Bentley Bistro & Bar

Venturing through the Galleria past the high-end shops to get to Bentley Bistro & Bar, we're drooling before we even enter the restaurant as we sneak a peek through the window. Behind its white, wood-panelled walls is a spacious, beautifully decorated bar and dining area. The furniture and décor are reminiscent of an old-fashioned bistro mixed with a 1950s New York cafe. The colours are warm and the vibe is cool. We choose to sit outside to take advantage of the nice weather. Illuminated by elegant strings of light, we sit at a small table next to the high hedges that enclose the Bentley's courtyard. Within a minute or so, our cheerful waiter comes over to take our drink order. He introduces himself as Ash and gives us a warm welcome to the restaurant. He's clearly passionate about the establishment. We peruse the menu, and our attention stolen by the many delicious choices for mains. Having ignored the starters, we're unprepared when Ash returns, but he's quick to recommend the house favourite: the "Ëœno rice risotto'. He's so enthusiastic, we feel we have to try it. For the mains, we need no such recommendations: we choose the bouillabaisse and the fillet of beef. The starter arrives promptly. This signature dish consists of small squares of potato, which replace the rice in this no-rice risotto. The potato is mixed with a creamy sauce and mushrooms, and topped with large shavings of fresh parmesan. It is unusual and tasty — the mushrooms are the highlight. We're pleased that we chose to split this one as we're sure the heaviness of the potatoes and cream would have spoiled our dinner otherwise. The bouillabaisse arrives piping hot and looks beautiful served in a small cooking pot sitting on a wooden board. The steak is presented artfully on the plate. The fillet is cut lengthways and served as two discs — one topped with a fried egg — and comes with truffle butter and steamed asparagus. Looks do not deceive. We dig in, and find that the bouillabaisse is filled with fresh fish in a light, slightly spicy broth that is delicious even on its own, let alone with the seafood. The beef is, likewise, superb. Cooked to pink perfection, the combination of the fried egg and asparagus makes the meal a hearty success. Happy with both dishes, we share with each other until we can't fit in one more bite. Stuffed and satisfied, we consider the dessert menu. Ash suggests the hazelnut pudding, which looks fantastic — but we can't muster the courage to take it on. Instead, we select Moroccan mint tea from Bentley's respectable tea selection. It's the perfect end to a wonderful night. The experience was fantastic and the food delicious, if slightly pricey. We'll certainly return, though we might wait for a special occasion. The bill (for two) No-rice risotto Dhs55 Bouillabaisse Dhs200 Fillet of beef Dhs300 Moroccan mint tea x2 Dhs32 Total (excluding service) Dhs587

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