A little taste of Paris - Entrecote Café de Paris, Abu Dhabi

For those who missed my article in Dining and Nightlife, a local publication, here is my review of Entrecote Café de Paris.

Ornate chandeliers. Wooden floors. Burgundy and brown colours. French inspired paintings. Where has this little gem been hiding? In some ways it is like stepping into a time capsule. An era of intellectuals. Of ladies and gentlemen not apologizing for being such. A time of refinement. I feel it would not be out of place to sit down here with Balzac and discuss old Goriot!

Entrecote Café de Paris , despite being in the city for 3 years, remains unique with a concept that has not been duplicated in the city. It is a restaurants in which tradition and respect have their place. Respect for that tradition.

The concept at Entrecote Café de Paris is very simple. Based on the 1930 Café de Paris founded by Mr Boubier in Geneva, the restaurant has a single menu. And even that does not fully convey the simplicity. There is a classic Green  salad, with a choice of Entrecote steak with the signature ‘Café de Paris’ sauce and homemade French fries. On the menu there is a choice of three  types of beef – New Zealand grass fed, Australian Angus and Wagyu. All three are sirloins. My guest and I choose all three and decide to share.

The salad is uncomplicated but tasty, with that generous mustard vinaigrette full of flavor. But it is the steak we are keen on. The famed sauce is served and on the surface looks nothing more than tick whipped cream, but then the drama unfolds. The beef, atop a burner, is then covered with it, and the sauce takes shape. This, all done at our table, brings a theatrical element to our evening. They are served one by one.

 The sauce, we are told, has  a secret recipe known only to Mr Boubier. So, how would I describe it? Hard, but Dijon and butter seem to be key. It is rich and creamy, and surprisingly, works so well with the steak – all three in fact. While I never have sauce with my beef, after dinner, I cannot imagine having had my beef without it. Tonight. By the way, I recommend medium rare because as it is place don the burner it will get a bit of heat.

From a surprisingly extensive and very French dessert menu, I choose the Chocolate fondant. It is classic. It is served with vanilla ice cream and fresh strawberries on the side, the latter two mere distractions. I forego them and try the chocolate fondant. It is glorious. As I break it with my fork, chocolate oozes out and an intense chocolaty aroma fills the air. A decided lack of sweetness speaks of the quality of the chocolate. Delicious.

With probably the lowest staff turnover I have encountered at a restaurant in Abu Dhabi, I feel the sense of contentment among staff. Having said this, the service while friendly and attentive, misses a wow factor until we meet Danilo who just takes it up a notch.

Entrecote Café de Paris is quite a special restaurant. If you can look beyond the lack of variety on the menu, it is like no other restaurant in the city. There is an old school charm about it, and while the menu is not obviously French, it has a French café feel to it. It serves up something quite unique and with its location in the Souk, it offers a welcome alternative to hotel restaurants.

The lowdown

Entrecote Café de Paris,
Souk Qaryat Al Beri,
02 5576508
(fully licensed)

Beef 165AED-380AED
(incl salad and unlimited fries)
Chocolate fondant AED34

Brandon Stoltenkamp