As those who saw La Serre claim top spot in our Restaurant of the Year guide in 2014 will attest, we’re big fans of the Parisian styled boulangerie and bistro here at Esquire.
While most upmarket restaurants in the region seem to favour darker, monochrome decors – presumably in the pursuit of a more ‘intimate’ atmosphere – one of La Serre’s inherent fortes is the abundance of natural light it boasts, creating a crisp, clean feel redolent of the European eateries that it emulates so successfully.
Just one of many reasons a downtown lunch there is such an appealing concept, which is where we found ourselves last month – sampling the establishment’s updated winter menu.
To his credit, Chef Izu Ani has seemingly kept the proven gastronomic winners of previous months available, including the ‘tarte flambée’; an incredibly moreish onion and pastry based creation that remains one of the best starters we’ve had in these parts.
Of the new additions to the ‘Pour Commencer’ menu, one highlight included the Cornish Crab with mayonnaise – dear at 275 dirhams but intended for two to enjoy. However, if you’re after something a little less ‘indulgent’ to start off, we recommend the artichoke and cured wagyu salad.
For the mains, you’re almost spoilt for choice, with excellent, updated Mediterranean style offerings ranging from prawn rissoto with white truffle, to Chilean sea bass. As with any French restaurant worth its proverbial salt, a strong seafood game is bolstered by an equally impressive meat selection, with the grilled rib eye and lightly spiced duck only beaten by our dish of the day, the 50 hours cooked beef short rib, garnished with sweet onion.
If you’ve got room for the dessert, which -unsurprisingly, given the gluttonous account you’ve just read- we did not, we’d suggest embracing those quintessential French sweets of Crème brûlée or gâteau de pain au chocolat.
Given its (dare we say) lofty status in last year’s Esquire restaurant hierarchy, not to mention many other people’s eating out shortlists, thankfully there’s no complacency or resting on laurels from La Serre to be found, with the food, service and atmosphere all living up to fond memory. If the crown does indeed lie heavy, Chef Ani and his team aren’t showing the strain one bit.