Reflets par Pierre Gagnaire

High class French food from one of the world's greatest chefs 30 Reviews

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When I was a mere slip of a girl, long before life and a merry barrage of restaurant reviews ruined me, one of my most prized possessions was a pretty, mirrored jewellery box given to me as a birthday gift. To my child’s eye, it was a sumptuous thing, luxuriously upholstered in rich red and home to its very own twirling ballerina. That it was, in fact, comprised of little more than padded polyester stretched over painted balsa wood and accessorised with a few glued-on reflective baubles was neither here nor there; to me it represented glamour and promise in one tidy musical bundle.

Fast-forward a decade or three and I had completely forgotten about this little piece of my childhood. Until I paid a visit last week to Reflets Par Pierre Gagnaire, the latest restaurant in a string of international hits by six-time Michelin-starred French chef Pierre Gagnaire.

The impressive, if rather sterile, lobby of Festival City’s imposing new Intercontinental Hotel offered no indication of the treasure within. A short lift ride, however, and the world changed. Slick marble gives way to lush purple carpet so thick that walking on it in my four-inch heels felt like wading tipsily through candyfloss; pink chandeliers flank mirror-lined walls in which soft candlelight is endlessly reflected. But it was upon entering the mirrored, crystalled dining room proper that I realise what we have really entered: the life-size jewellery box of my childhood imagination (just check out those padded banquettes).

My companion and I look at one another in glee as a table of amuse bouches is laid before us. That’s right – a table, groaning with delicate oral sculptures, including a wonderfully unctuous smoked eel, various colourful vegetable purees, and two tiny rolls of truffle butter presented on a bed of ice that, we are assured, could be enjoyed on their own ‘like a bon-bon’. So excited am I by the sheer gastro pleasure that I even break a long-term personal ban against eating red meat, greedily popping a ball of beef tartare into my mouth with a satisfied snap.

After perusing the relatively small – but perfectly formed – menu, my inclination is to try out one of the intriguing fruit-based soups. But I am swayed at the last minute by restaurant manager Etienne Haro, whose obvious passion for Reflets and intimate knowledge of its menu leaves me convinced that I am placing my palette in capable hands.

On his advice I opt instead for the chicken Pascaline. I still can’t quite believe it as I type – chicken is generally seen as the ‘safe’ (read: boring) choice for restaurant dining and even then it is definitely more ‘main’ than ‘starter’, but this thing has to be tasted to be believed. Arriving, as most things do in Reflets, in parts, the dish is layered at the table, a creamy foie gras-infused broth poured over a shallow bowl of delicate truffled mash, the sumptuously tender chicken placed to the side. So engrossed am I in this ritual that I almost miss a similarly profound ceremony being acted out to my left, as my dining companion’s spicy gambas tigre (tiger prawns) are encircled by a constellation of accompaniments.

‘It’s all a bit like Heston whatshisname,’ my partner remarked. Indeed. The cooking styles may differ (there’s no dry ice or other culinary magic tricks to be seen), but there is a link to be made: Monsieur Gagnaire is widely credited as the man who coined the phrase ‘molecular gastronomy’, the style of chemical cookery for which top Brit chef Heston Blumenthal – he of the snail porridge and bacon and egg ice cream – is famed. My partner is unimpressed, however, when I remark that the intriguing clear jelly of sharply sweet tomato with a slightly disconcerting solid green centre that is Jupiter to his dish’s Sun resembles an eyeball. Who can blame him? But in truth it is merely a ruse, an opportunity to snaffle some of those gambas while I can.

A brief arrestment between courses brings theatre in the form of a personal introduction to the mighty blue lobster that will serve (or rather be served) as my main. This place, we comment with giggling affirmation, is pure theatre. Already feeling like we were starring in our own divine gastronomic comedy, it was time for a break between acts two and three.

