With its stylish, contemporary interiors exuding a sense of Mediterranean wonder, visitors to La Cantine du Faubourg immediately feel whisked away to a setting akin to a spot in Ibiza – summery, airy and blissful. The décor, always replete with a rotating selection of contemporary artworks, is at once sleek, modern and miles away from the corporate ambiance of Emirates Towers, its location. And while “La Cantine”, as it is often referred to, is known for its savoury Mediterranean dishes in tune with its surroundings, this Ramadan, the restaurant has devised a special five-course menu for Iftar featuring Middle Eastern specialties.
We began our evening nestled at a side table near the floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the restaurant’s outdoor terrace – a scene that is normally bustling with guests was quiet and serene. Our waiter arrived swiftly and presented us with a set menu for the evening featuring a variety of zesty regional treats. We began with a lentil soup with crispy shallots and then moved to a tasty Mezze platter featuring hummus, chickpeas, sweet potatoes, red peppers with date vinaigrette salad, spiced kebbeh and chicken pastilla.
The array of Middle Eastern dishes endows the restaurant with a festive vibe. It encourages long, intimate conversations with loved ones over savoury bites. And in between courses it’s always worthwhile to feast your eyes on the rotating collection of contemporary artwork made by regional and international artists – all of which are curated on an on-going basis according to a pre-set theme. I will admit that at one point we craved one of La Cantine’s addictive burrata dishes. A quick call to our waiter and the plate, beaming with its colourful tomatoes and basil accompaniments, was presented amidst the Middle Eastern fare adding a summery zest to La Cantine’s new seasonal offering.
Onto the mains, these arrived in the form of two options: red snapper with spicy tomato jam sauce and raisins served with spinach rice and Iraqi Tashreeb, with braised lamb shoulder, onion, and chickpeas served on large flatbread. We tried both. The fish, which came skinless, was succulent and easy to eat. The Iraqi take on the braised lamb was as regional as you could get – a localised version of a favourite meat dish for many. Moreover, the portions were just right – smaller sizes befitting for Ramadan.
Nothing’s complete without dessert. We wrapped up our iftar at La Cantine with a sweet orange blossom water pannacotta sprinkled with marinated orange slices – perfectly light for the hot Dubai summer months. The kunafa dessert – one of my favourite Arabic sweets – was accompanied by date ice cream and caramelised pistachios. Definitely the heavier of the two, it was still as sweet as could be.
Sweet orange blossom water pana cotta
With just a week left in Ramadan, head to La Cantine for an evening meal of seasonal favourites amidst a swanky ambiance of cutting-edge design and contemporary art.
La Cantine du Faubourg’s Seasonal Escapes menu is Dh250 per person. The menu is available from 12pm to 2am from Saturday to Wednesday and from 12pm to 3am on Thursdays and Fridays.