“The venue and decor alone set the tone for an unforgettable dining experience.” La Salle
Elegant fine dining venue La Salle is a memorable place to visit. The standalone ocean front location at Saadiyat Beach Club is unsurpassed, add in the menu of beautifully presented, exquisite dishes and you have all the ingredients for a perfect experience.
The restaurant offers a taste of Provençe combined with Mediterranean influences from neighbouring Italy and Spain. Indulgent Provençal cuisine is known to be closer to what the Italians eat than to traditional French cuisine, this is apparent on La Salle’s seasonal menu where skillful chefs use fresh ingredients to offer some of the best dishes I’ve eaten in the capital.
A wide choice of vegetarian options is always a bonus and we started with three delicious options from the A Partagee and Les Salades sections of the menu. Firstly a delightful creamy Burratina served with Roma tomatoes that looked more like art than food, drizzled at the table with aged balsamic and the restaurant’s signature fruity, smooth Spanish Arbequina olive oil (highly recommend this dish). Next up was La Salle’s take on Moussaka, served cold this braised eggplant with tomato, pine nuts, chickpeas and pomegranate seeds was served with mini pitta breads, this dish had a distinctly Middle Eastern feel and tasted amazing. A pretty plate of rainbow baby beetroot with burrata and pomelo was another hit.
We were then presented with three more dishes, a puff pastry caramelised onion tart with black olives and anchovies, grilled eggplant with ricotta reminiscent of eggplant parmigiana minus the tomato filling and a crispy crab cake which is a new addition to the menu. The Crudo selection offers Sturia caviar, oysters and foie gras for those who like to indulge.
Our mains were a truffle heavy parmesan topped risotto and a sea bass fillet with sides of sauteed steamed vegetables and thick cut fries. Meat eaters can enjoy cuts from the De La Terre section including various different Wagyu options such as the more pricey 1100 gram 30 day dry aged Wagyu 8+ Cote de Boeuf that’s designed to share.
We were treated to the signature dessert, the Paris-Brest, presented on a silver tray with an explanation of its origin. In commemoration of the Paris–Brest bicycle race, French pastry chef Louis Durand created a choux pastry ring filled with praline flavoured cream to resemble the wheel of a racing bicycle. We also had a mille-feuille style pastry served with fresh raspberries, both equally enjoyable.
Alongside the showcase of Provençal cuisine is an extensive beverage list with creative mixology, fine old and new world wines and Grand Cus. The choice of molecular mixology definitely offers something different, I tried the Black Fox Martini, a rich chocolate based black cocktail that packed a punch.
La Salle, meaning ‘The Room’ in French, is an intimate forty-two seat space with an interior combining old and new design features as well as an alfresco terrace with low seating that offers panoramic coastline views. A striking glass chandelier hung above the central long wooden table is the focus of the interior, a variety of high and low tables are clustered around the rest of the space. Le Bar, the well stocked Carrara marble bar is another feature along with its antique mirror.
Attention to detail is apparent throughout the space. Little extra touches such as vases of fragrant lavender, a nod to the Provence lavender fields, adorn each table while a single stem is presented on each napkin. The fine dining service is an indulgent, if not somewhat cumbersome at times, touch from the attentive servers.
If you haven’t been to La Salle yet I suggest you add it to your to-do list, plan to get there for sunset to fully enjoy the view.
Location: Saadiyat Beach Club, Saadiyat Island, Abu Dhabi.
Telephone: 02 656 3535
Opening hours: Daily 5 pm to 1am
All views are my own. Unless otherwise stated, all photos on this page © Jo Brett 2021. All rights reserved. Two additional photos used with courtesy of La Salle