Fraiche Cafe & Bistro – JLT Dubai
Good evening to all of you.
We are blogging live from a newly opened venue located in Jumeirah Lakes Towers, Dubai.
Fraiche Cafe & Bistro. The new hot spot opened it’s doors two weeks ago, right on time to feature delicious Iftar menus and get guests’ service up to perfection before the busy season starts again.
We saw the restaurant, passing by so many times and waited for it’s door to open desperately.
Finally after seeing their Iftar advertisement on Facebook this afternoon, we decided to calm our curiosity and finally try out the new restaurant next door. We entered Fraiche just after Iftar and found us to be the only customers this evening. We were welcomed by the young lady, her name is Else, who was also serving us later on. We wondered around the open space bistro for a while, to check out special features and get a feeling for the ambience of the same.
The restaurant tables were dark wooden and simple surrounded by about 4 to 6 wooden stools. Half of them were laid half of them empty. I guess Fraiche did not expect the bistro to be full tonight. The restaurant features approximately 70 seats, so far I could count, part of it on a cosy leather chair seating area, parts around the bar and the impressive communal table.
This is far the most impressing piece of furniture at Fraiche. The table is placed right across the entrance of the bistro, placed on a chess pattern floor, two impressive vases filled with lilies and a small library shining through from the back. Beautiful. The carefully selected various lights and lamps played a great part of the restaurant’s ambience. Some parts of the place were lit bright others a bit dimmed which made it cosy and relaxing. One could smell the sent of the flowers through the entire restaurant. Great.
Once we sat down, Else, handed over the two menus featured for the night. One a la cart menu, and one 3 course set Iftar menu. We decided to take both, mix and match and try it all.
We ordered freshly made Grapefruit juice (it is actually freshly prepared behind the bar) and a small, still water. When it came to our food order, the young lady was obviously confused. We wanted the Iftar menu, with chicken breast on risotto as a main, the soup, starter and desert to share, and ordered an additional main, which was ox cheek pie. We had to repeat it over and over again, as she got confused with the sharing part of our order. Minor start up obstacles for a bistro which just opened up it’s doors.
The food was served in minutes, and now and then we could see the Chef glazing out of the kitchen to check on us. However, he was the only one checking on us, more about that later. While sitting and awaiting the soup, we wondered what was missing in the bistro. The decoration. It was still not complete one could tell, however, I personally think it is better to not fill up the entire place right at the beginning, rather gather small, unique bits and pieces now and then, which represent the true character of the venue. The only thing disturbing our eyes was the laptop, papers, pens and other office administration equipment lying around on the table next to us. Should have been placed at the back of house really. However our thoughts were quickly distracted from the smell of the lentil soup. The soup was good. Lentil soup just as we expected it to be.
The ox cheek pie and the chicken breast on risotto followed the soup and the mixed salad of asparagus, avocado and breaded feta cheese.
WOW. Well done to the Chef. The chicken breast was grilled to perfection, the risotto was perfect too. Not too hard and spiced up just right.
The ox cheek pie was great too. Served in a petit ceramic pot, the taste was more than delicious. The potato mash creamy and crisp, the ox tender and prepared with carefully selected spices.
Who ever is the creative mind behind the menu, obviously works with ‘less is more’. A limited menu in the beginning, but what ever is on that menu, blows away your culinary mind.
Taking into consideration that the bistro just opened up it’s doors, the service was okay. The lady, Else was good when serving the food and clearing the table, however I missed the enthusiasm behind the service. Neither Else, nor the restaurant manager, Dimitrios from Greece asked us once how we find the food and if we enjoyed the evening. Crucial things to ask, when you serve one of your first guests. We were also looking for a little smile now and then, or the restaurant manager to approach us once to check on us. He was in the kitchen most of the time, being on the phone or wondered around in the restaurant silently.
The highlight of the evening however was the desert. A banana cheese cake, with caramelized, warm banana chips on top.
We were surprised that we were not offered tea or coffee, but again, small starter obstacles when opening a new place. I am sure it will come by time, once the service team is used to the basics, focuses less on the sequence of service and more on the customers.
Overall, the experience was positive. I can see myself having a coffee and getting some work done, after Ramadan there more often or visiting Fraiche for a late, lazy breakfast now and then.
We wish the team best of luck and surely pay them a visit again very soon.