A classic French experience - Brasserie Angelique, Jumeriah at Etihad Towers, Abu Dhabi

You have read the plaudits and seen the plaques. I am sure. This has been one of the critics' most loved restaurants over the last few years and certainly a firm favourite among those wanting classic French cuisine in an opulent setting with brasserie undertones. The setting of Jumeirah at Etihad Towers is a fitting location for this restaurant, considering it has that luxe feeling. Luxurious it is, gaudy and over the top it is not. 

My guest and I start off with an aperitif at the cosy little bar inside the restaurant. The bar is itself something worth trying. An Aperol Spritz starts off the evening, and being in a French restaurant, it is appropriate that the barman uses Veuve Cliquot Brut NV. Brasserie Angelique markets itself as offering you your very own corner of France, and the bar certainly creates that exact same ambience. My guest remarked that it felt like a scene from a movie, and she herself is well travelled and one who appreciates gastronomy. 

We start off with the Foie Gras Confit Dans sa Graisse, or  Confit Foie Gras. The foie gras is exactly what you would expect - it is served at the right temperature, ensuring just the right degree of creaminess. As for the red onion compote, it  is immediately a winner as it combines sweet and sour so beautifully. The white grapes are an added treat! Furthermore, pine nuts add something I have started enjoying more and more with my foie gras, and that is texture. Finally, despite trying to cut down on carbs, the brioche is just divine and I end up finishing both slices. 

My recommended wine pairing, the 2013 Chateau d'Armajan des OrmesSauternes marks a pleasant change from what I am usually offered as a suggested pairing. Its sweetness is a good foil to the fattiness of the foie gras. One of 18 by-the-glass wines, it pairs perfectly. 

Next up, as an intermediate dish, we have the Saint-Jacques ‘Hokkaido’ Poêlées or Seared ‘Hokkaido’ Scallops. A look at the picture shows that wonderfully seared surface of the scallop. My first bite reveals two things that stay with me - the scallops have a crispiness on that seared side that I find both adventurous and also a credit to Chef. The crispy texture and colour bring something special to the scallops.  Secondly, the scallops taste like scallops - stating the obvious, but you want the natural taste of scallops and deeper flavour should come from what else is on the plate. In this case, the Crustacean sauce is sublime. Finally, and this is the understated gem in this dish - the tempura. Chef uses flower of courgette, or zucchini bush in his tempura. The tempura is crispy and light. The result is that  a simple scallop dish becomes an extraordinary one. All in all, a  dish fit for the Gods!

The main course  is a dish I am looking forward to. The Lapin de Garenne en Cocotte or Braised Rabbit. Served in a flat copper saucepan recalling a typical brasserie, the rabbit is a homely dish. Chunky pieces of root vegetables reinforce the idea. The rabbit is very tender, but be warned that because it is a lean animal, it will be drier than what you are used to. But the sauce it is served in goes a long way to keeping it moist. I particularly lap up the mild sweetness emanating from the prunes. All in all, a dish that for me really captures the soul of Brasserie Angelique.

On my last visit, my daughter and I had the Crêpe Suzette for dessert because of the theatrical value. I choose the same dessert this time. If you are a novice to French cuisine, I recommend this dessert. It is quite a pleasure to watch as it is prepared. If you have had this before but it has been a  while, then you should indulge again. There is a reason some desserts are classics!

It is not hard to see why Brasserie Angelique has retained its popularity despite so many restaurants emerging, especially in the last couple of years. There is no fusion here or playing with ingredients. What you see on the plate is what it actually tastes like. In other words, this is classic French. It remains a restaurant that you want to try more than once a year and is definitely worth saving for. 

The Essentials

Brasserie Angelique,
Jumeirah at Etihad Towers
Abu Dhabi
+971 2 81115666

 Brasserie Angelique Menu

Starters 40-125AED++
Mains 75-250AED++
Desserts 45AED++
Brandon Stoltenkamp
Disclaimer: I was invited to Brasserie Angelique as a guest of the restaurant.