Bistrot Bagatelle Dubai review: “There’s no place like it in the city”
Bistrot Bagatelle is one of those venues that tries to be something for everyone.
Poke your head through the doors at eight o’clock, and you’ll see a delightfully modern French restaurant serving creative food (with the obligatory contemporary twist). Come back three hours later, and you’ll see waiters swinging from the chandeliers while punters pop sparkler-streaming bottles into a boisterous crowd.
Those two concepts (of fine dining and batsh*t party atmosphere) are seemingly at odds with each other. And the fact that both coexist under one roof is no easy feat.
But somehow, Bistrot Bagatelle just about manages to pull it off.
Bistrot Bagatelle: What’s the vibe?
It’s a tale of two restaurants, to be sure.
During early evening expect well-dressed men and women sat around large tables having perfectly respectable conversation. You may even spot the odd business dinner happening within one Bagatelle’s booth tables.
The staff are dressed for silver service, the lighting is moody (but not boudoir-ish), and the food comes quickly and promptly. It’s like a proper, fine dining establishment (with all the trimmings).
“Some Grey Poupon for your steak sir?” you might overhear.
“I don’t mind if I do.”
Return a few hours later, and you’ll find that all hell has broken loose.
The restaurant has several themed nights, which vary from a French evening (which sees a giant flag unfurled while staff shake napkins in the air screaming “Vive La France!”) to a rock ‘n’ roll night, complete with servers standing on tables pretend strumming on fake metal Stratocasters that shoot flames out of their bottoms.
There’s a DJ booth just off the dining room, and those (few) guests still seated quickly gulp down bites of food before belting out the lyrics to whatever pop star of the moment’s hit is currently being piped through the speakers.
There’s no place like it in the city, that’s for sure.
Bistrot Bagatelle: How’s the food?
Given what has been said above (especially the bit about flaming guitars) you’d expect the food at Bistrot Bagatelle to be a side note to all that party. Not so!
Chef Timothy Newton somehow – somehow – manages to put out food that rivals the late-night chaos almost by its sheer inventiveness.
Yes, some dishes (such as the truffle chicken with wild mushrooms) lean heavily on the traditional, but others (such as the poached prawns wrapped in avocado and drizzled in hot sauce) are downright inspired.
And unlike some of the restaurant’s clientele the next morning, each dish is rather pretty.
Bistrot Bagatelle: The verdict?
Bistrot Bagatelle is an anomaly. It makes no sense.
No restaurant in the city should be able to pair this level of inventive French food with the raging atmosphere of an Ibiza nightclub, and yet somehow Bistrot Bagatelle does. And does so quite well.
If you are the type of person who dislikes your meal served with a side of party – then we’d recommend the earlier sitting.
But for everyone else, head down for around nine for a nice meal, followed by one of the best parties in town.
For more information head to bagatelledubai.com