A symbol of French hospitality, the classic Parisian brasserie Fouquet’s has found the perfect home at the Louvre Abu Dhabi. With a breezy, waterfront setting and as things start to open up with precautionary measures in place, Hadag takes you inside for a look at true luxury…
A true meeting of minds, Fouquet’s and Louvre Abu Dhabi represent the pinnacle of both cultural and culinary excellence. There are less than a handful of good French restaurants in the capital, and walking into Fouquet’s is the beginning of an experience that is here to change the game. Being the brand’s ninth opening – Fouquet’s has locations in Paris, Cannes, Toulouse, Marrakech, La Baule, Enghien-les-Bains, Courchevel and Montreux – the venue takes prime position in the heart of the museum – an ideal stop for a leisurely lunch or dinner after you’ve toured the masterpieces on display.
Fouquet’s Abu Dhabi offers a menu created in collaboration with French Michelin Star Chef, Pierre Gagnaire – a genius in the kitchen who needs no introduction. Testament to his unparalleled creativity and flair, the imaginative menu here features French classics injected with an inimitable Gagnaire twist. With spectacular flavours and flawless presentation, dishes remain faithful to the restaurant’s modern French heritage, with particular attention paid to sourcing only the finest ingredients. A warm and friendly welcome from the team sets the tone for the afternoon.
All the way from the reception desk to the servers and even the lovely restaurant manager, we are made to feel comfortable and laid-back in an atmosphere that drifts between upscale and casual just perfectly. Inside, avant-garde chandeliers float effortlessly above the elegant tables draped in crisp white linen and hugged by the brand’s signature red leather chairs. The atmosphere of old-fashioned, understated elegance is given a contemporary twist with gallery-white walls, a nod to Louvre Abu Dhabi’s magnificent design by French architect Jean Nouvel. Other walls are covered in black and white portraits of the celeb-world’s glitterati, from renowned Studio Harcourt.
Silver napkin rings with celebrities’ names engraved immerse guests in a “red carpet” ambience. Colossal windows draw the eye outwards, to where the glistening Arabian Gulf kisses the horizon. The whole set up is classy, and tasteful, and we’re here for it! To begin, our entrees are the epitome of French cuisine. The Crevettes Roses, avocado, pink grapefruit, egg mimosa is a beautiful homage to the popular juicy shrimps found on many French menus. In a surprising turn of taste buds, the most interesting aspect of this dish was the creamy avocado – its skin had been flamed and charred down – and it tasted delicious. The Duck Foie Gras Terrine with date chutney is the most generous helping of foie gras that we’ve ever been served.
It’s rich, buttery and delicate – an ideal pâté spread on the crispy bread. The French delicacies are stepped up further as we come face to face with the escargots. The Burgundy Snails dressed in flavourful garlic butter are a true indicator of who the real gourmands are. For someone who hasn’t tried snails before, we couldn’t imagine our first foray with this classic creation in a better place than Fouquet’s. Put your mental hang-ups of slimy garden creatures aside, because here the snails are delicately chewy – similar to other molluscs like clams and oysters – but without an unpleasant aftertaste.
No doubt, this is thanks to the irresistible savouriness of the garlic butter sauce. The mains are just as gorgeous in presentation and taste. Famously known as the dish that made Julia Child fall in love with French cuisine, we dive into the meticulously prepared Dover Sole Meunieré, cooked in lightly browned butter and zesty lemon with a hint of parsley. Traditionally, the sole meunière is a dish that highlights the simple flavours of fresh fish, butter, lemon and parsley.
Fish is the centre of the dish, and at Fouquet’s it’s a quality fillet which we finish with zest. The Tartare Fouquet’s, like its fellow food companions, blows us away. The hand-chopped beef is mixed with tuna and avocado – super fresh, it’s the embodiment of a novel experience for the palate. Dessert is a deeply delectable soiree.
The muchanticipated Crêpes Suzette is prepared tableside and we certainly appreciate the interactive gesture, whilst the Mille-feuilles with praline and caramelised hazelnuts is a textural union of flaky puff pastry contrasting with crushed nuts and creamy mousse.
A side of fresh berries rounds out a stunning sweet delight. Fouquet’s is a gastronomy awakening for anyone looking to broaden their horizons on the food front. It’s for those who crave a taste of adventure – but, conveniently, without the flight ticket!