Bagatelle. The Fairmont, Sheikh Zyed Road. A new French place for Dubai’s sophisticated party people.It’s not every night that you can have dinner with The Incredible Hulk, Muhammad Ali and Andy Warhol. But at Bagatelle, a smart new French restaurant at The Fairmont, these characters are all there, on the walls in the form of Pop Art portraits.The restaurant has come from New York’s Meatpacking district so it has plenty of cool points already. Inside, it’s a white space with blasts of colour coming from the art work. The staff looked cool in their loafers with no socks and the sommelier had a rather nice bow tie on. It’s so glamorous and dressy with chandeliers embedded in the ceiling and candelabras on the bar.It reminded us of Dubai’s heavyweight French restaurants La Petite Maison and La Serre,Probably the best two spots in the city, so in terms of atmosphere it’s on the right path. The food is Mediterranean and meant to be shared, which is fortunate because the portions were generous. We’ll come to our dessert later but it could have fed a family of four (our waiter laughed and insisted he could finish one all on his own).Everyone in the restaurant was ordering the truffle pizza so we followed suit to see what all the fuss was about. The crispy crust was perfect, as was the fior de latte cheese. You can order a version with truffle puree for AED 125 or add shavings of fresh truffle for an extra AED 95. The shavings bullied the cheese so we scraped most of them off (sacrilege, we know) but it’s a show-stopper for a dish. It’s also a sign that Bagatelle is an unpretentious place as you feel free to pick up a slice with your fingers.Two salads (endive for AED 90 and choux fisses for AED 55) were pretty and surprisingly substantial. The endive came with gorgeous slices of goose ham and pear but sadly, the crumbs of blue cheese were feeble in flavour. The other salad of baby kale had fleshy cubes of pumpkin, pecans and parmesan. They were a little hasty at times—maybe they wanted to add to the restaurant’s energy with rapid service.Where Bagatelle really hit the bullseye was the meat. A plate of lamb (AED 185) was manly and massive: three salty, juicy, tender chops plus three crispy ribs. Take our advice, the side dish to order with this is a mini pot of ratatuille (AED 40). The faux wagyu filet (AED 330) was also oozing with juice and buttery naughtiness.Talking of devilish diary products, let’s return to the dessert we mentioned earlier. Le Tipsy Cake (AED 75) is a must-order dish. Two circles of mini bread puffs came to the table in the pan in which they had been cooked, ten in the outer ring, three on the inner. Tear one off and dip in either salty caramel, almond cream, or dark chocolate. And then dip another one. And then another. Your trousers will be saying stop, but your stomach will be yelling for more.You won’t know whether to look at the food on your plate or the art on the walls such as Andy Warhol’s 1966 Cow.Rating 7.5 out of 10
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