Saint-Tropez movie star hang-out relaunches in Dubai


For greater than 30 years, La Voile Rouge was a part of the furnishings on Saint-Tropez’s sunshine coast.

The seaside membership’s guestbook learn like a who’s who of Hollywood; names resembling Sylvester Stallone, Bruce Willis and Robert De Niro joined music royalty together with the Spice Ladies, Bono and Elton John. Amongst all of them was an limitless rotation of twentysomethings with chiselled abs, bronze pores and skin and an urge for food to occasion till the solar got here up.

That was till the tip of the Nineteen Nineties, when issues unravelled at exceptional velocity. Locals’ issues concerning the over-commercialisation of the seaside, in addition to the air pollution left behind by these visiting the limitless bars and eating places alongside it, bubbled up. On the similar time, Saint-Tropez confronted stiff competitors from youthful, wilder occasion spots popping up within the Mediterranean, resembling Ibiza.

Only a few years later, with its glory years behind it, La Voile Rouge closed.

Nonetheless, it’s now reborn within the Dubai Worldwide Monetary Centre — and The Nationwide went alongside to see if it could recapture the magic of the golden period.

La Voile Rouge has black-and-white photos of the celebrity-filled summers during its Saint-Tropez heyday. Photo: La Voile Rouge

The place to sit down and what to anticipate

The restaurant’s location inside Al Fattan Foreign money Home makes it tough to seek out, particularly if coming into from the underground automobile park — it’s greatest to ask for instructions as there are not any apparent signposts.

Nonetheless, when my eating companion and I ultimately uncover the painted iron gates marking the doorway, we’re greeted by beaming faces from the charming workers. Sadly, we’re the one diners right here other than a desk of two within the nook.

Whether or not it’s the hidden location or having opened in February, shortly earlier than Ramadan and the quiet season, or a easy ignorance, it’s a disgrace to see it barren on a Saturday night time. The one suggestion of its as soon as glimmering popularity are the black-and-white images on the partitions, exhibiting the celebrity-packed summers of previous.

And, it’s actually undeserving given the excessive customary of meals being served by chef Junior Nadje.

The menu

With the busy places of work proper on its doorstep, the restaurant provides a lunch particular of three programs for Dh130 or two for Dh100 — even when it’s not proven on its web site.

Within the night, the menu is straightforward and concise. It’s, understandably, dotted with French classics together with escargot, beer tartare, beef bourguignon and duck breast. They’re joined by established crowd-pleasers resembling lobster risotto, truffle and cheese rigatoni and roasted black Angus beef, in addition to seafood and steak mains.

We place our order with our cheerful waiter, who fashions a uniform within the fashion of a ship captain. Minutes later, he’s crusing again with an amuse-bouche that marks the beginning of a memorable meal: the truffleccino. It combines velvety clean mashed potato and lashings of decadent truffle — and, although it’s served in a dainty espresso cup with a small spoon, it packs in loads of pleasure.

Snails (Dh95) come racing out of the kitchen subsequent, alongside tuna tartare (Dh95). The primary is a heat, buttery bowl of morsels wrapped in a fiery hit of garlic and parsley — it’s the stuff of nightmares for first dates in Hollywood romcoms. I am going again for thirds, then fourths, refusing to buckle beneath the glare of my spouse — I’ll experience house with my head out of the window if I need to.

Chef Junior Nadje has worked in Michelin-lauded kitchens for 15 years, including in Paris, London and Monaco. Photo: La Voile Rouge

Hats off to the chef who cubed the tartare; every is similar and the zing of citrus is a flavour explosion on the palate, which is tempered with the creamy avocado mash beneath. With our noses buried deep into each dishes, we miss our solitary eating accomplices leaving — although with meals this welcoming, who wants firm?

Mains of Josper-grilled octopus (Dh210) and roasted sea bass (Dh165) observe, together with a trio of sides: creamy spinach and mushroom (Dh35), tacky potato gratin (Dh35) and steamed greens (Dh35).

The octopus is served with roasted child new potatoes and an fragrant sauce. It has been kissed by flames on the grill for slight caramalisation, although it stays tender. The ocean bass is served with courgettes and cream of sardines, which is, sadly, bizarre. Although the fish cooking is excellent, the sardine concoction is a chilly dollop akin to taramasalata.

Fortunately, cooks steer the night again on the right track with puddings of matcha tiramisu (Dh55) and a fruit basket (Dh75) match for royalty.

The primary is a twist on the Italian basic, although, it advantages from being much less candy as chocolate makes method for the savoury inexperienced powder. And, the platter is a mixture of cantaloupe melon, dragon fruit, blueberries, watermelon and pineapple, and would little doubt be the primary alternative for previous bronze abs and his Saint-Tropez associates.

Chef Nadje picks the lobster risotto as a must-try dish for seafood lovers. Photo: La Voile Rouge

Standout dish

Sure, you’ll discover cooks in each nook of the town overusing the fabled truffle, nonetheless, it feels proper at house within the truffleccino. Even when I’d solely tasted this, I’d nonetheless depart raving.

A chat with the chef

Chef Nadje hails from Anyama, a small city within the Ivory Coast, and it’s the place his love of meals was born. His 15-year profession spans Michelin-lauded kitchens in Paris, Monaco and London. Now, he’s the principle man and eager to place his personal spin on La Voile Rouge, whereas championing modern eating.

“The philosophy of cooking is greater than merely serving diners and simply doing all your job,” he says. “It’s an artwork type, which connects folks via feelings.”

His purpose is to take folks on a journey from begin to end. “These days, prospects are acutely aware of what they order, what they eat and the place substances are sourced from.

“We strive our greatest to be very attentive to our buyer’s wants. At La Voile Rouge, there’s a dish for everybody.”

With that in thoughts, he picks his favorite plates. For vegetarians, there’s the grilled pink capsicum, completed with Terre Bormane olive oil. The marinated child rooster is a should for carnivores, whereas the lobster risotto ticks the field for seafood followers. Lastly, for candy tooths, the chef chooses his dessert of lemon madeleine with rose Chantilly and lemongrass sorbet as a solution to spherical off the night.

It’s a becoming dish for a restaurant oozing sunshine vibes straight from Saint-Tropez — and, hopefully, one to assist attract these crowds as soon as once more.

Value level and phone data

Starters are priced between Dh65 and Dh110; mains between Dh115 and Dh350; and desserts hover across the Dh55 mark.

La Voile Rouge is open from midday to 3pm and 7pm to midnight. Reservations might be made by calling 04 250 9459 or visiting

This overview was performed on the invitation of the restaurant

Up to date: October 05, 2022, 4:15 AM


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