La Brioche is a French café concept from the house of Al Ahlia in Abu Dhabi where they first opened to the pubic in 1984. The brand has since expended throughout the region with Dubai alone now having no less than six branches, this new Bluewaters one included. La Brioche differentiates itself from market leaders Paul (and also Le Pain Quotidien) by offering a more modern portrayal of the French café-bakery-bistro theme (Belgian in the case of Le Pain). Its interior is very well designed and offers a pleasant café-patisserie environment in-which to dine.
The La Brioche menu stays faithful to basic French cuisine, only straying to offer an assortment of pastas (which I suppose are as much French as they are Italian in some parts of France). Ironically, it was the pasta which kicked off what turned out to be a hugely disappointing meal, the chicken and mushroom specifically. Served looking more like soup, it was saltless and tasteless to the extent that no amount of freshly ground pepper or parmesan shavings could bring it to life. We sent it back to the kitchen and ordered a sesame beef salad instead. While we waited, I struggled with my bone-dry, over salted Moroccan grilled chicken. The beef salad arrived with a nauseating sweet rather than tangy sauce and tough-as-leather medallions of beef. Only the crispy battered deep-fried calamari which we started with were worth mention.
So we turned to dessert to change our soured mood, and the reputation of La Brioche. From the display, my food buddy, Soheil, ordered an eggless chocolate pastry while I ordered the sugar-free cheesecake. Sacré bleu! To our dismay we found the pastry was still frozen, rock solid – what a travesty! The cheesecake however was superb. I let Soheil have a tiny bit just so he knew what he was missing. Ha!
Cheesecake aside, the only other thing we enjoyed at La Brioche was the service. Our table was attended to by a phenomenal tag team, Kevin and Shaluwah. Their hospitality and attentiveness went some ways towards making up for an otherwise disappointing experience.
I don’t know what is going on in the La Brioche Bluewaters kitchen, but I’d say corrective measures need to be taken immediately. Compared to Mitts & Trays next door, which incidentally Soheil and I visited together a couple of days ago, La Brioche is a joke and not worth your time nor money. That said, Al Ahlia is a respectable organisation and I am sure they will address this matter sooner rather than later. Until they do however, I would stick to M&T next door.
Hey! Now read this –
Xerxes physically dines at, or orders from, each and every venue he reviews. He pays in full for whatever he and his companions eat, drink, take away or occasionally throw at each other. Xerxes accepts no money, gifts, discounts or free meals in return for reviews or favouritism. What you have read was NOT influenced in any way by the venue. Join me on Instagram @ravenousxerxes or email me on firstname.lastname@example.org.