Nearly nine years ago (to the day), Hubs and I moved from Los Angeles to Dubai. I had never been, and he had only visited the UAE once. In those formative months, we tried a little bit of everything. One of the first big brunches we did was at the Al Qasr (and I can remember nearly passing out at the price). The Al Qasr has always been a place of luxury and Pierchic always on my list as a place to visit. Given where we lived, I never managed to make a trip, but recently discovered they had a set lunch menu.
Imagine my excitement as a date nine years in the making was finally coming true!
I made reservations and of course, in my planning, I did not realize it would be one of the most humid days on record, but that is the risk of dining in Dubai. Walking through the opulent lobby, I was directed down a hall, then down a lift, I waited for a golf cart to take me across the property. Having been dropped off at the long pier, I walked, enjoying the photo-worthy sights of the Burj Al Arab and clear blue waters of the Arabian Ocean. For atmosphere, Pierchic offers something truly unique.
Once inside, I was offered a cool towel (most necessary) and then found my reservation is not in the system (never mind there was a reservation for a party of one at the exact same time). While I was slightly irritated, it didn’t matter, because I was the only one in the venue. Walking through the restaurant, it is obvious excellent design went into the set up of Pierchic. Playing to its strengths, there are large windows everywhere, such that you feel as if you are nearly in the water. Outdoor seating is available during cooler months. The design is minimalist, letting the natural scenery shine.
I sat down first at a table which had a long window retractor string practically in the middle of it (!), then realized that would not be ideal for photos and shifted down one seat (the luxuries of being the only diner). I was presented with both the lunch menu and the ala carte menu. Obviously, the lunch menu (three courses at AED199) offers quite a bargain against the regular menu.
Not under the category of bargains? The drink prices. Look, there is nothing wrong with paying a bit more for alcohol, but I do have standards I judge prices by. For example, the most I would pay for a cocktail is around AED60. Thus, when I saw AED85+ on the menu, I was a bit turned off. Similarly, there were very few options for wine by the glass. The Sauvignon Blanc I chose was AED100 – quelle horreur – but at least the pour was a good one!
For my starter, I chose the White Bean Cappuccino (with trumpet mushroom powder). Or, for the rest of us, White Bean soup. And it would’ve been nice… If I did not have to wait nearly 30 minutes for it. While I do appreciate fine dining and orders therein can take extra time, I was literally waiting around in an empty restaurant with my bread basket (including seaweed butter — a nice touch) for just shy of a half hour. The taste was quite nice, very filling and at a perfect temperature, but I’m not sure why this dish took so long.
Similarly, my main course — the Catch of the Day (cod) had me looking around the restaurant to wonder not only where my waitress had gone, but also where the food was. While I realize the pacing of my dining might be a bit faster than most, I don’t see the point in waiting more than 10 minutes between courses, especially as I was closing in on being in the restaurant for nearly an hour.
The cod was a large portion and came out thoroughly warm. Unfortunately, I thought the preparation of the accompanying tomatoes was a bit overwhelming for the delicate fish. I think the fish on its own with the greens would’ve been more than enough. It could be that I have most recently had cod prepared in an Asian style (where the protein is the star), but I found this preparation to simply be a bit heavier than I was expecting. Lovely as it looks, I’m not sure I would order it again.
For the dessert, while there was a cheese and fruit plate available, the idea of Salted Chocolate was loudly calling my name. With the right amount of crunch, sweetness, and hint of salt, it certainly did not disappoint. By this time, after the amount of time between my first two courses, I had asked for it to be brought out immediately after finishing the main, which it was.
As a final touch, I received a plate of delicate petit fours which was unexpected and most welcome. In fact, this plate is the only thing that saved this venue from collecting a 3 out of 5 from me. The mint chocolate pyramids were decadent, and the lemon macarons were creamy, tart and light — just as they should be.
For the total cost of AED324, I’m not sure the value for money is in place. Certainly, had I not had the wine, the cost would’ve been AED224, which is a bit better, but given two up market lunches I’ve tried recently (Coya and Laluz), I’m not entirely sure how Pierchic can get away with charging extra. Furthermore, the service at the other two restaurants was on a completely different level than the slow, drawn out event at the Al Qasr. At the end of the meal, I walked back down the dock, waited 5ish minutes for a golf cart back to the front of the property, only to have it never arrive and ended up walking
sweating through the pool area back to the lobby. #firstworldproblems
So, I’m disappointed. Having a look at the prices for dinner, I can’t say that I would be in any rush whatsoever to return. In fact, I think I would only go back if the venue was involved in Dubai Restaurant Week or someone else was picking up the bill.