Embracing a concept of modern Parisian dining – simple and elegant – this restaurant has a touch of Dubai throughout. Located in the exclusive boutique property, it defines its presence by shifting away from the soothing, beach-y whites and arabesque found at the hotel and instead takes a more dramatic turn: rich textures, black crystal chandliers and sweeping patterning fill the generous space and lend the intentionally limited enclosed seating areas a discreet feel. This gives the immediate tone one that is intimate and quiet – ideal for a romantic dinner or a foray into a gourmet sharing-concept dining experience with a select group.
While focused on French cuisine, the special White Truffle menu developed for the autumn season (through November) elevated classic dishes with a few surprises in tow. “Truffle is one of my favourite products, it transcends any simple dish to make it superb and brilliantly complements any sophisticated preparation,” says Alleno. “White truffle especially for it is even more subtle and delicate.” Offered is a three or four-course tasting menu – with the option of having a sommelier select grape pairings. “Our first mission is to source the best white truffles to benefit from their purest taste and then our duty is to respect them in our creations,” Alleno continues.
The French chef has contrasted the short white truffle – of which the rare kind can only be found in the specific Alba countryside region of Italy – with some enduring culinary pillars, beginning with White Truffle beef Carpaccio with fleur de sel. However, before the dish arrives, Chef Gautier Gaschi appears and whisks us back into the kitchen. There, amidst the rumble of dinner service and a flurry of French commands between chefs, Chef Gaschi turns and presents two espresso cups prepared on the spot filled with Truffleccino – potato foam – but not before grating some truffle onto it. Creamy and fragrant without being overpowering, this proves an orientation to a meal that already promises to be an elegant, warm experience.
The dishes that follow include a bowl of Truffleccino – and the second round is highly welcomed at the table – followed by Artichoke Agnolotti with parmesan and white truffle copeaux, which is at once flavourful and delicate at just the right al dente preparation, and then one of each main: a decadent roasted chicken supreme with a hearty portion of sliced truffles, and the surprisingly light but delicious steamed cod and white truffle viroflay. While the service is unobtrusive, the pace is catered to those on the hungrier end of the spectrum, but the table is rarely empty and the glasses remain full.
Dessert is easily the most anticipated experience, as upon arrival we are informed that we can select the desserts à la carte, or approach the live dessert bar, where two chefs are on hand to customise a spread that includes sweet chocolate truffles, lemon sorbet, fennel or rose infused pastries, as well as Rum Baba and other traditional French baked treats. While appealing to those with a sweet tooth, the desserts likewise embody a careful fusion of flavours that prove seamlessly complementary and balanced.
STAY’s White Truffle menu is characterised by a fresh embracement of truffles. The mushroom, found within and garnishing each dish, is both pleasing to the eye and the palette. While the dishes are harmonious and linked by a restrained, yet generous, infusion of thoughtful truffle incorporation, as opposed to over-embellishing with an ingredient that could quickly turn novel. While this restaurant may lend itself to a very intimate dining experience that may be too quiet for some, the masterful, pioneering manipulation of flavour and presentation makes it worth a visit any time of year.