Le Relais de L’Entrecôte

Steak and chips specialist opens in Dubai Festival City 11 Reviews

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Dubai is a city of plenty, which may explain why so many of its ‘international’ restaurants attempt to offer something for everyone on their menus. Very few succeed and instead render themselves as jack-of-all trades establishments where no dish truly excels. This attitude makes an entrecôte restaurant all the more appealing in a city such as ours. These restaurants don’t just specialise in one cuisine, but one dish: steak and fries.

Granted, I’m oversimplifying the tradition of l’entrecôte, which originated in France in the ’30s. Yet this simple concept is certainly a welcome arrival in Festival City, which is fast reinventing itself as one of Dubai’s premier culinary destinations (Jamie’s Italian and Hard Rock Café are scheduled to open this year). Situated on Marina Festival Walk, opposite the InterContinental, Le Relais de L’Entrecôte is a classic French bistro – inside it’s all, brass fittings, frosted glass windows, colourful tablecloths, dark-wood furniture and classic French advertisements framed on the walls. It’s the outside seating area, however, that really evokes the Parisian feel, though views of the Eiffel Tower and the River Seine are substituted for the creek and glittering Khalifa in the distance.

On our visit, my date and I were greeted by a pleasant waitress with a sing-song voice who offered us a drink. As much as a glass of red would have been a perfect way to start the evening, Le Relais was not yet licensed when we visited, though we were assured it would be in a matter of days. We settled for a Perrier each and allowed our hostess to further explain the concept of entrecôte: the steak is coated in a unique butter-based sauce, the recipe for which has traditionally been privy only to the Gineste de Saurs family, who founded Paris’s most famed entrecôte restaurants. Incidentally, it was one of the daughters of Paul Gineste de Saurs who founded this very restaurant in Dubai. Once diners polish off their steak and fries, they’re served seconds and then, if the appetite still persists, more fries still.

At Le Relais, the main course is preceded by a simple salad consisting only of lettuce leaves coated in a light Dijon sauce. While this didn’t look much when it was placed in front of us, the simple combination proved delicious and piqued our palates without filling us in slightest.

As with the starter, the entrecôte main didn’t look entirely appetising either – a small serving of steak covered in what looked to be some sort of pesto sauce, accompanied by a generous helping of golden (if not slightly dry-looking) French fries. I was also surprised (perhaps because I’m not overly familiar with entrecôte) that the main was served on a small, nondescript platter and was to be eaten without a steak knife. My surprise turned to delight when the dull blade I was given sliced effortlessly into the perfectly cooked cut of meat, which was complemented wonderfully by the butter-based sauce. Similarly, my initial misgivings about the fries were dispelled by their crisp texture and full taste. So simple, so effective, and so much – after polishing off the steak and the lion’s share of the fries, our waitress arrived with second helpings. As full as we were, it was impossible not to finish the contents of our plate just as quickly as before.

Our watchful waitress refused to acknowledge that we were done for the night, and insisted that we at least try a dessert. After having only one option for our main course, we were overwhelmed by the wealth of dessert choices. Still, we were in no position to refuse her charms, nor the temptations of profiteroles doused in thick chocolate sauce, or raspberry sorbet served with fresh raspberries– an indulgent, wholly unnecessary but excellent crescendo to the meal.

As good as it was, the meal could have been improved had the restaurant managed to secure its licence. If and when this happens, Le Relais may offer one of the best meals there is to be had this side of Garhoud Bridge. But the real litmus test will be whether the quality lasts once the French franchise owners return home. If what we experienced is anything to go by, the signs look good and Festival City could well have a jewel in its culinary crown to rival even the imminent arrival of Jamie’s Italian.

The bill (for two)
2x Entrecôte and fries Dhs250
1x Chocolate profiteroles Dhs38
1x Raspberry sorbet Dhs36
2x Perrier Dhs24
Total (including 10 per cent service) Dhs348

By Oliver Robinson
Time Out Dubai,

Time Out reviews restaurants anonymously and pays for meals. Of course, we cannot guarantee the accuracy or independence of user reviews.

Details

  • Location: Dubai Festival City Mall, Festival City, Dubai
  • Tel: 04 232 5208
  • Travel: Marina Pavilion

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Le Relais de L’Entrecôte On The Map

User reviews

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User reviews:

Posted by: Sandra on 22 Feb ' 13 at 19:05
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  • Would you go back to this restaurant? No

Let me start by saying that I am from Geneva and my partner from Paris. Le Relais de l'Entrecote was a regular red meat treat for the both of us in both cities. We simply love it!