While we realise that ventures to the, ahem, powder room, rarely, if ever, feature in restaurant reviews, at Reflets, they’re almost worthy of a write-up of their own. Let’s just say that the English translation of the restaurant’s name – reflections – is taken, floor-to-ceiling, rather too literally. The sense of being in a (slightly pornographic) jewel box returns with a deliciously twisted thud.

Next up, my dinnermate is served a baby-soft cut of rose-hued veal (we have been assured that all ingredients, from the baby cow to the liver-bloated geese, have been raised in the best conditions known to animal husbandry) presented with, among other astonishing extras, a snail-flecked sauce. My blue Atlantic lobster, meanwhile, is (would we expect otherwise by this point?) a triumph, both meaty and delicate in flavour and texture.

Which segues us nicely – via a tasty ‘dish’ of cheese complete with compote and ‘white chocolate pearls’ – into dessert. While my partner remains resolute in his first choice – layers of light pastry heaven in the form of ‘Le Feuilletage’ that is, once again, presented performance-style à la table – I, yet again, fall prey to the urging of our ever genial host, moving away from my original selection to sample ‘Le Texture’. It’s a winning choice, its sweet ’n’ sharp, crunchy ’n’ soft combination of miniature meringues, frozen berries and the like presented, rather fittingly, like a mound of precious gemstones encircled with a string of marzipan pearls.

It was the jewel in the crown of an astonishing meal in an astonishing new restaurant. When Michelin pays its visit to Dubai, we won’t be at all surprised if this gem is awarded a glittering treasure of its own.

The Bill
2x Glass champagne Dhs230
1x Pascaline Dhs180
1x Gambas Dhs190
1x Lobster Dhs450
1x Veal Dhs320
1x Glass Riesling Dhs80
1x Auvergne cheese plate Dhs120
1x Texture Dhs110
1x Feuilletage Dhs110
2x Espresso Dhs40
Total (including service) Dhs1,930

By Becky Lucas

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

Details

  • Location: InterContinental Dubai Festival City, Festival City, Dubai
  • Tel: 04 701 1127
  • Travel: Al Rebat Street
  • Website | Send mail

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User reviews

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DecorFoodOverall
  • Users voted this restaurant most suitable for: Romantic

User reviews:

Posted by: hashaam sheikh on 04 Mar ' 14 at 16:18

one of the best restaurants in dubai!! amazing food.

Posted by: marina on 30 Jan ' 14 at 13:13
OverallDecorService
FoodAmbienceValue
  • Best for: Romantic
  • Would you go back to this restaurant? No

We go to Reflets once or twice a year and have been for the last 5 years. I am afraid to say that it has gone from WOAW to BOF (as the French say).
At first everything was perfect; attentive service, incredible tasting menu, wonderful setting...

Over the years there has been a evident decline - to name a few issues: the tasting menu has been reduced, the service is a lot less attentive (e.g. waiting an eternity for the sommelier to take the wine order and a further 20 minutes for the bottle to arrive, having half of a dining party served and their food explained while the rest sit with no food, having staff who struggle to articulate the complex food which is being served).

It is still a very nice restaurant, but a far cry from its flawless debuts.

And to add insult to injury if you happen to be there when Chef Gagnaire is there too, do not expect any small talk or social mingling. In fact, if you get a mumbled "bonsoir" you will be lucky!

All in all, a disappointing result as Reflets used to be one of THE best restaurants in Dubai.

