Can ‘Can Can’ impress?
Dubai; You gotta love Dubai for its string of hotel openings. With the new Ritz-Carlton DIFC just open this week, FooDiva and good friend Mr B popped along yesterday to try out the F&B (industry lingo for food & beverage). As you drive up to the hotel entrance, a ten-storey outdoor waterfall cascades down the building directly into the courtyard; an impressive sight.
Two restaurants were open for lunch, Center Cut, a steakhouse and Can Can, the all-day dining French bistro. Having quickly checked out both, we settled upon Can Can, simply because we didn’t particularly fancy a steak-fuelled meal. The hotel and restaurants were eerily quiet for a Friday, but we’ll let them off given it’s just opened. Can Can’s entrance houses a deli-style counter, good for a quick pick-me-up. We sat indoors in the main seating area, with a view of the outside terrace and DIFC’s gargantuan towers looming ahead. The interior design spells out old-fashioned, perhaps in keeping with the Ritz-Carlton image or the French Can Can theme?…
Appetisers and desserts were buffet-style with a choice of four main courses off a special ’45-minute business lunch’ menu. Not quite sure how much business is conducted on a weekend, but I certainly hoped we’d be there for longer! The waiter advised that a la carte was not a Friday option, but we discovered later it was. Anyhow let’s give them the benefit of the doubt and eat.
We started off with French onion soup from the buffet – the waiters very kindly offered to bring it to our table. A perfect choice, warming (it’s a tad cold in Dubai these days!) with just the right amount of cheese and bread. The accompanying home baked pizza bread rolls were so fresh, I wolfed down a couple pretty quickly. The salad buffet is very extensive, with a huge Arabic influence – am not sure if that’s a regular theme or it changes daily. Every salad I picked oozed fresh ingredients; also great to see such a choice of crunchy vegetables.
I opted for a zucchini risotto as my main; the creamy rice was the perfect antidote to the crunchy tempura-style zucchini bursting with olive tapenade – a welcome surprise. I must admit though it lacked a little flavour and I found myself adding some salt, which I never normally do. Mr B chose the fish course; salmon steak substituting the red snapper, and the kitchen very much complied with his request to replace the ratatouille with mashed potato and steamed broccoli. He polished it off, I guess a clean plate says it all!
Back to the buffet for the dessert selection; it would have been nice to see the dishes labelled. Chocolate inspired concoctions prevailed. My favourite was a teeny pastry-encased dark chocolate banana cake – the sweet banana contrasted beautifully with the bitter chocolate.
Whilst the staff were very welcoming, they would not leave us alone and we found our conversations constantly interrupted, including the Dubai standard of removing one diner’s dish before the other guest had completed his course. There were only a handful of guests in the restaurant, so I realise the staff were not rushed off their feet, but there’s no need for intrusive service. All Dubai hotels include service charge on the bill, but despite this fact, the waiter presented the credit card machine with an online request for a tip to be manually added – a real faux pas and not acceptable frankly. Not all hotels pass on their service charge to employees, and hence why in some cases we’d leave cash as a tip, but that’s a personal choice, not a request by a machine in a luxury hotel.
The 45-minute business lunch includes daily hors d’oeuvres and patisseries from the buffet, plus a choice of one main course (out of four): AED 110 including taxes. Or you can opt for starters and dessert for just AED 75. Incredibly good value, for quality food FooDiva says. The hotel’s business positioning coupled with Can Can’s succint menu will am sure attract a corporate clientele, but FooDiva’s not convinced it’s a great weekend leisure option. With DIFC’s compelling F&B offering, competition is rife. Sort out the service issues, and perhaps inject a little more creativity into the buffet dishes, and am sure ‘Can Can’ can pull the bankers in.
Can Can is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner and in-between! Tel: + 971 (0)4 3722222.