Dubai: A lifetime of living in Dubai and I can’t believe I hadn’t been to Park Hyatt’s French restaurant Traiteur. It serves my favourite kind of food: a mix between casual and fine dining, with an emphasis on high-end ingredients, most of which are imported from France and made fresh in the restaurant’s open kitchen.
Eager to get our night started, my partner and I chose a seat with a view of the stage-like platform that was the restaurant’s kitchen. With Chef Simon Wipf and his team working relentlessly to serve only the highest quality dishes, I couldn’t wait to devour the menu. “It’s a new Bistronomic menu concept with dishes prepared using European products that will change with each season,” said Chef Wipf.
For starters, while my partner slurped down six juicy Gillardeau oysters in honour of the start of the oyster season in France, I took in the chef’s recommendations and ordered the Marinated Heirloom Tomatoes. As a lot of the cold and warm appetisers are created to share, we also ordered a plate of scallops and tortellini.
While the oysters were predictably fleshy and fresh, it was my entrée of tomatoes that really blew me away. Artfully scattered across the plate were some of the tastiest tomatoes I’ve ever eaten, served with chunks of locally-made burrata cheese. From cheerfully colourful cherry tomatoes to Coeur De Boeuf (beef heart tomatoes), green tomatoes and the indulgently sweet Kumato tomatoes (purple black in colour), all the heirloom tomatoes (varieties that have been passed down through several generations of a family) on my plate had been imported from France, making this dish, sadly, one I could never re-create at home. It was, however, the unusual tomato caviar that really did the trick. As small as cranberries and packed with a burst of sweetness, these mini tomatoes were the highlight of the dish. Paired with the local burrata cheese and a few artfully placed sprigs of basil leaves, this was tomato heaven like never before.
After a dish of such epic flavours, we needed a little palate pause before moving on to our shared starters. Although completely different from the cold appetizers, the warm pan-seared scallops with a scallop and crab meat tortellini and a drizzle of a lemon butter sauce to soak up the flavours, hit the right spot. A bit of warmth to ease us into the main course.
At the chef’s recommendation, I went for a slow-cooked halibut on a bed of spelt risotto. Following his tastebuds, my partner ordered a Mulwara Beef Rossini (a delicate cut of tenderloin topped with pan-seared foie gras and bathed in a truffle heavy Perigourdine sauce). If there’s a truffle lover in you, your timing couldn’t be better. With truffle season having just kicked off in France and Italy, now’s the time to indulge in those exotic flavours. Pair this finger-licking sauce with a side of Forestiere Mushrooms (mixed wild mushrooms cooked in truffle), for a main course worth writing home about.
Having thoroughly enjoyed every moment of our starts and mains, we headed for the piece de resistance of the evening: dessert. A gigantic raspberry macaron with bitter chocolate cream and a side of sour raspberry sorbet for me; and a coconut Ice Parfait in a mango soup with cubes of lemon jelly shots for my partner. Needless to say, we were both bowled over by our desserts. My macaron was crisp on the outside, giving way to a soft chewy centre, accentuated by an extremely complementary home-made bitter chocolate cream and sweetened raspberries I’ve never had the pleasure of tasting in Dubai.
My partner’s Coconut Ice Parfait was the perfect mound of frozen coconut swimming in a plate of mango soup. With flavours that marry well, once again, Chef Simon had come up with a winner.
- We recommend: Marinated Heirloom Tomatoes; Mulwara Beef Rossini; Coconut Ice Parfait
Muby Astruc is a freelance writer based in Dubai
Location: Traiteur, Park Hyatt Hotel
Timing: Sunday to Friday, 7pm to midnight