Posted by Jen Sahi on 28th March 2019.

Le Cirque is the stuff of legends, with a pedigree that few restaurants in the world can compete with. The original Le Cirque in New York City was founded in 1974 by Italian immigrant, Sirio Maccioni, and has wooed an enviable list of celebrities over its illustrious 44 years, including the likes of Frank Sinatra, Elizabeth Taylor, Ronald Reagan, Salvador Dali and Andy Warhol. It’s also kick-started the careers of countless chefs, such as Daniel Boulud, David Bouley, Rick Moonen and Terrance Brennan.

While the New York outlet was known as much for its high-flying clientele and subtle pretension as it was for its ceiling that resembles a circus tent, Le Cirque at The Ritz-Carlton, Dubai International Financial Centre, is a far more subdued affair. Gone are the starched linen tablecloths – this is accessible fine dining without the attitude. Think sleek lines and décor in white and grey with the odd harlequin pattern which makes an appearance. Bright red glasses inject a hint of colour, and there’s a touch of theatrical whimsy with colourful modern art from the nearby Opera Gallery.

At Le Cirque Dubai, the clear focus is on the food – simple yet flavourful French and Italian cuisine curated by the talented and much-lauded Head Chef, Wesley Berghoff Tyron, who brings his own flair to Le Cirque’s timeless dishes. The menu rotates on a quarterly basis, with the team expertly recreating recipes from Le Cirque’s four decades of culinary tradition, so it’s difficult to go wrong.

The must-try dish is the Steak Tartare with Charcoal Egg and Pickles. Black Onyx striploin is carefully minced by hand, then mixed with parsley, shallots, capers, and a rich homemade ketchup prepared with slow-roasted tomatoes and peppers. Dollops of creamy sous-vide quail egg yolks infused with charcoal oil perfectly complement the tartare’s umami flavours.

The Sugar Snap Salad with Persian Feta, Crispy Quinoa, Avocado and Mustard juxtaposes crunchy sugar snap peas and crisp radishes with creamy feta, avocado and a light mustard dressing for the ultimate summertime salad that you can enjoy at any time of year. A chiffonade of fresh herbs adds to the summery freshness.

The Seafood Fregola with Bottarga, Lemon and Chili pairs the lesser-known Sardinian toasted pasta (similar to Lebanese Moghrabieh) with fish, octopus, squid and prawns, along with Parmesan cheese and a touch of double cream, for a hearty yet comforting dish. The addition of Italian bottarga (cured grey mullet roe) elevates this dish to another dimension.

Le Cirque’s Cod a la Grenobloise with Cauliflower, Capers and Parsley is a skillful interpretation of the typical French preparation – grilled fish with a rich sauce of roasted cauliflower, browned butter, capers and parsley, topped with more roasted cauliflower and crunchy croutons.

As to be expected, the desserts at Le Cirque are classic too. Whether the Apple Tarte Fine with Vanilla Sauce with Cinnamon Ice Cream or Chocolate Fondant with Crumble and Coconut Sorbet, it’s the perfect way to end a faultless meal at an iconic restaurant that exceeds expectations.

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