For a break from the glitz and glamor of Madinat Jumeirah, slip on your fluffiest parka and head down to Publique. Sure to win every French foodie's heart in a nanosecond, you don't even have to like the food to be smitten by this place. An adorable slice of Alpine charm in Dubai, the bar and restaurant flaunts a scrumptious French menu, snazzy cocktails, and a virtual fireplace!
A table reservation at Publique can simply and swiftly be made on the phone.
Madinat Jumeirah has its own multi-level underground parking with direct access to the souq complex. Simply drive up to the entrance and slide into the underground parking.
Greeting and seating
Instead of using Google Maps to decipher my way from the Madinat's entrance to Publique's doorstep, I let the chipper Maitre'D guide me to the restaurant over the phone. Sandwiched between Costa Coffee and The Agency, a pair of gleaming welcome staff walked me to my table.
Knowledge and service of the waiter
The waiters at Publique deserve a major high five for their awesome service. Smiling comes as naturally to them as breathing. Our waiters' personalities were warmer than a mug of hot cocoa right after a ski session. Pumped with contagious energy and effortless French charm, every question of mine was answered with relish and appreciation for the menu.
Dinner at Publique featured a chicken Caesar salad, Burgundy escargot, roasted salmon with white butter sauce and ratatouille, a pulled beef burger with fries, the Brownie Decadence, a banana split, a bottle of Publique house white wine bottled in 2015, and a bottle of Evian.
My dining partner isn't the most adventurous eater. While I was smacking my lips at the very mention of escargot (a classic French, Portuguese, and Spanish dish of cooked snail) – she was scanning the menu for dishes that hit close to home. Our evening commenced with a chicken Caesar salad for her and a portion of six snails for me. As a massive bowl loaded with crunchy iceberg lettuce, a soft boiled egg, and strips of chicken dawdled its way to her, a humble and infernally hot collection of escargot landed before me. Bubbling with rich punches of garlic and parsley, I took a moment to appreciate that these little blobs of squidgy goodness traveled all the way to my dinner fork from the distant forests of Burgundy in France. If you're the person that sticks to beer while everyone at the table is slamming kamikaze shots, if you're the person that floats around on a pool noodle while everyone else is canon balling from a crazy-high diving board – the chicken Caesar salad is a safe and downright delicious bet!
Next up – roasted salmon served atop a splash of white butter sauce for me and a dauntingly sized pulled beef burger with fries for my dinner partner. While typically served with green beans, our server insisted I try Publique's ratatouille with my salmon. Great dish, great movie – I instantly nodded yes. Blue cheese is an acquired taste – one that I haven't been able to get a hold of despite being a person that savors oddities from snails in Dubai to fried crickets in Bangkok. My dining partner can't stomach sashimi without almost passing out, but the blue cheese in this burger won her vote! My salmon was pleasant, especially when accompanied by the indulgent sauce on the side. Comforting and familiar, I only had enough room to squeeze in a few bites of ratatouille.
Despite being stuffed like a pair of pinatas, we both perked up when our desserts arrived. A brownie enthusiast, my dining partner opted for the Brownie Decadence. Nothing's better on a balmy summer evening that a fresh banana split, so that's what I ordered. From the minute I caught a glimpse of the desserts, I knew they were going to be Instagram celebrities. Peppered in rainbow sprinkles, we devoured our desserts and unleashed a fiesta on our tongues!
Courtesy extended during the meal
We enjoyed our meal with a bottle of light and fruity house white wine. Our servers popped in to ensure everything was in order and to regularly top up our glasses with wine and water. They were delighted to do anything from chat with us about Publique's brilliant cheese wheel to rate every single dessert dish according to preference and diner popularity.
See, the thing about themed restaurants is that they're precariously balanced on the fine line between a tacky tribute to a cool concept or an instant ticket to another world. Publique has nailed the latter with its Alpine apres-ski themed bar and eatery. While not an overwhelming homage to everything skiing and ski-related, the restaurant's walls are dotted with just enough luscious shots of snowcapped mountains to make you want to wish yourself out of the desert.
Our three-course meal for two tonight amounted to 619 dirhams.
For a lighter bill, opt for lighter drinks and save the alcohol menu for happy hour.
Overall, would you return?
Sure! For another evening of banter and blindingly delicious desserts.
Oh, and Publique's massive cheese wheel has made it onto my food bucket list!
Raclette Toi, Brownie Decadence, The Art of Penne, and the profiteroles.