Now...The first time we went to Le Relais at Festival city was 3 years ago when they had just open. At the time, the meat was served cold and despite sending it back to the cuisine, it came back, once again, cold. We decided that we would not come back for a while and give them time to adjust... After all, they had just open and probably needed some time to get it right.

In fact, we gave them 3 years before going back!!! Not having been in Geneva nore Paris for a couple of months and craving an original entrecote, we decided to give it a shot again last week.

I specifically asked the (very nice) waitress to make sure our meat is served hot... and guess what? It was served cold. The fries were hot, the sauce lukwearm and the meat cold. It is quite frustrating specially when you anticipate it and mention it in advance. The desert was a dissapointment as well... The restaurant was empty so had zero ambiance and the overall experience frustrating. Having to drive all the way to FC, pay a 100 dollars for 2 to eat cold meat in an empty room is just not what we expect when we go to a "Relais de l'Entrecote"...


Posted by: Imran on 08 Jun ' 12 at 13:26
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  • Would you go back to this restaurant? No

Edited by TimeOutDubai.com

The steak tastes nothing like at their sister restaurants in Paris & Geneva. The steak & sauce were cold. Whomever says otherwise hasn't been to the restaurant in either Paris or Geneva.

Posted by: PF on 25 Apr ' 11 at 11:16
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  • Best for: Business lunch
  • Would you go back to this restaurant? Yes

Felt being transported back to the original Relais in Paris!
Food was exquisite as well as service was impecable.
Its a plus that they are serving acoholic beverages.
Will Definitely go back!

Posted by: CT on 04 Jan ' 11 at 07:39
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  • Best for: Business lunch
  • Would you go back to this restaurant? Yes

The steak and the fries are excellent and almost identical to what you'd be served in the Parisian restaurant. The salad and desert (lemon & raspberry tart) on the other hand were unremarkable.

Drinks wise, the wine was decent but, as is typical in many Dubai restaurants, overpriced for what it was. AED 48 for a small "ballon" of red is pushing it.

So overall, the meal was good and a worthy addition to the Dubai restaurant scene. However, at nearly AED 400 for two (including one small glass wine and a desert) I feel it is poor value for money.

I will go again but, unless prices are revised downwards, not as often as I would have liked.

Posted by: jalal on 24 Dec ' 10 at 17:59
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  • Best for: Family friendly
  • Would you go back to this restaurant? Yes

it is the wright place for the real taste of the entrecote and the secret sauce with an assorted list of wine and their unique and marvolous desserts and in addition to that welcoming atmosphere and the attentive service offered by the restaurant team makes you feel like you are at home .i recommand all of you to pass by and try their specian steak topped with the secret sauce .

Posted by: MB on 21 Dec ' 10 at 09:38
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  • Would you go back to this restaurant? No

You should not have alcoholic beverages on the menu if they are not available. Also an explanation on the concept would help for first time visitors. Food tasted good and service was very attentive.
Value for money...for sure not. AED 125 for a green salad, french fries and a rib eye steak with cafe de paris sauce?
Not sure if Dubai is ready this...

Posted by: Jawad Saba on 19 Dec ' 10 at 18:06
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  • Best for: Family friendly
  • Would you go back to this restaurant? Yes

The atmosphere, and the service make for a great place to visit with the family and get a great value meal, delicious and filling.

Posted by: Rosie on 19 Dec ' 10 at 15:49
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  • Best for: Romantic
  • Would you go back to this restaurant? Yes

Very Tasty meat and Sauce.

Posted by: IG on 19 Dec ' 10 at 15:43
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  • Best for: Family friendly
  • Would you go back to this restaurant? Yes

Those who appreciate good cuisine will love this one. excellent steak and fries and a magnificent sauce.

Posted by: Juliette on 19 Dec ' 10 at 15:38
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  • Best for: Business lunch
  • Would you go back to this restaurant? Yes

Food are awesome, the real tatse of the French Entrecote... and the deserts looks irresistable...
this is much more than a normal steak house, it will be a destination for those who miss Paris, Geneva and Beirut....
wish it will be licenced soon... my experience there was awesome, and it starts with a lovely French greeting " Bonjourrrr" with a Tagalog accent, but never end with the sorbet... for sure i will visit it frequently... good luck

Posted by: Zeina on 18 Dec ' 10 at 12:38
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  • Best for: Romantic
  • Would you go back to this restaurant? No

The food and the service were horrible

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