Text size:

  • Small
  • Normal
  • Large
The cream-on-white embossed wall panels, art deco mirrored columns and chandeliers give the restaurant a French formality. Courtesy Vi / Jumeirah Zabeel Saray
The cream-on-white embossed wall panels, art deco mirrored columns and chandeliers give the restaurant a French formality. Courtesy Vi / Jumeirah Zabeel Saray

Vi serves a stylish fusion of French and Vietnamese cuisine

One of the UAE's best gluten-free menus is offered at the colonial French-Vietnamese restaurant Vi.

As you wander distractedly through the Ottoman-inspired corridors of the Jumeirah Zabeel Saray Hotel in Dubai, you may overshoot the entrance to Vi restaurant. The ceiling-high, wood-panelled doors remain firmly closed to those without a reservation, making the dining experience a discreet and exclusive one.

Once inside, cream-on-white embossed wall panels, art deco mirrored columns and chandeliers give the restaurant a certain French formality. Contrasting monochrome striped chairs with vibrant, lime silk cushions inject a sense of fun and Asian flair.

The menu is one of the best I've seen for gluten-free options. In that spirit, I started with the snow crab salad. My dining companion opted for the Vi Experience set menu, which came with two starters; tiger prawn and foie gras followed by imperial dumplings.

Beautifully presented though mine was, I was all too quickly left with a mound of mango, enoki mushrooms and very little snow crab. Whereas the standout appetiser for my friend was the steamed parcels of guinea fowl, spring onions and mushrooms.

Wagyu beef served two ways followed for me and despite being a keen meat-eater, the generous portion proved too much. The tenderloin was succulent and cooked to pink-perfection, closely matched by a slither of braised beef cheek, which sat atop a carrot and five-spice pure.

My companion found her entree of Angus beef and sweet potatoes tasty but packing a surprisingly peppery punch, the heat of which somewhat overshadowed the dish.

All was redeemed, however, once the expertly crafted deserts arrived. My friend's pandan leaf-flavoured sago, paired with passion fruit, made for a cool and classy combo. Meanwhile, my Vi Den & Trang (white chocolate, coconut and ganache) dish was the ultimate antidote to a richly savoury main.

Vi's chef Phan Xuan Cuong undoubtedly has a sweet tooth, for attention had been paid to the very minutiae of our desserts. A case in point being the black discs of caramel and sesame seed that garnished my plate. No bigger than a dollar coin, the lace-like creations tasted as good as they looked.

Served in traditional silver filters, sweet and aromatic Vietnamese coffee came next, along with a complimentary plate of petit fours. Tantalising our taste buds were handmade micro-cookies, candied lemon slices and curried truffles.

There's no doubt about it: dining at Vi is a grown-up experience where good posture and minding one's Ps and Qs are a must.

With its well considered and reasonably priced colonial French-Vietnamese cuisine, a meal at Vi is a refreshing break from the norm. Another bonus is that the hundreds of speed bumps that used to fringe the peninsular roads of the Palm Jumeirah seem to have recently been removed, meaning that what used to make for an overly long, jolting journey to the man-made island's extremities is now an altogether enjoyable affair.

A meal for two at Vi costs Dh695, excluding beverages. For reservations, call 04 453 0444. Reviewed meals are paid for by The National and reviews are conducted incognito

rduane@thenational.ae

twitter Follow us @LifeNationalUAE

Follow us on Facebook for discussions, entertainment, reviews, wellness and news.

Back to the top

More articles


Editor's Picks

 Styled with bleached bobs and pale skin, the models wore clean and sporty separates reminiscent of the chic workwear of The Hunger Games. Courtesy Getty Images

Fashion Forward: Thoughtful tailoring at Asudari

The womenswear label Asudari showcased a collection that featured sharp masculine tailoring, but with feminine silhouettes.

Styled with bleached bobs and pale skin, the models wore clean and sporty separates reminiscent of the chic workwear of The Hunger Games.

Designer Lamia Asudari says she was influenced by Delftware ceramics from the 16th century, as well as the imagery of weaponry and artillery. Indeed, pistols, grenades and guns were emblazoned over jackets and dresses.

 Several of Jo Baaklini's pieces featured fruit prints. Courtesy Getty Images

Fashion Forward: At Starch, watermelon shirts, anyone?

“We need to cultivate our own fashion heroes — our own regional brands,” stressed Fashion Forward’s honcho Bong Guerrero in a press con two weeks ago.

Aptly, the slot for this season’s opening runway show was given to two newbies: Jo Baaklini and Timi Hayek, whose talents were scouted by Starch, a group dedicated to launching emerging Lebanese designers.

Between the two, Mr Baaklini had a stronger showing.

 Jean Louis Sabaji’s collection was very good when the tricks were toned down — like the simple white jumpsuit with a sculptural neckpiece. Stuart C. Wilson / Getty Images

Fashion Forward: Jean Louis Sabaji’s debatable debut

Jean Louis Sabaji’s collection was very good when the tricks were toned down — like the simple white jumpsuit with a sculptural neckpiece, the floral crop top, and the radiant yellow pleated skirt.

But most of the time he went too far. There were bell-bottoms, separates that looked like costumes from The Jetsons, and a yellow dress reminiscent of Bjork’s infamous Oscars swan dress — several disparate elements in one multicoloured, multilayered show.

 Launched in 2009 by childhood friends Arwa Abdelhadi and Basma Abu Ghazaleh, Kage bills itself as a label whose “ultimate goal is to design a collection appealing to all.” Courtesy Getty Images

Fashion Forward: Kage pleases all palates

Did the designers of Kage aim to showcase every type of basic clothing on their latest show?

Because there were skirts, shorts, trousers, off-shoulder tops, short dresses, cocktail dresses, long flowy dresses, spaghetti straps, jackets, hoods — and even pyjamas, which with the incoming summer heat, looked especially appealing.

Launched in 2009 by childhood friends Arwa Abdelhadi and Basma Abu Ghazaleh, Kage bills itself as a label whose “ultimate goal is to design a collection appealing to all”, they said in their statement.

 The standout was a grey hooded cape that created a tension between edge and elegance. Courtesy Getty Images

Fashion Forward: Polish, craft (and fur!) at The Emperor 1688

The best show of Day 1 at Fashion Forward was delivered by the three Golkar brothers behind The Emperor 1688.

The coats and capes were the clear winners: they came in all sorts of interesting colours and sizes — and featured exceptionally tailored proportions. There was a lot of volume, but also stiffness.

And whimsy: two favourites were a green double-breasted suit and a blue overcoat with a red clover pattern and gold buttons.

 Midway through Ezra's show, snow started falling from the ceiling. Ian Gavan / Getty Images for Fashion Forward

Fashion Forward: Ezra stuns in snow-covered show

Turns out the Filipino designer Ezra, known for his dreamy couture, still had a few surprises up his sleeve.

Midway through his show, snow started falling from the ceiling.

It created a starkly beautiful atmosphere for his intricately constructed gowns that seemed to be designed for an Ice Queen transported back to the 1950s.

He showed a collection that had a lot of technical firepower behind it: glittering iridescent fabrics paired with head and neckpieces that were moulded and stiffened to stand out in odd angles.

Events

To add your event to The National listings, click here

Get the most from The National