Review: Brasserie Boulud, Dubai: Sobriety Amongst the Chaos
Review: Brasserie Boulud, Dubai: Sobriety Amongst the Chaos
Brasserie Boulud, 2 3-course business lunches, 1 carafe red wine, 1 dessert wine, filter water: 500 dhs (including taxes and service charge). Brasserie Boulud, Sofitel Dubai The Obelisk Wafi, Sheikh Rashid Rd, Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Tel. 042814020. Brasserie Boulud website.
Written by Liam Collens (aka EatGoSee).
Brasserie Boulud’s good value business lunch serves award-winning French classics and a sanctuary from the rest of Sofitel Dubai The Obelisk.
Very good value two and three course business lunch
Wine by the carafe, a rare sight in Dubai
One of Dubai's better classic French dining restaurants in finesse and price
The location is far away from the action, almost isolated
French classic dining may alienate those looking for more contemporary flair
Brasserie Boulud lies deep within Sofitel Dubai The Obelisk
Brasserie Boulud is a Gault Millau toupe award winner and MIchelin Guide 2022 Bib Gourmand restaurant.
Brasserie Boulud's dining room is more restrained in design
Brasserie Boulud’s dining room area is a vast, modern take on a French brasserie, but lacks the intimacy I enjoy about traditional French brasseries..
Brasserie Boulud’s business lunch is thoroughly enjoyable, more so than expected
Brasserie Boulud’s business lunch menu
Brasserie Boulud largely pulls off the affordable, quick and good hat-trick with its classic French menu. You expect classic French dining from Daniel Boulud. It’s capable cooking absent theatrics (put a pin in that). Culinary surprises are in short supply, but the dishes are made with care and pelted with enough prissiness to feel special. Salade niçoise with confit tuna and quail eggs (starters for 60 dhs, mains at 90 dhs a la carte) and escargot de Bourgogne slathered and plunged in garlic-parsley butter (85 dhs a la carte). Close your eyes and you’ll faintly hear an accordion played by a face-painted mime riding on a bike.
Two courses (125 dhs) or three courses (150 dhs) both include filter water and coffee/tea including all taxes. I hiss at triple-figure business lunches where restaurants have the audacity to lob on 30+ dhs in San Pellegrino without so much as local water available (hi, DIFC).
Our starters arrive. Mrs Collens’ plat du jour serves up a salade de crevette cocktail. A shrimp cocktail to you and me, with cocktail sauce, orange and lemon. A tidy, light plate of baby gem and frisée leaves lightly dressed and layered with orange supreme, radish and bouncy shrimp. A portion suitable for Parisian women accustomed to lunching on Chablis and Malboro lights. A signature dish symbol lured me towards the thon au fenouil. A fresh, balanced and pleasant dishes of both confit and seared tuna with young braised fennel, puddles of tonnato sauce and socca crisps – a nod to Southern France.
Brasserie Boulud’s shrimp cocktail special menu starter; both confit and seared tuna with braised fennel, tonnato and socca crisps.
Our carafe of Barbera d’Asti chases our starters (150 dhs for 3-4 glasses, again, great value). Brasserie Boulud’s main courses feature more brasserie classics. Grilled rump steak with fries and peppercorn sauce (155 dhs a la carte), pan-seared corn-fed chicken breast with courgette and sauteed vegetables (145 dhs a la carte), a steak tarte with capers (165 dhs a la carte) or a raclette cheeseburger and fries (105 dhs a la carte). Supplements tempt you, such as confit duck leg with green lentils (165 dhs a la carte).
Her grilled sea bass with caramelized heirloom courgette pesto and black rice arrives; light, with crisp skin and sprightly baby courgettes that taste of summer (165 dhs a la carte). My linguines aux champignon offers the first rocky dish. The linguine, generously dressed in duvet-thick parmesan cheese sauce, is topped with fricassee mushrooms that only distract. It’s a tale of two dishes: be either an earthy, wintery, sauteed mushroom pasta or a cheese-rich dish (100 dhs a la carte).
With only desserts left, I am weak before a tart tatin. Brasserie Boulud offers one of the best I’ve eaten in Dubai (50 dhs a la carte). An empty plate returns to the kitchen with mere flecks of flaky buttery puff pasty debris. Licking pastry debris, caramelised apples and the thickest French cream off a plate is shunned. Mrs Collens plums for the French cheese selection (10 dhs supplement, 50 dhs a la carte) washed down with Bila Haut Rimage Banyuls 2018.
Leaving Brasserie Boulud, we inch passed the Sofitel’s phalanx of gold-plated dog statues that, evidently, someone deemed a good idea. A lure for punters within spitting distance of Healthcare City and Dubai Airport. I thoroughly enjoyed Brasserie Boulud, but I can’t help but think it deserves better.
Brasserie Boulud’s wine cafare is 150 dhs; grilled seabass with courgette pesto, linguine aux champignons, tart tatin, French cheese selection and dessert wine options
Brasserie Boulud, Would I Return?
Instagram stories about Brasserie Boulud invited discreet DM discussions: did I really enjoy it? I did, I heard mixed reports before experiencing it myself. I am sold on Brasserie Boulud’s business lunch as it presents great value and good cooking. Its Bib is firmly fitted, whereas I doubted previous winners.
Still, I see headwinds. Firstly, the location. I am rarely in this part of town. Second, Brasserie Boulud is, well, a little predictable maybe even safe? Dubai needs classic brasseries – trust me. But, Dubai also yearns for overstimulation. She begs for the high-octane, flashing lights and sparkler-strapped bottles alongside the mundane burrata-gold-truffle trinity. A straight-down-the-middle French brasserie near the airport is a tough sell unless you want to take your mother-in-law just before dutifully ensuring she leaves arrives safely at DXB. JLT’s Couqely heaves the few times I go and, honestly, I prefer Brasserie Boulud.
Brasserie Boulud’s business lunch receipt with extras, Araldica Barbera d’Asti by the carafe, the daily specials menu and the dining room space.
Brasserie Boulud, Who Should Go?
Those checking out Dubai’s Michelin Guide restaurants. Bib Gourmand fans. Residents looking for good value lunches. Sofitel Dubai The Obelisk guests wondering which is the better restaurant.