Oscar's Vine Society

One regular diner explains his love of Oscar's in Dubai and why he wouldn't go anywhere else for a drop from his favourite grapes.

The place
Oscar’s Vine Society, Crowne Plaza Hotel, 04 331 1111

The diner
Mathieu Philippe lived all over the world before settling in Dubai six years ago years. A general manager in shipping, he lived in France for 10 years before moving to the UAE to open up a new branch of the company.

The routine
‘We actually have a club that started with just a couple of us, but over the years has grown to about 12 of us, all French. I like it because I work in the building just next door. As a Frenchman I try not to just eat a sandwich at my desk – long lunches are a way of life for us so it is good when we can take two or three hours over our meal.’

The usual
‘All of the food here is delicious and the head-chefs have worked in some of the most famous restaurants in France. They show real passion for their craft – I can’t think of any other restaurant where the chef will come down every night to check that the food is OK. I don’t have a favourite from the menu, everything is very well done, but I have asked the chef to start doing steak tartare – that is true French food and I miss it. I enjoy all kinds of wine and they have a very good menu here, but one of the best is the Gigondas, Grenache.’

Why he comes back
‘I remember during the Rugby World Cup last year I bumped into the head-chef in a bar and recognised him, so we got talking and became friendly. He is very open to suggestions about French food, what to try next in the kitchen and so on. The quality is excellent here – because the chefs are French they know the best places to get ingredients from. The food here is just as good as many other more expensive restaurants that I have tried in Dubai, but far more reasonable in price. Oscar’s is popular with French people because the food is authentic and it is a very friendly atmosphere. But for people who aren’t French the service is not intimidating, you can ask advice about what to try and which wine or cheese goes best because they are eager to help. I would recommend this place to anyone who wants to eat good food and drink nice wine – Oscar’s is always welcoming.’

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