x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 23 January 2018

‘Table of the week: Atelier M’

This week’s top table is Atelier M. Occupying three floors of Pier 7, just behind Dubai Marina Mall, the recently opened restaurant and rooftop lounge is well worth a visit.

The shisha roof terrace of Atelier M. Courtesy: Atelier M
The shisha roof terrace of Atelier M. Courtesy: Atelier M

This week’s top table is Atelier M. Occupying three floors of Pier 7, just behind Dubai Marina Mall, the recently opened restaurant and rooftop lounge is well worth a visit.

The venue:

Once you emerge from the labyrinthine corridors and lifts, you’ll step into a warmly lit, crescent-shaped restaurant. If you’re an art deco fan, this is your nirvana; from the mirrored columns and geometric fretwork to the umpteen chandeliers and velvet banquettes.

The menu:

The first thing my dining companion and I remarked about the menu was that we could happily eat everything on it. Which was fortunate, we were informed, because the restaurant is based on a ‘sharing concept’. Heads-up, the food is also served when it’s ready, as opposed to a traditional succession of paired starters, mains and so on. In all, the menu was well put together with no pretentious bells and whistles or haughty nods to haute cuisine. That’s not to say it was simple; the clean French flavours and Asian twists being the brainchild of the respected chef and entrepreneur Mohammed Islam. His fondness for local, organic, seasonal produce will be familiar to those who may have dined at Chateau Marmont in Los Angeles during his culinary reign from 2003-7, and it’s a philosophy he’s carried through to Dubai.

The starters:

Of the appetisers, which included wild sea bass ceviche and oxtail ravioli, my partner and I went for two light options. We started with a tartare of Tokyo hamachi, which is a fish you’ll probably know more commonly as amberjack, kanpachi or yellowtail. It was melt-in-the-mouth perfection; simply diced, mixed with avocado and coated in a zingy yuzu (Japanese citrus fruit) vinaigrette.

We then tried the warm grilled octopus salad, with slivers of firm, flavoursome flesh drizzled in an aged balsamic, orange and cumin dressing. A hidden treat also lay beneath the seafood in the form of an infused slice of watermelon, which packed a piquant punch.

The mains:

Chicken probably doesn’t rank too highly on people’s preference list when it comes to dining out. However, Atelier M’s poulet de Bresse (from the Rhone-Alpes region in France) with seared foie gras, seasonal vegetables and truffle broth sounded too good to pass up. It didn’t disappoint, tasting virtuously healthy despite its rich ingredients. Our second main was a prime bone-in fillet, beautifully pink and accompanied by al dente ginger carrots and a side of soy and honey-glazed sweet potatoes. The cut is an extremely rare one in these parts and a foodie’s delight given the meat’s superior, buttery tenderness and the subtle sweetness yielded by the bone.

The deserts:

With the mains generously sized, should you have room for dessert I’d recommend the house pain perdu with roasted peach, thyme consommé and olive oil sorbet. Equally naughty-but-nice, the sticky toffee pudding with Devonshire sorbet and candied kumquat disappeared as quickly as it arrived at our table.

The verdict:

In short, this is a great venue, not only if you’re planning a romantic tête-à-tête but a special booking for Mother’s Day later this month. When you do visit, take time to wonder around the vast venue with its balcony seating at restaurant level and expansive rooftop terrace with panoramic views of the twinkling marina. While you’re up there, browse through the shisha menu or ask Atelier M’s resident mixologist to shake you up a mocktail from his array of homemade ingredients including cardamom soda and rose petal syrup.

Atelier M is located at Pier 7, Dubai Marina. For reservations call 04 450 7766 or visit www.atelierm.ae