Posted by: Matthieu Fassy on 15 Feb ' 13 at 08:16
OverallDecorService
FoodAmbienceValue
  • Best for: Romantic
  • Would you go back to this restaurant? Yes

‘C'est si bon’, lovers say that in France when they thrill to romance It means that it's so good! Yes, Reflets by Pierre Gagnaire is never a disappointment and as time passes, just like a good wine his chef Olivier Biles improves and matures… Surprising, original, creative, the ‘Menu de la Saint Valentin’ was smashing!!! I was stunned by the ‘Cockles velouté with water cress, lichette of pata negra’, blown away by the ‘Scallops from Normandie in a suc of Calvados cider, lichette of farmhouse camembert cheese’ and bewildered by the ‘Filet and pascaline of veal Demi-Deuil’ generously accompanied with some grated Black Truffle! I am not that much of a fan of deserts in general especially after a hearty meal but the ‘Brittany sable with wild strawberries’ closed the party very lightly and elegantly! As for the wine pairing there was no ‘faux pas’ and I was thrilled to discover a fresh Roussane, Cuilleron 2010 as well as a powerful Californian Pinot noir 2006 (Morgan “Twelves Clones”). Voila!!! On top of that flawless culinary experience, the service was impeccable!!! ‘Chapeau Bas’ to whole Team for the show and thank you so much to Olivier and Hugo you guys really rock!!! C’est si bon la Vie en Rose!

Posted by: Tina on 14 Feb ' 13 at 04:53
OverallDecorService
FoodAmbienceValue
  • Best for: Romantic
  • Would you go back to this restaurant? No

Im no food critic, but that was by far the worst experience I have ever had and I paid 1,250/- for it.
A piece of lamb that was 90% fat, a chocolate mousse that was raw and "potato gratin"...Im sorry but that was sand.
What felt like a pooly managed franchise fell short to Dubai pearls like Gary Rhodes and Table 9 by Nick and Scott. Puff pastry...really?
Worst part, I left the restaurant telling the manager I had a good night.

Posted by: Katy on 27 Jun ' 12 at 22:02
OverallDecorService
FoodAmbienceValue
  • Best for: Business lunch
  • Would you go back to this restaurant? Yes

Amazing food , Wonderful Restaurant and Highly Professional Staff!!!
I'll be back soon and suggest to everyone!!

Posted by: JB on 31 Jan ' 12 at 13:44
OverallDecorService
FoodAmbienceValue
  • Best for: Romantic
  • Would you go back to this restaurant? Yes


An unforgettable experience, from the pleasure of the eyes to the pleasure of eating this place is the best in town far away from any other which becomes “Bistro” instead of restaurants ! I am not even talking about the Chateau Monbrison we had which was a nectar.... Special thanks to the assistant manager who was extremely nice with us until we leave the place (at half past midnight !!!)
Cant wait to go back with an event to celebrate !

Posted by: Gigi on 13 Jun ' 11 at 05:51
OverallDecorService
FoodAmbienceValue
  • Best for: Romantic
  • Would you go back to this restaurant? Yes

Food was on par with Gagnaire's London restaurant Sketch more than his eponymous 3 Michelin-starred restaurant in Paris. The decor was also quite Sketch-inspired, with kitsch pink chandeliers and completely mirrored toilets. We had the "grand menu" composed of 7 dishes and though the gambas dish was uninspiring and had only a few measly mini-gambas in a broth that made it seem like pub food more than anything. The other dishes, however, were sublime, including a wonderful pigeon main course and an inventive cheese course. Our maitre d' and sommelier were both very knowledgeable and service was generally good, except for one instance where the gentleman with the digestif cart kept ignoring my girlfriend's request to have a cognac, instead insisting on fruity schnapps which were "more pleasing to women". When she insisted that she wanted a cognac, he then suggested an Armagnac because it had slightly more "feminine flavors" and that she would like it more. A very odd (and somewhat sexist?) misstep coming at the end of what was otherwise excellent service. Will definitely go again: though you pay a lot you never feel cheated as the cuisine is one of the best in Dubai, the portions are generous and you are constantly given free things to nibble on.

Posted by: Moza on 20 May ' 11 at 21:50
OverallDecorService
FoodAmbienceValue
  • Best for: Business lunch
  • Would you go back to this restaurant? Yes

The best French cuisine in Dubai so far!
Highly recommended, everything I had was so tasty and nicely cooked!

