Thursday, 1 March 2012

Galeries Lafayette Gourmet Experience, Dubai

What happened when I met up with a bunch of like-minded, passionate food bloggers in Dubai and we got invited to sample the culinary delights of Paris's most opulent department store?

I have recently been invited to join a lovely group with the fabulous title of Fooderati Arabia, a collective of fellow food bloggers in the region. Until now, I have not been able to attend any of their events due to reasons I won't bore you with, but this week I finally met up with the group at the Dubai Mall branch of Galeries Lafayette, the beautiful French department store, where we were invited to a gourmet food tasting! In my previous life as penniless student, I whiled away many an hour in their Berlin food hall, longingly admiring the produce on offer, clutching my coffee for dear life, making a single cup last hours. As you can imagine, I was ecstatic to visit their Dubai branch and see how well they had replicated continental Europe in the desert.

The food hall is reminiscent of Harvey Nichols in Edinburgh and Selfridges in Manchester, effectively combining supermarket, coffee shop, deli and restaurant. Whether you want to nip in for a coffee and a girlie gossip, discuss business over tapas or spend some quality time over a quality meal, Lafayette Gourmet has all bases covered. They even offer outside catering which we also got to sample.

Us bloggers were greeted with fabulous mocktails before we got down to dissecting the menu- my personal favourite was the Mojito but the Tropical Fruit long mocktail was a close second:

Perfect cooler for a muggy Dubai heatwave:

The Amuse Bouche were brought out which consisted of buffalo mozzarella with cherry tomato and goats cheese moneybags with honey for the veggies, whilst the omnivores devoured Foie Gras bonbons and smoked salmon. The mozzarella had a fleshy, velvety texture that melted in your mouth. The moneybags were delicious,but I believe they should have been garnished with cranberry sauce for them to be experienced at their best. In the below pic, you can see the mozzarella and next to it is a chicken and lemongrass appetiser devoured by my fellow bloggers:

After digesting the appetisers, an internationally eclectic range of hot dishes were brought out. Moroccan Lamb Tagine was popular but with me being veggie, I opted for the plain couscous- its soft, silky texture heightened by pine nuts and cinnamon:

Street food was even represented with both Thai and Yakisoba noodles, served in authentic noodle boxes with chopsticks- the Thai noodles consisted of chicken and tofu, the Yakisoba noodles with sesame sauce, peppers, beansprouts and duck for the meateaters. The noodles were satisfactory but lacked the X-factor- less oil and more chillies or a flavoured sauce wouldn't go amiss.

The head chef really got his team to rise to the challenge of preparing me a veggie meal at short notice. As I was the only veggie there, it was such a lovely surprise to have a bespoke dish for the Vindaloo Queen- I had this fabulous platter from the Indian section- aloo gobi, dal, parathas and popadoms:

Here's the curry display- a feast for Vindaloo Monarchy:

The Aloo Gobi was amazing. Fresh cauliflower and potato in a delightful sauce with a fiery aftertaste, the mild curry of the Dal being the perfect antidote. The popadoms had a unique design as they were curled pyramids, not round and flat, so were perfect for dunking and dipping in the curry sauce! The parathas were oven fresh, served in manageable triangles, great for scooping up with and not at all cumbersome like Naan bread. While I was enjoying the curry feast, the other bloggers were experiencing a taste of Spain with this bountiful beef paella:

The cheese selection is exceptional with most of it imported from France- the Brie I tried is melt-in-your-mouth creamy and I also sampled sheep cheese which could be compared to a more potent version of Red Leicester- the perfect accompaniment to pickle. Also on offer were Italian treats from , an interesting range which includes Italian staples like Panettone and olive oil, and some unusual treats like cocoa flavoured pasta and date dipping oil.

The Lafayette desserts were a sight to behold including ice cream lollipops, bitesize decadent cakes similar to those at W Grill and my personal favourite, cones filled with chocolate mousse, caramelised popcorn and marshmallows:

After such a decadent evening, I had to waddle home but guess what? The party for my tastebuds didn't end there! Our generous hosts gave us a bag of goodies to take home, comprising of a bag of Love Italy pasta, a beautiful Lafayette celebration cake and the cutest party favour I have ever seen. Hats off for originality- this party favour was a mini chocolate bar shaped as a lipstick!


  1. Nice account of a lovely evening VQ :)

  2. A Nice run through a fun evening. The food was fab, and the products as ever, all the things missing everywhere else :)) It was nice meeting you and hopefully more get togethers on the way...

    Enjoyed reading your post :)

  3. Ah ha, that's what that lipstick was! I was dead afraid to try it...

    It was awesome meeting you that evening. And you're description of e fleshy, velvety mozz was spot on :)

  4. Thanks for the feedback everyone!

  5. I notice you have mentioned W Grill at Wafi (again:)). I went there last autumn and loved it.
    I was hoping to go there this weekend (I am only a sporadic visitor to Dubai), but can't find anything about them on Wafi's website.
    I hope it hasn't closed down? Do you have any idea if it's still going and if it might be necessary to book a table on a friday night?

    1. Hi! Last time I checked, W Grill was still there but you're right, just been on the website and there's no mention of it! I know that some restaurants close for the summer in Dubai, don't know if W will though. I do know it has a Friday all you can eat brunch buffet which lasts til 17.00 so I think Friday night in there will be easy to get a table and you wouldn't need to book. Let me know how it is if you're lucky enough to go back!

  6. Thanks so much for your prompt reply, oh Queen of the Vin, the Da, and last but not least: the Loo;)
    I went past Wafi this evening and alas, W.Grill is closed for refurbishment according to a note by the entrance. No details on when they re-open, but the kind waiter in the (absolutely sub-standard) spanish restaurant across the way told me that they had been closed for a while and there were also rumours of a new owner. He had no idea when they will re-open.

  7. Really a nice blog.. Thanks for posting this.

    Lafayette catering


Hi Vindaloo Kings and Queens!