Will luck strike for La Môme?

La Mome Dubai - Dubai restaurants - FoodivaRemember Forty Four Bistro in the Warwick hotel? Well, the Belgian owner closed it down and has opened a French restaurant, La Môme, just across the Sheikh Zayed, on the 49th floor of the Nassima Royal hotel, replacing Tre and previously Icho. Will it be third time lucky for this location, and second time lucky for the owner? Let’s see.

Named after the French singer, Edith Piaf, La Môme successfully captures the essence of 1950’s France with a Parisian street map adorning the ceiling and vintage light bulbs casting a soft glow across the cosy dining room and bar. Window tables overlook the Sheikh Zayed skyline, perfect for romantic dates, whilst circular leather banquettes in the centre of the room make for convivial dining. There’s something for everyone.

House wines bottled for La Môme add a differentiating factor to the wine list – pick a choice of five grapes (in our case Shiraz) and you have a very palatable bottle for an affordable AED175. Bravo!

La Mome Dubai - Dubai restaurants - FoodivaThe menu promises authentic French dishes and, interestingly for a licensed restaurant, highlights those that are lighter on the tummy. We start off with one such dish – a starter of red mullet fillets ‘Nicoise’ style. A couple of fillets arrive pan-fried which gives the skin a delicate crispy golden texture. The Nicoise influence comes through in a mound of well-seasoned and finely diced veggies – but the core ingredient, the potato, is undercooked.

Our second starter is a dozen snails, and like those I tasted in Burgundy recently, are juicy and tender. We eat them like popcorn. A generous dousing of moreishly decadent garlic butter has me polishing it off with baguette.

Next up for mains is another ‘light’ plate – skate wings. An unusual dish I have yet to spot elsewhere on a Dubai menu. A hugely generous portion that on arrival appears far from light – but in essence actually is. A member of the shark family, the grilled flesh from these fins flakes off easily, whilst a brown butter and caper sauce provides lip-smacking umami flavours. A side order of French fries, always a good test of a French kitchen, sadly disappoint and would benefit from a second deep fry. The green beans, however, are on point and al dente.

From the signature dish section of the menu, I choose the roasted pigeon – something I am unlikely to cook chez moi. Served on the bone, it’s naturally a little fiddly to eat, but the meat is succulent and earthy in flavour. Unusually, it sits on a bed of roasted sucrine lettuce (a smaller variety of Romaine) whose slight sweetness and buttery texture cuts through the fat of my bird.

For dessert we pick a caramel and salted butter fondant to share, which, whilst excellent in its own right, really needs a scoop of vanilla ice cream to complement the flavours. Oddly for a French restaurant, the menu lacks a cheese selection – and with a little red vino left to polish off – we ask if the kitchen can serve some. Our waitress is very obliging and returns with a few slices of Comte – another fond memory from my cheese tour around France floats by. If that wasn’t enough, all guests are served scoops of chocolate mousse straight out of a copper serving pan – as an alternative to petit fours I guess. A lovely, complimentary touch.

The knowledgeable front-of-house team is mostly French. In most parts, the service excels, but in some cases is a little too keen. For instance, different waiters within the space of a couple of minutes refill our wine glasses. On a Friday evening, the restaurant is a third full at a push, but despite the lack of diners, the atmosphere is charming and cosy. The playlist is in keeping with the theme and echoes Edith Piaf tunes.

But what lets La Môme down is the price point – expect to easily pay AED355 per person for three courses (without vino). That’s a hefty ask for what is essentially a casual bistro-cum-brasserie serving rustic French dishes. The likes of La Petite Maison and La Serre command a similar cheque per head (if not higher), but the overall experience and the food are of an upscale fine dining level, unlike La Môme’s traditional dishes and more relaxed affair. Whilst the owner has clearly learnt from his lacklustre décor mistake at Forty Four Bistro, he has decided to increase his prices (up from an AED235 per person charge), whilst the cooking style has not changed. I do want to return to La Môme, but at that price point, sadly, it won’t be frequently. There are other more affordable French bistros in town competing for my wallet. With that in mind, the knife rating has to remain the same – an average three out of five FooDiva knives. Lower the price point, address glitches with some of the dishes, and luck may just strike.

Have you visited La Môme? What’s your go-to French restaurant?

A bientôt.