Posted by: Lars on 28 Apr ' 11 at 08:09
OverallDecorService
FoodAmbienceValue
  • Best for: Romantic
  • Would you go back to this restaurant? Yes

I have been traveling for a while and I have seen a few restaurants out there. However the Reflets certainly is among the best. Outstanding service, decent and prompt attentiveness, fascinating quality and perfect ambiance. A truly unique experience and certainly the best Restaurant in the UAE.

Posted by: Zain Al Thawadi on 26 Apr ' 11 at 08:50
OverallDecorService
FoodAmbienceValue
  • Best for: Romantic
  • Would you go back to this restaurant? Yes

From the second we arrived in, to the very last second we left, we were attended by the most wonderful staff and service. The food is a work of genius. The experience was astonishing, and we are so lucky to have access to it in the GCC. This is something we will be talking about for the rest of our lives.

Zain

Posted by: Danielle on 07 Apr ' 11 at 15:35
OverallDecorService
FoodAmbienceValue
  • Best for: Romantic
  • Would you go back to this restaurant? Yes

The service is impeccable. I have visited twice, and the staff remembered me! Incredible commitment to their job, and always unfailingly polite, with a smile on their faces and a genuine interest in your welfare. The food is always beautifully presented, and innovative, with combinations that I have never seen before, and I am experienced in the art of fine dining. While not for those on a budget, the value of the meal is most definitely worth it, as it is not a meal, but an experience. The decor is stunning, so different, and sets it on a higher level than other Dubai restaurants. I cannot wait to return.

P.S. Service starts from the moment you step out of the private elevator into the restaurant to getting your car from the valet.

Posted by: Gareth Hopkins on 01 Apr ' 11 at 06:33
OverallDecorService
FoodAmbienceValue
  • Best for: Family friendly
  • Would you go back to this restaurant? Yes

We had a family birthday celebration here a day after they won their restuarant award, which was well deserved. I have not experienced service like it in Dubai or for that matter in some of the so called well to do establishments in London. Hats off to the Maitre'd, the Sommelier and their well trained staff.
I don't mind paying extra for the kind of art in the form of food served up here, which sacrificed nothing in taste or quantity at the expense of aesthetic presentation.
Absolutely, outstanding. Others in Dubai should aspire to achieve the same to justify their price tag but without the delivery of all round quality!

Posted by: Dr. Raji Mathew on 19 Feb ' 11 at 17:36
OverallDecorService
FoodAmbienceValue
  • Best for: Romantic
  • Would you go back to this restaurant? Yes

My wife and I came here on the 17th of Feb. to experience what the best of European restaurant has to offer without burning too big a hole in the pocket, so we settled for a 3 course business lunch.
My red lunch wine was a mixture 3 different wines of which 2 distinctive ones which I could appreciate were Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. The mocktail ordered came in 3 shot glasses of different coloured juices made from never heard of combinations of fruit and vegetables. The colour and presentation was wonderful.
The amouse bouche were exactly that and came as 3 different preparations to savour.
Then came 3 different preparations of sweet onions. One of these was changed to a succulent lamb steak as in view of mushroom allergy which was taken note of beforehand.
Main dish was seabass. Here the flavour was distinctly lacking which was a surprise, this being the main course. Rice or some other side dish was desirable here.
3 different sweet treats. One with pistachio beat the rest. To bring the event to an end chocolate truffle and chocolate mascarpone were presented.
The service was non intrusive and thankfully devoid of "how is the food", to which you can only mumble one thing unless you're really upset and don't mind being nasty.
Would like to come again and try out from either the a la carte or special Chefs menu.

Posted by: devourbyk on 01 Feb ' 11 at 12:50
OverallDecorService
FoodAmbienceValue
  • Best for: Romantic
  • Would you go back to this restaurant? Yes

I love this restaurant and have been there several times since the opening and it has never dissapointed.

Truly magical gastronomic experience.

