The restaurant boasts exemplary British credentials: Mezzanine’s chef patron, Gary Robinson, spent seven years as personal chef to Prince Charles 34 Reviews
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On the same day Jacques Chirac joked that you can’t trust the British because their food is the second worst in Europe (after Finland, apparently), we visited the latest Dubai venture by a made-in-France hotel chain to evaluate his judgement. The restaurant boasts exemplary British credentials: Mezzanine’s chef patron, Gary Robinson, spent seven years as personal chef to Prince Charles. Charlie may or may not be fit to be a monarch, but after 2,555 spectacularly good hot dinners, he has certainly dined like a king. From the complimentary appetisers – tomatoes stuffed with white mushrooms and parmesan cheese – to the bite-sized sweets that softened the blow of the large bill, we felt somewhat regal ourselves.
My friend’s starter, from a fish-dominated list, was a highlight of the meal. Surrounded by a salad of fennel and cucumber and accompanied by thick slices of sweet toasted brioche, a pot of shrimps contained vivid and potent flavours. Sweet nutmeg and saline shellfish, chilled to enhance the flavours, mingled beneath a lid made of frozen butter. I was almost as impressed with my sea scallops, which melted in the mouth instantly, belying their bronze-edged and impermeable appearance. These were circled by an immaculately creamy risotto, simmering with hints of parsley and lemon.
The mains weren’t quite so superb. There wasn’t much meat on my two racks of lamb but the tender helping soaked up a perfect, Meaux mustard-tinged gravy, and rested on velvety mashed potatoes elaborated by celeriac. An adorably tiny square pot of Shepherd’s pie – with potatoes of near-evaporable texture and a thin but stridently flavoured beef mince sauce – completed the dish. My tablemate’s poached sea bass was served alongside a gutsy mixture of crunchy green beans, whole pepper kernels, sprigs of parsley and fabulously juicy girolle mushrooms. The dish connoted rural England in its rich woodsy flavours and the fish, except for a few tiny bones, was of model flavour and consistency.
There was no letdown with dessert. A gelatinous summer fruits compote quivered on a moist, chilled and spongy base, and was decorated with dashes of almond cream – like liquid marzipan – and fresh berry sauce. My friend’s Cox’s apple mousse was thick and natural-tasting and came with thin wafers of dried apple and little pods of cinnamon jelly.
The décor is agreeably eccentric. Everything from the chandeliers to the candlesticks and antique white cabinets are encased in glass, lending the space a slightly eerie museum-like atmosphere (thrice-ruined on our visit by loud renditions of ‘Happy Birthday’). Large glass walls seem to encase the diners themselves, while mammoth and bulbous red vases bursting with lofty ruby flowers distort senses of proportion. The dominant colour is white, but lime green lighting bounces off walls and fractures on glass edges. All these subtle abstractions contrast nicely with the bold and pure flavours of the dishes on offer. Mezzanine marks a high for Anglocentric fine dining in the region and proves that the French president was, as The Sun’s front page put it, ‘talking crêpe’.By Matthew Lee
- Previous reviews
- 22 March,2012- reviewed by Time Out Dubai staff
- 24 March,2011- reviewed by Time Out Dubai staff
- 23 March,2011- reviewed by Time Out Dubai staff
- 24 March,2010- reviewed by Time Out Dubai staff
- 04 January,2010- reviewed by Catherine Jarvie
- 17 March,2009- reviewed by Time Out Dubai staff
- 16 February,2009- reviewed by Daisy Carrington
- 28 April,2008- reviewed by James Alexander
- 26 March,2008- reviewed by Jeremy Lawrence
- 19 September,2007- reviewed by TimeOut Dubai Staff
- 12 March,2007- reviewed by Time Out Dubai Staff
- 07 March,2007- reviewed by Time Out Dubai Staff
- 27 April,2006- reviewed by Time Out Dubai
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