presented with tea, coffee, juices and a basket of freshly-baked bread and deliciously buttery, moreish croissants to start you off. Move on to your eggs, before diving into a huge selection of starters and mains. They’re all very sharing portion-sized, so you should order plenty to try.
Don’t miss the coquillettes des enfants, a delightfully creamy macaroni and cheese-style pasta dish, lifted by a drizzle of truffle oil. We also love a fresh mozzarella salad.
Bellies getting full, we still can’t resist the suggestion of the waitress to try the signature dish – octopus with cherry tomatoes, peppers and potatoes. A perfect size, it’s expertly cooked and delicious.
We’ve taken our time, and it feels joyously unhurried.
After a break it’s time for something sweet, so we opt to share a serving of a French-style crêpe and pillowy Belgian waffle. Both appear doused with rich chocolate sauce, vanilla ice cream and berries.
Our pick is the former, though both are are on a different scale than the kind you’d find on a generic hotel buffet. There’s a full desserts menu, too, but we can’t find the space (sadly).
With a wealth of well-presented, delicious dishes, and a buzzing yet relaxed vibe, we wish we could spend every Saturday like this. Dhs250 (soft drinks), Dhs380 (house beverages), Dhs496 (bubbly). Sat noon-4pm. Jumeirah Emirates Towers, Sheikh Zayed Road (04 352 7105).
The bottom line Excellent French food and a perfect pace for a Saturday afternoon.