FooDiva. x

FooDiva Rating: Knife Rating: 3
  • Posted under
    Dubai, Food, French, Hotels, Licensed, Location, Restaurant Reviews, Restaurants, Sheikh Zayed
  • Pin It

10 Responses to “Will luck strike for La Môme?”

  1. Dave Reeder December 7, 2016 at 2:20 pm

    I adore Skate in black butter – one of my go-to dishes whenever in France! But with fries? Really? It should be, I think, served with simple boiled potatoes which make it easier to mop up the butter sauce with, perhaps, a simple green salad on the side. It is odd that we don’t see skate more often on menus – it’s ideal for those who are put of fish because of the filleting since the flesh slips off the large quill-like cartilage and there’s almost zero risk of swallowing anything but fish… I’ll have to see if the mobile fish van from Cornwall that visits the market square here for a couple of hours on a Friday can get me some!

    • Matt Broderick December 7, 2016 at 11:20 pm

      agreed! there has to be a better option than fries for the skate…… salad and herby potatoes sounds divine!

    • FooDiva December 8, 2016 at 2:07 pm

      In all fairness Dave, the side orders were optional. I really wanted to test their French fries – and you can still dunk them in the sauce! Skate is like the lesser known cuts of meat – hanger, skirt etc that are beginning to see a bit of a renaissance in menus here. Your fish will undoubtedly be fresher!

  2. Matt Broderick December 7, 2016 at 11:19 pm

    the food sounds so good – I want those snails and the skate! Pigeon is a favourite of mine (and I had Jordanian pigeon recently – who even knew?!) and looks good.

    this price point issue keeps coming up…….how rare is it that we pay less than 300 AED a head for a half-decent meal? Where are the lunch deals in this country? How can I eat a lunch men at 2 and 3-star restaurants in Europe for less than 200 AED but cannot do similar here. Such an opportunity missed!

    either way, I will be keen to try this at some point; excellent review, as always!


    • FooDiva December 8, 2016 at 2:13 pm

      I can still relish the taste of those escargots Matt – divine 🙂 Pigeon is quite common in the Arab world. I’ve eaten it a lot in Egypt (and at Egyptian restaurants here), plus we have it in Cyprus too. Quite right on lunchtime deals, but it would help if restaurants open for lunch 😉 La Mome is only open on weekdays which means they are targeting the office crowd.

  3. JayEim December 9, 2016 at 12:52 pm

    Let me see. One Pigeon at AED199………..WHAT……… A single Pigeon at AED199????? Must be a Wagyu Pigeon or something like a Pigeon de Brest if such exists………Me think time to change job and invest in a Pigeon farm or is it called Aviary or whatever they call it. I will become a Pigeon King and will be able to eat Weekly at Novikov and Cipriani with the WalletBrains and the FauxTox crowd. I would have arrived…..finally!

    On the other hand, would someone tell those folks that Moelleux au caramel et “beurre sale” should be corrected as “beurre salé” as beurre sale means dirty butter.

    Nahhhhh. The place is not Bling enough for me.

    • FooDiva December 11, 2016 at 1:19 pm

      Glad you agree it’s expensive Jay for relatively simple ingredients with a traditional cooking style. Hopefully they will see your note on the menu typo 😉

  4. Daniel During January 6, 2017 at 3:03 pm

    Went to La Mome last night and it was excellent.
    A bit too quiet when we first arrived at 8:30 pm but it gathered pace later towards 10pm.
    The place is a chillax place for good quality dinner.
    Absolutely zero fussy interiors (think Bistrot St Tropez in Century Village) with very good quality simple food, simply presented. (think a simpler version of La Serre or La Petite Maison with more French classic dishes)
    Relaxed crowd in jeans and shirts. Not show off at all. The opposite of the Petite Maison crowd.
    It has all the ingredients to succeed.
    I would have liked to see more affordable wines.
    One only comment: the brioche of the foie gras was a bit stale…
    but will definitely come back.
    Could easily become my everyday restaurant if prices were everyday prices :).

    • FooDiva January 10, 2017 at 5:37 pm

      That’s good to hear Daniel 🙂 It’s weak link is the pricing. If they can address that, they may be onto a winner.

  5. jeev January 28, 2017 at 6:36 pm

    It is true that Friday eves, the restaurant is full and playlist is in tune with the theme and echoes Edith Piaf tunes.

I’d love to receive your feedback, so feel free to comment any time.