Brittany Week at Le Beaujolais - Mercure Centre Hotel, Abu Dhabi

People forget that French cuisine, one of the world's leading offerings, is diverse and regional. My favourite French restaurant in the city, Le Beaujolais at the Mercure Centre Hotel in the heart of the city, is hosting the cuisine of Britanny for a week from 26 January to 3 February. As I continue to educate myself with regards the diversity of French cuisine, this seemed like a perfect opportunity. 

I start off with the Onion cream soup with pork bacon. It is a soup that has all the Le Beaujolais qualities - homely, hearty and simple. The soup is smooth and creamy and worthy of a starter as it is, but the bacon bits in a pastry cup float in the soup - I love it immediately. Rather than have the whole bowl with a bacon flavour, the bacon taste is contained in the pastry. The bacon has a biting texture, a perfect counter to the texture of the soup. Finally,  a few coriander leaves add some freshness to the palate. I have honestly never had onion soup served this way. Exciting stuff. 

Le Beaujolais has a very simple wine and beverage list, but offers of the cheapest wine in the city. However, to celebrate this exciting Brittany Week launch, I opt for a glass of the Lanson Brut NV. And why not? Life makes more sense when it is bubbly.

following my starter, I have a what on paper looks like a very unusual dish. The Fancy salad with sea scallop, truffle oil and foie gras is an indulgent salad. Delicate slices of Terrine of foie gras in any salad will be enough to excite me, but when you have nicely seared scallops in the mix, there is added reason for excitement. But I make sure that these ingredients do not detract me from the rest of the salad with freshness and colour abundant on the plate. The citrus vinaigrette and the intense truffle oil actually make for a good combination. 

If you have only one dish during Brittany Week, make sure it is the galettes - a Brittany staple. The French Galette is similar to crêpe or even a pancake but is made from buckwheat. While it is a bit thicker and carries a bit more moisture. I opt for the Stuffed buckwheat pancake with smoked salmon, spinach and pine seeds. There are three things you will remember most about the dish - First, you will savour that first moment you cut through it - the aroma intoxicates. Then, you will remember the pine nuts - they add great texture. Finally, at 70AED, you will definitely remember the price. 

For my main course, I have what turns out to be the homeliest of all dishes this evening. The Chicken in apple wine is massive and served with a simple garlic-based tagliatelle pasta on the side.  The dish may not photograph well, but it is packed with so much heart. It has that 'you can make it at home' quality, another element typical of Brittany cuisine and indeed Le Beaujolais. 

To end the evening, I have the Crêpes. I usually have a taste of dessert and no more, but there is something about the crepes that make want more and more. They are light and fluffy. Classic stuff. 

Le Beaujolais, with its regular promotions, continues to be consistent. Its Brittany Week is another way in which it consolidates its standing among the French community in Abu Dhabi while attracting other expats to a true taste of France. It offers a balance between price, healthy portions and a French cultural experience on the plate. 

The Essentials

Le Beaujolais, 

Mercure Centre Hotel, 
Hamdan Street,
Abu Dhabi
+971 2 6333555

Average price for 2 people - 400AED

Brandon Stoltenkamp

Disclaimer: I was invited to try Brittany Week courtesy of the restaurant