Here in Dubai we’re lucky to have a wealth of top restaurants from world-famous chefs. And the even better news is that we will soon have another one.
While in town recently, three Michelin-starred chef Pierre Gagnaire talked to Time Out Dubai about his latest venture, which will be at the InterContinental Festival City.
The hotel is already home to the French chef’s café, Choix Patisserie and Restaurant par Pierre Gagnaire, which opened in 2014. His fine dining restaurant, Reflets, which was three times Time Out Dubai Restaurant of the Year, closed its doors at the InterContinental late last year, and the new venture will replace it.
Although we’re not yet privy to what the new restaurant will be called, Gagnaire is excited about the launch later this year, likely around September/October. “We can’t tell you the name,” he says. “We want it to be a surprise.”
What we do know is that the new restaurant will be set on the promenade level, overlooking the Creek. This new location is intended to be more relaxed than Reflets; still fine dining but more accessible and aimed at a younger audience. It will also be slightly bigger, with seating for 76 and a team of around 80.
“I’m not one for concepts, I’m about creating an experience. I want it to be more relaxed,” he says warmly, miming loosening a neck tie.
“I want to have people visit time and again, not just for it to be a once a year occasion.
“It’s not traditional, not modern, it’s… comfortable,” he adds about the décor and predicted atmosphere of the restaurant.
Gagnaire’s father was a chef, so he grew up around cooking. He’s been working in professional kitchens for 51 years, and now has 15 eateries around the world, including in Las Vegas, Tokyo, Moscow and most recently Acacia by Pierre Gagnaire in Saudi Arabia. He’s, of course, also behind the popular and famous Pierre Gagnaire in Paris and Sketch in London.
“I’m like a novelist. I take you on twists and turns to tell you a story [via the menu],” he says. “We might put a menu together and then in six months modify it.
“I enjoy cooking all flavours, from sugar to salt, from lobster to mackerel. It is important though the quality of the food.”
The new venture will be overseen by head chef Francois Xavier Simon, who has worked with Gagnaire for around eight years. They will use local ingredients where possible on the new menu, including dates, honey and camel milk.
In the meantime, Gagnaire comes to Dubai around three times a year to check in on his eateries. “I will stay for maybe a week, the rest of the time when I’m not travelling I’m in France, that’s my home,” he says, adding that he admires the passion for food in the emirate.
Stay close to Time Out Dubai for more details on the new opening.