It is always worthy to drive beyond downtown upto Times Square for a restaurant that delivers what it promises; especially for the ones traveling from Old Dubai. The location of Bertin Bistro and Restaurant is visible to the right to anyone driving on SZR towards the capital. Neatly placed in Al Manara, a one-storey restaurant has an amazing tale to unfold as you enter.
And the tale is Bertin’s love story – with food and women in his life; it’s seeking and conquering of love that has inspired many a dishes on the menu independent of his family-run bakery in Alsace. As you enter the restaurant, you’d find a house bakery and a relaxed Parisian bistro sitting at the ground level, whereas the upper level is transferred to a sweeping Andalusia lounge with sheehas wafting the air and where Bertin married a beautiful Esmeralda, later to open his first restaurant in the city of Tajines. The atmosphere at both the levels are in distinct contrast to one-another. While the one is calm, other is buzzing with excitement. That is, how I believe life should be!
Bertin offers two different menus – French (also breakfast) at the ground floor but Spanish Tapas and Moroccan at the first. However, on request staff takes an effort in compiling your requests for specialties from both. The first floor doesn’t allow children, so we took a table downstairs. The menu for food and drinks has a plenty of choices and not quite sure of what to start with, we settled for house special – Flammekueche. A pizza like bread comes with a number of toppings and is crisp towards the edges while being soft at the center with a thick cream cheese spread. We had Bergére with sun-dried tomatoes, olives (on request), sweet onions and blocks of goat cheese. It is an extremely satisfying sweet-salty dish to nibble upon while sipping a mocktail (or coffee/Moroccan tea) and the plus point being, that is going to become quite a favorite with children too.
Flammekueche is good on its own, however we called for two types of Hummus. An Avocado hummus and a regular chickpeas because we adults like to douche our breads in every dip we find on the menu. Avocado hummus became an ultimate favorite in my finger-food dictionary that evening!
The other orders were :
Batata Overdose – Don’t be deceived that these spicy potatoes is just like any Batata Hara you’d find in a Lebanese restaurant. This one from Andalusia’s menu is every bit flavorful with specks of coriander lending a mild after-taste.
Gargantuesque – I like to test a restaurant on the basis they make their salads – whether it is from original ingredients or not. A beautifully presented chicken caeser salad with smoked chicken, fresh iceberg lettuce and arugula, anchovies and crisp parmesan chips lifted my spirits. The caeser dressing too was light and pleasant to my otherwise mayo hating husband – see the first pic of this post.
Crispy Chicken Pastillas – The most heartwarming and exquisite dish that day was crispy chicken pastilla, a flaky pie with shredded chicken and dusted off with cinnamon. The flavors were remarkably savory with light hint of sweetness and smokiness from cinnamon which later went on to become the favorite on our table.
The desserts menu of Bertin vary a myriad of French classics from pies, custards to sorbets. Our server recommended top two in-house desserts – Bertin’s Pain Perdu and Fondant Fantastic for us.
The picture doesn’t do justice but if you are to have only one dessert then it should definitely be Bertin’s Pain Perdu; and now I know why it comes so highly suggested. A gracious twist to the french toast with salted caramel and sea salt to mellow down the sweetness was a celebration of all things Parisian and a beautiful note to a breakfast favorite.
Apart from Pain Perdu, Fondant Fantastic came as a special surprise although it may get too chocolate-y for uninitiated. A chocolate lawa with chocolate sorbet, caramel and sea salt by the side is a good share between four people on the table.
I specifically loved the menu at Bertin – it explains any spectacular dish with arrows and an explanation that gives it a personal feel. The staff is helpful at all times and the place is just as airy and comfortable for any family to dine-in. We can’t wait to be at Andalusia on the first floor, very soon especially for a very chic vibe it ensues.
Location – Sheikh Zayed Road, Al Manara, Opp. Times Square (easily available on GPS)
Website – http://bertinbistro.com/
Phone number – +971 4 321 9239
Disclosure : Although we were invited at Bertin for a review, the opinions are unbiased and remain my own.