Entering Aubaine feels like another visual treat, taking up the mantle from City Walk Dubai’s beautiful boulevards. In an elegant Parisian-saloon-style room, we follow a trail of lavender flowers forming a tree over the walls, and enter the main restaurant. It’s all mirrors and glass, high ceilings and rustic chairs. The London-born French restaurant is relaxed yet chic and stylish.
There’s a good mix of cosy and busy here — move into the main dining room and you feel the true-to-City-Walk busy vibe. Then retreat to the private nook, where baby showers and intimate gatherings are held, for a quiet post-dinner coffee. (There’s good outdoor seating too, which we walked past wistfully.)
The Parisian salon meets Provencal bistro has a gorgeous setting, but that won’t be the only thing you’re instagramming. After you drink in the interiors, the food’s a delight too, uniting good flavours and authentic cuisine.
The restaurant’s summer menu comes with sharing plates. We start with some chicken breast croquettes, burrata and mozzarella cheese balls (there’s pictures of every single dish on the iPad menu, so you don’t have to take wild guesses on what something will look like when it turns up at your table). The burrata is posh silky goodness and shines through even with the strong tang of beetroot, peaches and mint basil honey dressing. The crispy-soft croquettes with bold harissa mayonnaise work well together, while the mozzarella is gooey inside its golden shell.
The mains of lamb loin with ras el hanout, saffron couscous and carrot puree; and the wild mushroom risotto; are gratifying dishes in good portion sizes. While the lamb was succulent, we felt the Moroccan-spiced flavour let it down a bit. The risotto came as creamy as you could ask for, and with a good depth of nutty mushroom-y flavour.
The sides of truffle mac n cheese (a standout and so moreish), sweet potato fries (as addictive as ever, if a little mushy) and avocado with pink grapefruit and pomegranate complemented our meal well. Classic, simple and tasty flavours all around, the French finesse shines through.
We finished with rich affogato and ice cream sundae in the lovely parlour. A meal at Aubaine is sure to get you daydreaming about your trip to Paris, sitting in a cafe watching the world go by, soaking in all things French, all things leisurely.
Locations: City Walk (on the ground floor, right beside Level Kids) and The Dubai Mall
Cost: About Dh300 for two
Timings: 9am-12am at the City Walk Dubai branch