Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Eight Courses

The coincidence of the return to our televisions screens of Ramsey's Kitchen Nightmares (9pm Channel Four tonight) and the arrival of my credit card bill for last month has reminded me that I haven't written anything about our April visit to Verre, Gordon Ramsey's Dubai outpost.

The reason may well be that - while moaning comes naturally - I find it difficult to find much to say about a flawless evening.

The restaurant design is simplicity itself; brilliant white tablecloths against minimalist dark seating and decoration. There is nothing to distract from the food, and as soon as we sat down, canapes were served in a tiny pair of brilliantly polished copper saucepans.

For the meal itself we selected the Menu Prestige; seven courses which include small degustation portions of selected dishes and a choice of two main courses for an all-in price. We had:

Vine tomato minestrone with roasted langoustine
Pressed foie gras and game terrine, marinated fig with a salad of artichokes
Pan-fried halibut with etuvee leeks and a lobster risotto
Best end of lamb with pommes boulangeres, shallots and baby artichokes served with a tarragon jus

Selection of French cheeses with walnut bread
Pre dessert
Raspberry and basil bavarois with a salad

Apart from supplying the detail that the pre-dessert was a palate cleansing passion fruit jelly and cream chantilly topped with an icily-refreshing lemon granit, I have nothing more to say. It was perfect in every way.

As our hotel was in the Bur Dubai district, we travelled to Verre by walking down to the Creek and catching an abra - one of the traditional taxi boats - across the water to Deira. On the way I stumbled on a vendor of Vada Pav. I couldn't pass this up - as I have been searching for this Bombay street food ever since Jane went there - so I suppose I really had eight courses that night and ranged from the most basic to the most exalted. It's all good, baby.

(There is quite a significant South Indian and Mumbai presence in Bur Dubai and I must write about the bar-line girls in the club in the hotel some time. That really was straight out of Maximum City.)

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