“There is nothing new except what has been forgotten.” Marie Antoinette
When the Friday Brunch you have booked is entitled the Versailles Decadence Brunch you suspect that you maybe in for an elegant and indulgent treat. As we ascended the grand sweeping staircase in the lobby of the St Regis Dubai we were dazzled by the huge crystal chandelier, a glimpse of the grandeur to come you could say as we entered the Brasserie Quartier restaurant and were transported back in time to 18th century Versailles.
Greeted warmly by staff in period costume akin with the French Royal Court of a bygone era (think Louis XIV, Marie Antoinette, corsets and bustles) we were handed glasses of pink bubbly and escorted to our table. Brasserie Quartier is a grand affair, a self-proclaimed reinvention of the iconic French palace, the sumptuous interior design with its velvet seating and monochrome checked flooring has the wow-factor, Friday brunch is the pinnacle of its weekly culinary offerings. Live music in the form of a saxophonist and singer, five-star service and indulgent modern French and Mediterranean haute cuisine are the order of the day.
Officially declared open with a St Regis traditional champagne sabring ceremony performed by a Napoleon costume clad server, the brunch offers a mix of a la carte table service and buffet stations. Crudités, canapes including snail beignets (vol-au-vents), salads, main courses and copious amounts of drinks were served to the table including a delicious array of cocktails with appropriately themed names like the Marie Antonie (my favourite) and the Guillotine. In keeping with the French theme the gourmet fare included foie gras, a pastry and croissant station, spectacular displays of seafood, cold cuts and antipasti, copious sweet treats from the adjacent beautiful patisserie and an array of French cheeses and port.
Notable vegetarian dishes were the gougères (savoury cheese choux buns), burrata with miso eggplant (the eggplant flavour was particularly tasty) and tomato confit, the traditional thin pissaladière topped with cheese and onions and a variety of green vegetables for the veggie option while the meat eaters had a topping of veal bacon. The salads were fresh and the desserts were irresistible with delicacies like macarons and eclairs, the bread and butter pudding made with croissants and served with crème anglaise was noteworthy. In true brunch fashion there was of course a chocolate fountain, the Brasserie Quartier version has three flavours of rich chocolate flowing in unison.
My fellow diners enjoyed the various foie gras terrines and tucked into the enormous pile of lavish seafood that took centre stage on our table and included langoustines, oysters, clams, mussels and lobster. Mains were chosen from the a la carte menu and included slow cooked Welsh lamb, foie gras stuffed chicken breast, twelve hours braised Wagyu short ribs and roasted sea bream, the vegetarian option of mushroom risotto was distinctly average as was the service. Colonel palate cleansers (and an all-important digestive) were assembled on a trolley that was wheeled from table to table, the lemon sorbet with prosecco was served in vintage glass bowls.
Versailles has been reimagined in Dubai courtesy of the St Regis. The Versailles Decadence Brunch certainly replicates the extravagance and gluttony that took place at the Versailles palace but without the debauchery of the parties thrown by Antoinette, in fact the ambiance was quite reserved all round for usual brunch standards. This brunch is a treat, an excuse to get dressed up and indulge yourself in rich French cuisine, celebrate a special occasion or impress a visitor. More of an adult affair than one for families with young children I would say although they are welcomed, if you like your Friday’s fancy and don’t mind splashing some cash this is the brunch for you.
Location: The St. Regis Dubai, Sheikh Zayed Road, Dubai
Telephone: 04 435 5577
Versailles Decadence Brunch: Every Friday 12:30pm – 3:30pm
Price: AED 450 with soft drinks, AED 550 with free-flowing house beverages and bubbly and AED 650 with free-flowing house beverages and Bollinger Champagne
Two of these brunches were complimentary. All the views are my own. Unless otherwise stated all photos on this page © Jo Brett 2017. All rights reserved. Three additional photos used courtesy of www.stregisdubai.com