FACT takes a seat at Hadrien Villedieu’s chef’s table

Chef Hadrien’s six-seater, 11-course chef’s table exudes fun dining over fine dining.

It is hard not to fall in love—just a little bit—during the new Chef’s Table from Hadrien Villedieu at Chez Wam

Chef Hadrien is the effortlessly charming Gallic host. He’s personable and engaging without being over-the-top like some Lumiere come to life. His signature brand of joie de vivre and flair effuses throughout the Chef’s Table experience. I text friends after dinner, “You’re going to have a good time–and you’ll be out by 10:30pm.” Marvellous!

Chez Wam was awarded ‘Best Newcomer – Fine Dining’ at the FACT Dining Awards Dubai 2023, so I expected a good time. Perched on the rooftop at St. Regis Gardens, Chez Wam is a homely restaurant of dark woods, leafy palms, and warm terracotta. Chef’s table guests sit bar-style with a full frontal view of a near mouse-quiet kitchen churning out decadent handheld croissant sandwiches lysing with truffle and foie gras before dredging them luxuriantly into a meaty, chicken jus. 

Hadrien Villedieu

Chez Wam’s Chef’s Table distils the jocund bounciness of Jun’s with the intimacy of Moonrise. It is a gentle introduction to chef’s tables and tasting menus for those interested, but perhaps put off by the strictures and formalities that plague fine dining.

We are guided through the 11-course tasting menu, a tour de force that tells a personal story about his career, his loves, and his nemesis within an admirably tight two-ish hours, while sitting within arm’s length of the chef and his team. Chef Hadrien sets the tone early: “this is ‘fun dining’ and not ‘fine dining'” he states as early 90s En Vogue chimes in the background. 

We are presented with a twine-bound pile of illustrations created by local artist and ceramicist, Myriam Calvo, who also handmade some of the bowls and plates used. The cards are quaint. A tactile keepsake. A personal touch without veering into sappy or contrived territory. The first card provokes, “What If You Could Not Eat An Oyster Anymore?” which foreshadows Hadrien’s first course, a Vegetable Oyster, from the chef who grew up around oysters in his native France but later became allergic to them. 

Hadrien Villedieu at Chez Wam

Hadrien’s career is fascinating and, in some ways, betrays his happy-go-lucky demeanour. I first met Hadrien at INKED in Alserkal Avenue years before he landed at Chez Wam. He talks with nostalgia about his time working with titans like Alain Passard and Joël Robuchon. Hadrien’s third course pays homage to a signature Alain dish: a semi-soft egg yolk presented in an egg-shelf ramekin with local honey and a bump of caviar. 

Slabs of supple Kumamoto A5 wagyu glean with delicious fat seared to that liminal place between joy and perfection buttressed against a suave mound of pomme puree (think Joël Robuchon). It is followed by a mouthful of duck confit and foie gras and a crispy wedge of kunafa fortified with French cheese. Pre-desserts of wasabi and strawberry sorbet refresh before Hadrien reveals a seemingly endless bubble tower sliced over mouth-sticking morsels of chestnut purée. 

Hadrien Villedieu

If you are going to come–and you should come– the Chef’s Table from Hadrien Villedieu at Chez Wam.  is currently only available on Tuesday nights from 8.15pm and is priced at AED 695 for 11-courses including water, tea and coffee. A wine pairing is available for an additional AED 425. Hadrien’s Chef’s Table is a decidedly more casual affair that is nibbly adaptable for solo diners, couples, and friendship groups who want to catch up over dinner. A tasting menu that walks the line between feeling special without worrying about getting too loud. A place to let your hair down with a chef who wants to do that with you.

GO: Visit for reservations and more information.

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Liam Collens
Liam Collens is a reviewer and drone photographer based in Dubai. He is passionate about good food, restaurants, travel and drone photography.

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