Posted by: Jessica on 06 Nov ' 10 at 07:44
OverallDecorService
FoodAmbienceValue
  • Best for: Romantic
  • Would you go back to this restaurant? Yes

The most spectacular restaurant in Dubai by a mile!
The food was exceptional, service outstanding the overall experience was unforgettable. From the greeting at the door you know you are in for something really special. This restaurant is the perfect place for a special occasion or if you really want to treat yourself to fine dining at its best.The pace was set so that we could take in all the flavours and experience.
The Manager Dennis has created a fantastic attentive team who are incredibly friendly, knowledgeable and professional.
We will be back!

Posted by: ANNA on 27 Oct ' 10 at 11:41
OverallDecorService
FoodAmbienceValue
  • Best for: Business lunch
  • Would you go back to this restaurant? Yes

I just had the most beautiful lunch today..2 years now in Dubai and I must say it is one of the best experience... really amazing. everything was excellent....taste, presentation and service. And top it all, Chef Pierre was there today to say hello!

Posted by: Marc on 26 Oct ' 10 at 07:15
OverallDecorService
FoodAmbienceValue
  • Best for: Romantic
  • Would you go back to this restaurant? Yes

Amazing experience, especially that Pierre Gagnaire himself was there...

Posted by: Stefan on 01 Oct ' 10 at 14:13
OverallDecorService
FoodAmbienceValue
  • Best for: Brunch served
  • Would you go back to this restaurant? Yes

For a romantic, friendly gastronomic dinner that's the place in the Middle East... Incredible service.. Incredible food experience comparable with the best tables in NYC, Paris, Tokyo or London really international high end standards. For lunch or for brunch (180 dhs ONLY !!) you can have a sample of the magic of among one of the best French cuisine in 2010...
A must try place !!

Posted by: UAE Monticristo on 25 Jul ' 10 at 18:58
OverallDecorService
FoodAmbienceValue
  • Would you go back to this restaurant? Yes

i have been three times to the Reflets Restaurant i can garantty you its worth your time and experience for your taste buds.

the chef never faile's to amaze you with the menu. and the restaurant assitent manager Mr. Dennis Tels, is always there to fix or even to make sure yo are getting your oney's worth for this exqusite culunery expeience.

as for the review for Mr. Ahmed i can only say its a shame that your not at the level to understand true michlen star restaurant experience.

i can definetly garantee that this will not be my last eperience at this restaurant.

Posted by: Ahmed on 23 Jul ' 10 at 12:16
OverallDecorService
FoodAmbienceValue
  • Would you go back to this restaurant? No

The service was amazing ,but the food was disappointing.
In general, I didn't understand anything from the menu which made me asking the waiters for help. They were helpful and too chatty.
The food was like little bits with unbalanced mixture btween seafood to lame to cheeses. I paid more than 1,200 Dhs without alcohol drinks. I think the food was overpriced.
Honestly.. I lost my trust with "timeout" recommendations.

Posted by: Liewy (UK) on 14 Jul ' 10 at 12:55
OverallDecorService
FoodAmbienceValue
  • Best for: Romantic
  • Would you go back to this restaurant? Yes

The highlight of a recent visit to Dubai. Food and service were nothing short of AMAZING!! Myself and my company opted for the tasting menu. Each course was exciting, imaginative and perfectly executed.
This was the meal of my life....so far. Pretty sure it will be hard to top!!
Many thanks to the staff and long may you success continue!! An absolute must visit for anyone visiting Dubai!!!

Posted by: Dimo Valev on 17 Jun ' 10 at 09:41
OverallDecorService
FoodAmbienceValue
  • Best for: Romantic
  • Would you go back to this restaurant? Yes

“Reflets Par Pierre Gagnaire” is an absolutely amazing and unique experience you should try at least once in your life. We enjoyed every single minute spent in this magic place, where harmony and perfection meet together. Each dish was a pleasure for the eyes and the palate, and this faerie of sensations was complemented by the great wine selection. The notion of time disappeared completely, and we felt like floating on the waves of happiness.

