Indochine Dubai Review: “A celebrity hotspot that lives up to the hype?”
Dubai loves celebrity imports. In fact, the city loves them so much that there’s always a new ‘in’ place opening up in town— the latest being Indochine in DIFC.
However, describing a restaurant as a celebrity hotspot tends to make people who love food run for the hills. Refreshingly, Indochine manages the delicate balance of being good enough to retain die-hard foodies, as well as Dubai’s fashionable dining masses.
While the original Manhattan restaurant has been around since 1984, since its December 2019 launch, the Dubai outlet has taken over the city’s Instagram feed with its potted plants, rattan furniture, wallpaper with big green palm fronds, reminiscent of a classy French colonial house in Vietnam.
But in a city where restaurants come and go, Indochine has capitalised on its new found buzz and oozes old world 1930’s charm in a sleek, glamorous setting. Now, it’s become notoriously difficult to book one of the venue’s coveted dinner tables, particularly on a Friday night. But, then again, that could be entirely due to its novelty factor.
Indochine: What’s the vibe?
When the original Indochine first swung open its doors in New Year back in 1984, it quickly became the place to be seen in the city. Madonna, Warhol, Bowie – you name it. Trade those names with Roger Federer and Chiara Ferragni, and one can tell the restaurant is already capitalising on its celebrity status. The fact that the name of the New York restaurant carried enough weight to bring the same celebrity magic to Dubai is impressive, and must have been pretty damn hard.
But, they needn’t have worried. While there may be fewer A-listers in Dubai, there’s no shortage of star power here – and it seems as though all of them have flocked to Indochine. Fortunately, the décor and French-Vietnamese menu more than holds its own, making it one of the most interesting restaurants in the region.
Head over at 8 PM and you’ll find it quiet, but full of the dinner crowd. Post 11 PM is when the party begins: the adjoining bar area is a crush full of people dressed to the nines, drinking cocktails and puffing politely making conversation while bobbing to the beat of the resident DJ.
Indochine: How’s the food?
Like the name suggests, its food does what it says on its front door— French food with Vietnamese flavours. Some of the dishes have made their way from New York to Dubai, with some of the standout dishes being Vietnamese ravioli made with rice noodles, chicken, shrimp and shiitake mushroom, and Amok Cambodgien, steamed sea bream in banana leaf, coconut lemongrass custard, chili sauce, scallions and ginger. However, under the leadership of Chef Steven Nguyen there are also some new dishes unique to the Dubai branch like the Lamb Char Siu, a slow cooked lamb neck in a honey glaze.
However, as far as fine dining in Dubai, this is the closest you will probably get to it in a white table cloth setting while still keeping it millennial friendly. But only time will tell if this restaurant manages to prise Zuma’s loyal customer base over to them.
Indochine: The verdict?
Indochine does what most restaurants don’t get right in Dubai — they keep the restaurant covers small enough to keep the buzz going in a city where dining out is getting increasingly more and more expensive. And while the bar scene is certainly happening, the food is the real star. If you are the type of person who is not up for local celebrities and fashion– then we’d recommend an earlier reservation.
We may not all be A-listers, but who is to say we can’t party and eat like them? What are you waiting for?