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FACT Review: Josette

Fanciful French cuisine and a real sense of joie de vivre.

Entering through the revolving doors at the base of ICD Brookfield Place, we find ourselves in what could easily be described as the grandest dining room in Dubai. Yet it’s not the high ceilings, powder-pink panelled walls, heavy green drapes or sparkling chandeliers that capture our attention. Like a magpie on the hunt for something shiny, we’re drawn to a panel of flashing numbers that scatter the wall above Josette’s lively bar. “These illuminate when guests request Champagne”, we’re told. How delightful. How Dubai.

Moments later, we are sat on a plush upholstery beneath a mirrored ceiling. Finally able to take in Josette’s modern Baroque architecture and flamboyant atmosphere. The interiors designed by Luke Edward Hall promote a playful mischievousness through juxtaposing colour combinations and colourful illustrations.

Josette review

The “appuyez pour du Champagne” buttons – which give us Bob Bob Ricard déjà vu – administer glass after glass of Josette branded Champagne. A meal at Dubai’s newest French restaurant encourages diners to embrace the notion of joie de vivre. This is achieved via perfume-scented mixology and an à la carte menu of reimagined Parisian classics such as Lyonnaise onion soup with veal jus (AED 75), beef tartare (AED 105), truffle flatbread (AED 130) and foie gras terrine (AED 140). For a touch of romantic glamour, there’s also a selection of oysters and caviar.

Dining at Josette does sway to the pricier side, but we are in DIFC and (more importantly) the food is worth every dirham. We begin with a dish that’s almost too pretty to eat. Josette’s tuna tartare (AED 110) arrives at the table adorned with caviar and fanned slices of avocado before being doused with a blood orange dressing. The resulting dish is both nuanced and bold, with the zesty citrus complementing rather than overpowering the tuna, which has been mixed with nuts for a textural surprise.

Josette review

We wouldn’t have ordered the aubergine mille-feuille (AED 95) had it not been recommended by our waiter, but the simple combination of Japanese eggplant, tomato and capsicum sauce impresses. No wonder it’s a Josette signature. We also delve into six of the biggest escargots (AED 105) we’ve ever seen. Slathered in a gloriously rich almond garlic butter and served with toasted brioche, it’s the epitome of fanciful French dining.

Josette’s Mediterranean-inspired main courses evoke the best of land and sea, from grilled salmon (AED 145) to grilled corn-fed baby chicken (AED 140), pasta, risotto, and sharing plates of red mullet (AED 480) and pistachio rack of lamb (AED 495). While we’re tempted by the veal cordon bleu (AED 145), we settle on the Rossini (AED 380) and find ourselves enamoured by the tower of tenderloin, foie gras, truffle and Périgueux sauce that confronts us. Perfectly cooked, it’s a robust dish that provides a stark contrast to the light and flaky (but equally good) pan-fried sea bass (175) served with potato skins and an orange-infused maltaise sauce.

Josette review

Josette’s dessert offering ranges from Rhum Baba (AED 85) and St. Honoré (AED 65) to Vanilla Crème Brûlée (AED 60) and Crêpes Josette (AED 140) flambéed tableside. We’re satisfied with our choices of Apple Tarte Tatin (AED 85), which belies an underlying heat from its cinnamon spicing and Le Fondant Au Chocolat (AED 85), combining warm white and dark chocolate sauce into one enviable dessert.

Service is affable but sometimes lacks assertion. However, Josette’s twee brigade of waistcoat-wearing waiters and waitresses certainly look the part. Away from the fantastic food, beguiling beverages and decadent decor, Josette is a theatrical dining experience where guests are invited to enjoy cabaret shows and lavish soirées that evoke Parisian glitz and glamour. The show wasn’t running on the Sunday night we dined, but it didn’t detract from our dinner, instead providing us with the perfect excuse to return.

Josette is the latest endeavour from Orange Hospitality, the group behind the FACT Award-winning Alici, Il Borro Tuscan Bistro and the recently-opened MayaBay. Yet Dubai’s latest French restaurant still has some tricks up its sleeve with the launch of a first-of-its-kind afternoon tea and a soon-to-open boulangerie offering viennoiseries and pâtisseries.

Josette, you have made your mark.

GO: Visit or call 04 275 2522 for reservations and more information.

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David Tapley - Editor-in-Chief
As editor-in-chief of the region’s most fiercely local lifestyle publication, David is a self-proclaimed hip-hop aficionado, championing all things food, travel, street art, and streetwear across the United Arab Emirates and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

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