It’s been an awfully busy time in our world, how are you guys?
Between full time jobs, travel (how has it already been a month since I got back from the US?!), working out (that’s all Namrata, not me), attending baby showers, family time… you know the drill. It’s been a challenge to blog regularly. One thing we have been doing though is eating. No stopping us there! Namrata’s currently visiting friends in Sydney and Melbourne so I’m holding down the fort here. Not wasting any more time, let me tell you about this new restaurant I visited last week.
Do you guys keep a list of restaurants and cafes you want to check out? I do, but its getting outdated by the minute as new eateries join the Dubai food scene. One such newbie in town is Bertin Bistro and restaurant which only just opened up last month.
A visit to this two-storey standalone in Al Manara is almost an experience for your senses as you travel through Alsace in France, Marbella in Spain and then finally to Tangiers in Morocco. Confused much? It can be. But once you take a look at the menu and read the story of Bertin, you’ll get pulled into his wonderful journey woven through food, romance, war, and eventually finding true love. Familiarise yourself with his story and it all makes sense. If reading is not your thing, that’s ok too because the food and ambience is lovely!
The downstairs area serves an Alsatian menu along with bakery items, quiche, tartines and breakfast. What’s Alsatian, you ask? It is the cuisine from the region of Alsace, on the border of Germany and France. It’s where Bertin grew up and helped his grandfather in their family-run boulangerie, perfecting recipes and coming up with his own from time to time. Floor to ceiling windows makes the large space bright and airy, and the baking station located in the centre of the floor has the heady scent of freshly baked bread and pastries wafting through the air.
A flight of stairs leads to the upper level which is set-up like an Andalusian lounge, complete with arabesque panels, lanterns, and Moroccan brass serving trays for table tops. On our visit, Gypsy Kings crooned from the speakers. The Moroccan chef here serves sangria (the non-alcoholic kind), hot and cold tapas, tagines, empanadas – all reflective of Bertin’s journey through Spain and Morocco.
Here’s what we ate (and drank):
A jug of homemade sangria. Pieces of apples, oranges and kumquats infused in grape juice. The sweetener used is a honey water combo.
Flammekueche which is very thinly rolled out dough with toppings (also called tarte flambée in French). We tried Gratinee which had cream cheese and emmental cheese, onions and mushroom. The dough was thinner than a thin crust pizza and edges crispier. Great start to the meal.
Black lentil dip with pomegranate and olive oil.
Padron peppers with rock salt. Nice and hot! First couple of bites and you think “yeah, I can do this.” And then – Aahh, pass me that drink!
Quinoa salad with almonds, coriander and citrus zest. It was light, fresh, the perfect blend of sweet with pomegranate seeds and crunchy with nuts. We wiped this plate clean.
Crispy chicken pastilla. This sweet and savoury pie was flaky and nicely flavoured with cinnamon dust. One of my favourites from the meal.
On to dessert – I understand from the lovely manager, Julia that everything here is prepared à la minute including the eclairs and tarts which are finished off to order.
Bertin’s pain perdu is not your typical French toast. In fact, its more bread pudding. Savory, baked and served with rock salt and caramel. It’s up to you to make it as sweet as you like. If you’re like me, then you’ll ask for another bowl of caramel sauce. This dish also has a lovely back story to it. If you want to know more, you’ll have to go find out for yourself!
Chocolate soufflé made with dark chocolate and served with vanilla ice cream and a bowl of homemade chocolate sauce. The latter is unnecessary, in my opinion.
I decided to pop in on a Saturday for late breakfast and was pleasantly surprised to find the restaurant buzzing, with more or less all tables occupied and more people waiting to be seated. Great turnout for a restaurant that’s only been open for about eight weeks.
I had Bertin’s benedict which is your regular poached eggs served with cheese soufflé, mushroom and a rich hollandaise sauce.
If you go in the day time, sit downstairs and enjoy the sunshine with breakfast, dessert, or coffee. In the evenings, the lounge is perfect to hang out with friends, sip tea and smoke shisha into the wee hours. I hear Bertin is soon going to be open 24 hours, serving a limited menu after 3am. Post-clubbing pain perdu anyone?
LOCATION – Sheikh Zayed Road, Al Manara, opposite Times Square
DISCLOSURE: We were invited to Bertin but I liked it so much that I went back again the same week. All opinions are my own.