Special thanks to Mr. Dennis Tels, the assistant manager, and to all the other people from the restaurant who made our stay unforgettable.

Posted by: Lena on 23 May ' 10 at 11:05
OverallDecorService
FoodAmbienceValue
  • Best for: Romantic
  • Would you go back to this restaurant? No

Sublime experience, the food exquisite and the service impeccable, each perfect dish perfectly balanced in flavours and texture. The wine list can be intimidating but super-friendly sommelier is on hand to guide you through.
The décor is beautiful, tables set far apart so ideal for a romantic evening.

All in all perfect and by far the best restaurant in Dubai – the only reason I wont return is I cant afford to!

Posted by: Noor on 06 Apr ' 10 at 17:37
OverallDecorService
FoodAmbienceValue
  • Best for: Romantic
  • Would you go back to this restaurant? Yes

We had a great experience here. I especially appreciated the non alcoholic Champagne.....and the story behind each dish....
yes you will pay much more for the chicken dish in this restaurant and the reason: the chicken in reflets is given a whole room to run in rather than congest so many in one place !!! This is one of the stories they will tell you.
Not to forget about the drop of aged soya sauce...aged for how long? 50 years!!
Nice experience but prepare for the huge bill (in our case 1900 dhs a dinner for 2)
Oh yeah.....they dont mention the prices in their menu....otherwise you will jump out of the window before the start of the meal.....!

Posted by: Thomas Norberg on 05 Mar ' 10 at 15:52
OverallDecorService
FoodAmbienceValue
  • Best for: Romantic
  • Would you go back to this restaurant? Yes

Out of this world. French Three Star Michelin finally arrives in Dubai.

Posted by: Thomas Norberg on 05 Mar ' 10 at 15:48
OverallDecorService
FoodAmbienceValue
  • Best for: Business lunch
  • Would you go back to this restaurant? Yes

Great Food. Great Service. Sets the standard for fine dining in Dubai. Restaurant Director, Etienne Haro is on the top of his game.

Posted by: Jean-Louis on 31 Oct ' 09 at 11:26
OverallDecorService
FoodAmbienceValue
  • Best for: Business lunch
  • Would you go back to this restaurant? Yes

Reflet's business lunch is an amazing bargain. It is everything you might expect from a three-star Michelin chef. We are lucky to have this restaurant in Dubai. We will be indulging in the amazing 3 course menu at least once a month. Amazing experience, food and service. You can understand why this restaurant is ranked in the top 100 in the world. (Number 100 on the list, actually)

Posted by: Andrew on 26 May ' 09 at 09:12
OverallDecorService
FoodAmbienceValue
  • Best for: Romantic
  • Would you go back to this restaurant? Yes

Simply outstanding food and service. Wine prices were on a par with other restaruants in Dubai - though the wine flight which could be chosen to accompany the tasting menu was excellent value given the quality of the wines on offer. Wait staff were excellent and knew all the details of the food and wine.

Posted by: Ali on 15 Feb ' 09 at 08:08
OverallDecorService
FoodAmbienceValue
  • Best for: Romantic
  • Would you go back to this restaurant? Yes

This was an adventure, unique dishes, very brave ingredients and fantastic wines. If you want top quality food from a diverse menu then this is for you. The service was also very good and the sommelier was outstanding! Can't wait to go back.

Posted by: bobby chops on 23 Oct ' 08 at 07:05
OverallDecorService
FoodAmbienceValue
  • Best for: Romantic
  • Would you go back to this restaurant? Yes

Amazing. Has to be the first port of call when Mitchelin start handing out stars. Wine prices, as everywhere in Dubai, lets it down on the value. Special praise for the Enter The Dragon-style toilets. Certainly somewhere everyone should visit for tea, Mr Braithwaite.

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