Bagatelle has been on my ‘really need to dine there’ list for well over a year.
Photos of the interior have looked amazing, and it always seems to be a venue that ‘vibes’ (
and I really need to make some attempt to define what this concept means to me). Ahem. Making my way through the Fairmont lobby, I am pointed to the left-hand side, and really, how fancy is a venue that it has its own elevator? (Oh wait, I’ve been to a few). Decorative elevators aside, the interior wasn’t what I was expecting. As part of my ‘research’ (in which I tend to creep on a restaurant’s website and social media prior to dining), the brightly lit interior space on the website doesn’t exactly match the dimly lit reality. Furthermore, does the over large cartoonish graffiti art work here? For me, it’s a strange choice. However, for the first time in a very long time, the music was a perfect match — appropriate tunes at the right volume level genuinely added to the experience (other restaurateurs, please take notice!). Service was also well above average for Dubai restaurants.
So, what about the food?
As a venue, Bagatelle isn’t providing anything revolutionary, but what they do, they do well. Highlights from the menu include the Tartare de Boeuf (AED90) and the actual sent-from-heaven Truffle Pizza (a scorcher at AED210 with the addition of fresh black truffle). With a beautifully light crust, the perfect amount of cheese and truffle ratio, this is a contender for the best pizza in the city. Similarly, the beef tartare is firing on all cylinders, with a great blend of texture, salt, and flavor. I would happily order either dish again. Surprisingly, I would also note the incredible garlic bread that arrived before the meal added a memorable start to things.
The Gnocchi a la Parisienne (AED110, our version included black truffle, bringing the price to AED160) comes close to making the mark, but just misses due to a texture that I felt didn’t live up to my preferences. I like gnocchi to have a bit of a crispiness on the outside, and found the dish at Bagatelle to be a bit one note for me. The Faux Filet de Wagyu was also a contender, but at AED345, the plate was just a bit outside a comfortable price point for me to order it again.
The restaurant was generous to share a number of other dishes with us, including: Crudo de Bar (AED75), Tartare de Thon (AED85), Salade de Batteraves (AED65), Sea bass Loup de Mer pour Deux (a rather incredibly large fish priced at a rather incredibly large AED535), and desserts were all lovely enough, but, with the exception of the melty chocolate fondant, would not warrant a repeat order. As mentioned, everything was exactly where it should be, but nothing is being reinvented. However, maybe there is something to be said for consistency? ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ Given that we sampled a fairly large section of the menu, although rare, one of my biggest recommendations for Bagatelle would be the addition of a few additional dishes. I would (of course) love to see Burrata somewhere, as well as a Nicoise salad, table side Caesar Salad, and perhaps a few other versions of fresh pasta.
Would I go back? While the truffle pizza calls to me, I think the overall price point is a bit high and find the value for money lacking. I get that the clientele here probably feels differently than I do. For a best case scenario, this might be a fun place to meet up for drinks before moving to another location.
Have you been to Bagatelle? What’s your favorite dish? (And how do you define ‘vibe’ — inquiring minds want to know!)
A to Za’atar was a guest of Bistrot Bagatelle. Opinions are my own, just ask my husband.