Petrossian Boutique & Café

This French bistro's ambiance is let down by poor produce
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Time Out Says

Petrossian, a brand first founded by the Armenian Petrossian family in Paris, but now with branches from Las Vegas to Sao Paulo, specialises in those most expensive of east European edibles, caviar and smoked salmon. Given Dubai’s love of luxury, it was a natural fit when this high-end deli and restaurant dining space opened in Dubai Mall towards the end of April.

Visiting over the Eid weekend, when nearly every venue in the mall was crammed to the rafters, I was surprised to find Petrossian frequented by hardly any diners, perhaps deterred by the suggestion of high-expense offerings at the entrance.

Inside, every manner of temptation, tinned but exclusive (from caviar, to truffles and foie gras) lined the display shelves and counters, and the space itself was attractive and inviting. Between the marine-inspired stain-glass motifs in a soft spectrum of blues, bistro tables, tiled flooring and soft sounds of a French crooner on the stereo overhead, Petrossian signified the Parisian bistros of a bygone era. Although the heady French atmosphere may have been broken slightly by paper napkins, elaborately folded on the tables.

The serving staff too, were equally welcoming, eager even to see a dine-in customer. Throughout our meal, the serving staff shone out as being well-trained and professional in the formal sense, but they lacked a certain polish and confidence that suggested they suffered from a lack of practise.

Since caviar is the primary raison d’etre at Petrossian, my friend and I decided to start with one of several varieties on the list, which stretched in price right up to thousands of dirhams for beluga. Since that was quite some way out of our price range, after the waitress offered informative advice on the flavour profile of different varieties, we opted for the very smallest size (12g) of the Alverta Imperial at Dhs180. According to the menu, the caviar would be teamed with blini, toast and condiments. On this occasion, the waitress explained that the stock of blini brought in from France had run out and we had to resign ourselves to white and brown toast.

What actually arrived was a selection of white and brown bread, not of particularly exceptional quality to match such a premium product, and not actually toasted, it seemed (but that is by the by). It was accompanied, very unconventionally, with sweet, whipped cream, which despite being described as ‘fresh’ tasted rather like UHT. It’s a real shame to splash out on a treat like caviar and find it marred in this way. If we had of been able to afford and order the beluga, I’d be significantly more unhappy. You don’t sprinkle gold dust on mud, do you?

Moving on from this disappointment, my friend tucked into the umberto salad, a mixture of tomato, mozzarella and rocket sprinkled with a little more Alverta Imperial. The portion was small, although my friend insisted it was filling, and the mozzarella had a rather unusual taste to it that suggested it wasn’t of the best or freshest quality. I tried the Petrossian house special sandwich, stuffed with smoked salmon and crab. It arrived looking spectacularly presented on a black slate board, with the top to the side of this large sandwich, revealing the neat pink curls of salmon underneath. It wasn’t bad, but the crab was watery and the overall combination dry and lacking in flavour.

We also sampled the chocolate brownie and the trio of chocolate mousse. While they were not disastrous, neither was anything special; the brownie was sponge cake, not a brownie and too much gelatine had been added to the mousse and it lacked a distinct chocolate flavour. Still, I can tell you that Petrossian made us a nice coffee from a pleasant house blend.

Although the setting is lovely and the service can warm up with time, until the ingredients improve, this dining option can’t offer the fine experience it seems to present.

By Time Out Dubai staff  | 27 Aug 2013

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Details

CuisinesFrench
10:00 AM to 11:00 PM
Sunday: 10:00 AM to 11:00 PMMonday: 10:00 AM to 11:00 PMTuesday: 10:00 AM to 11:00 PMWednesday: 10:00 AM to 11:00 PMSaturday: 10:00 AM to 11:00 PM
Show number 04 325 3204
Dubai, Downtown Dubai, Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Boulevard Dubai - United Arab Emirates
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