Saturday, September 20, 2014

Frioul - Bistro de Luxe: A new concept of 'luxe' in Madinat Jumeirah

Last week I had the chance to try out the new Frioul Bistro de Luxe in Madinat Jumeirah in their soft opening stage.

My first impression was that it reminded me a bit of La Petite Maison, which I think their food is 
delicious. Granted it's on the pricey side, I truly think their quality and flavor pays off. So with that in mind, I was pretty intrigued.

We were greeted to the soulful sounds of the live jazz singer which I loved. Very spacious, the interior was very clean in color with everything mainly in white with subtle warm tones. I also loved the large open kitchen where you can see the chefs cooking the dishes flying out the pass. The dress code didn't seem as formal as LPM, the crowd was a mix of formal and smart casual which I liked.

Aside of the airy dining area, the other two parts were part lounge and part mural/painter-in-action area. I haven't seen this concept before. I'm not sure if this was part of the opening or if this is an ongoing thing they'd be doing. I sure hope they do. It gave the place a sense of character and edginess which a lot of bars/restaurants in Dubai can lack.

I'm going to be honest and say service was a little shaky which is why soft openings are there. Another thing I've realised is since I now work and understand more about the restaurant industry, I sympathise a lot more with restaurants especially new ones when they have their mishaps. It's really not as easy as some might think. Disclaimer over but just thought you should know.

A friendly server came round with assorted breads and dips. As a group of 4, we were all not too impressed with this. The bread didn't taste too fresh or warm and the dips were lacking in seasoning.

On to the the menu, it had French flair with majority of seafood items along with the classic duck, frog, steak, etc. I personally would have liked to see snails on the menu.

On to the real 'feast' for the night, we ordered bits and bobs off the menu.  We were noted that their concept is a 'sharing' concept, especially for mains. Interesting... Here's my picture diary of the night. Please mind the weird lines in the photos from the lighting, I noted it to the restaurant as well.

Starting off with tapas of 'frog legs, parsley, garlic puree'...

My first time trying frog actually. It tasted a lot like chicken. Didn't taste much of the garlic puree but the parsley flavor was very strong. This was alright, I believe it could have had a little more seasoning and maybe a bit of tang to counter off the overpowering parsley. I have a very thin line when it comes to parsley.

Next up was the 'poached lobster, heirloom tomato, peach salad'.

The lobster was cooked very well and tasted fresh. I loved the medley of tomatoes. I wish the peaches were a little cooked as they were a little hard to cut into. Other than that, I really enjoyed this. Highly recommended.

We followed with the 'red prawns, chilli, mango, mint'.

This was just eye candy for you. The colors were gorgeous! My favorite dish of the night. I love mango with prawn and this was a delight. If you want to try a less pricey version, try the 'kataifi phyllo wrapped prawns' at Markette in Dubai Mall. Similar flavors and has an addition of crunchy phyllo pastry wrapped around the prawns. Deelish if I do say so myself.

'Steamed cod, fricasee of vegetables, lemongrass' was next.

This was pretty good. Buttery cod, cooked very well, al dente vegetables with a hint of lemongrass. My sister and I really enjoyed this one even though the rest didn't. I would've liked a touch more of salt.

I really enjoy when fish is cooked 'en papillote' so we ordered the 'seabass, lemon, fennel, radish'. Sorry there's no image for this one. We didn't think the fish was juicy enough and quite honestly, it was a very thin piece of fish. I think they needed to add a lot more substance to this dish. The flavors were alright but I was pretty bothered at how small it was. When ordering sea bass at other high end restaurants, you always get a more substantial piece of fish.

At this point we were still somewhat hungry so we opted for the 'cured salmon, sweet & sour shallots, leek, camembert pizzetta'.

Came out a little smaller than we had hoped. We all thought it was a little dry and the shallots were very overpowering. It wasn't a very memorable pizza.

We decided to end the night with two desserts, first was the 'salted caramel sachertorte'...

Second was 'chouquettes with chocolate sauce, vanilla ice cream'.

The sachertorte didn't taste much of salted caramel which was a little disappointing because who doesn't want to taste salted caramel? Am I right or am I right? Also wish there was more sauce at the bottom of the plate. The mini puff 'chouquettes' were simple and tasty. You just can't go wrong with eclairs filled with creamy custard dipped in chocolate sauce.. I mean come on. No further comments.

I really liked the space and I'll come back for the lounge and drinks area and maybe a few nibbles. I do think they need to up their quantity in food per dish and maybe edit the message of "sharing concept". Other than that, the music was great, the space was lovely and service was good with few mishaps.

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