Based in DIFC’s imposing Ritz-Carton hotel, Le Cirque is an iconic New York institution. With a concept created and launched by Sirio Maccioni in the mid-1970s, the restaurant is renowned for bold flavours with south European roots, producing classic dishes to an exceptionally high standard. Needless to say, it has long been on my to-try list and sampling the restaurant's Summer Club Menu is an experience I could not pass up – mostly because of the price: AED 130 ($35).
The restaurant has a stylish aesthetic and a fresh airiness that contrasts the bustling area. The neighbourhood regulars buzz in and out for post-work food and drinks; young stylish professionals wined and dined as we were ushered to a table in the far corner of the room. As ever, I ask that the chef to send what they recommend, to seek out specialities and experience the cuisine as they would envisage.
The menu is overall quite light, using seasonal products such as figs that appear from June onward. I was absolutely enamoured when the fig, prosciutto and Burrata salad and grilled octopus emerged. The chef elaborated on his Portuguese culinary roots, and octopus is something that he takes a lot of pride in – hence why it was expertly executed. Pairing the octopus with the chickpea purée, green olives and celery salad added a fresh citrus balance with an Arabic twist with the use of the chickpeas. The carefully curated dishes were everything I could have hoped it would be and worked very well. Figs are often under-utilised and complement the Burrata perfectly, balanced in flavour and texture with the walnuts and balsamic vinegar.
Created and launched by Sirio Maccioni in the Mid-1970s, the restaurant is renowned for bold flavours with South European Roots
For the main course the chef had selected the pan-seared sea bass with spinach, tomato and lemon velouté, which would have been the dish I’d chosen, if left to my own devices. The dish was stunningly balanced with the lemon velouté elevating the dish with a thicker sauce and without a citrus overkill. This was my favourite dish of the night and comes highly recommend for all seafood lovers.
The summer club menu runs Sunday to Thursday from 7pm-9pm and would be perfect for meeting friends after work.
The desserts were both presented with TLC, with the first being a vanilla panna cotta served with strawberry, biscotti and a rhubarb sorbet, which was light, fresh and delicious. The second was a lychee & raspberry vacherin with a rose meringue, lemon cream and raspberry sorbet. The best way I can describe this is being similar to an Eton mess, but with a twist – the meringue is presented as a beautiful sphere with the cream and fruit inside. I can’t imagine having to construct something so delicate but credit to the team, they pulled it off. The Summer Club menu runs Sunday to Thursday from 7pm-9pm and would be perfect for meeting friends after work or couples catching up. For only AED 130 I would highly recommend the restaurant for what could be the most affordable fine dining in DIFC.
WHAT: Le Cirque
WHERE: The Ritz Carlton DIFC, Gate Village, Dubai
TEL: +971 4 372 2323