Bistronomy is the latest food trend that's sweeping Dubai, and Molecule is totally on board. The term combines "bistro" with "gastronomy", combining cozy bistro vibes with the food-related passion of gastronomy. A charming trio of restaurant, lounge, and art gallery – Molecule feeds your eyes and stomach simultaneously. Compact and comfortable, the restaurant is ideal for anything from a lightening-fast lunch to a leisurely evening with bespoke cocktails.
Booking a table at Molecule happened in a flash.
I made my reservation over the phone and received an email confirmation moments later.
Dubai Design District can't cope with Dubai's merciless summer. Its European layout makes for awesome Instagram fodder. But the reality of it means trekking across a dusty patch of sand from the spacious parking lot and hiking across endless sun-slapped concrete to reach your destination.
Greeting and seating
Various smiling faces greeted us upon entry as we were guided to our seats. Our server for the afternoon introduced himself and handed us a set of menus. While the e-reservation claimed we were only allowed 1.5 hours of table time, there was no mention of that in person.
Knowledge and service of the waiter
Molecule's culturally diverse serving staff hosted us wonderfully. Our French waiter was amicable, descriptively walking us through the restaurant's concept and its modern menu. It was never a challenge getting a server's attention – whether it was for a quick coffee order or fresh cutlery.
We opted for the business lunch menu – two courses for 85 dirhams or three courses for 99 dirhams. We went for the prior, making our lunch an appetizing spread of green bean salad with crab, chicken with lemon confit and olives, salmon in a soy dressing, and the DXB Tropezienne. We wet our whistles with a bottle of Voss and two coffees, not included with the set menu.
We launched into lunch with a green bean salad accented with crab, almond, and peach dressing. Glossy strands of skinny green beans were mounted atop a squishy base of crab meat. Two forkfuls in, and it was an underwhelming start to the meal. Despite the complex web of ingredients, the green beans didn't offer the palate much apart from a light crunch and the crab meat had an unpleasant tang. We couldn't clear our plates, and regretted ordering it at all.
Our polished main courses arrived, dolled up and ready for the camera. My chicken breast was roasted with bold slices of sunny lemon confit and zesty olive tapenade. My partner's salmon steak was bathed in a glistening pool of caramelized sugar and savory soy sauce, embellished with a million tiny beads of sesame. The lemon confit elegantly complimented the poultry and plump olives. The side of gluttonous butter-infused mashed potato sent me over the edge! Soy sauce and salmon is a flawless recipe, and promises to be a roaring success whether it's quickly whipped up on a week night at home or at a fine dining restaurant. It definitely won this round!
We concluded our meal on a light note, with Molecule's traditional DXB Tropezienne. Once I mastered pronouncing the tongue-twister, a forkful of the light and luscious dessert twisted my tongue all over again. A quintessential French sweet treat, it's anatomy is typically made up of brioche and cream. Ours featured two indulgent slices of brioche gently hugging a cloud of vanilla cream and red berry jam. Swooning with every mouthful, I could wax lyrical about it for days.
Courtesy extended during the meal
Ensuring we got maximum value for money, our waiter suggested opting for premium dishes off the business lunch menu and helped us tailor our order accordingly.
As is typical of anywhere in Dubai Design District, Molecule's décor was visually fascinating. The restaurant is an interactive portfolio, with everything available for sale, right down to the cutlery we ate our meal with and the chairs we were sitting on. The walls were adorned with eclectic paintings, strands of vibrant rope, and Middle Eastern ornaments – all an homage to old Dubai.
A pair of tw0-course business lunches coupled with a pair of coffees and a bottle of Voss racked up a bill of 254 dirhams.
Overall, would you return?
Molecule's steep prices don't justify its portion sizes, so I wouldn't come rushing back.
Our lunch limped in the flavor department too, which affected its overall score.
Molecule salad, lamb rack, daily selection of tarts, and the Chilean seabass.