Elaborate and ornate neo-Baroque decor embellishes the ambiance of three-star Michelin Chef Yannick Alléno’s decadent restaurant STAY located within One & Only The Palm. It’s hard not be impressed by the vaulted ceilings, dazzling black chandeliers, high timber walls and dimly-lit setting – one feels secluded and immediately regal. As my guest and I were immediately awed as we stepped into the enchanted and glittering surroundings.
It was a quiet evening at the restaurant and we were suddenly under the impression that we had the entire place to ourselves – something which would be rare at a popular place like Stay. We were greeted by French servers who guided us to our table and quickly brought out the menu and and a list of the restaurant’s wines. As we made our selection, our waiter explained that Chef Alleno’s concept was all about sharing; even if guests ordered just a few dishes, the food was meant to be divided and tasted by everyone. Perusing the menu, the dishes are undoubtedly simple in concoction; while the interior of the restaurant boasts extravagant design, the plates are not as decadent save the desserts which we eagerly eyed.
We began with an amuse bouche of canapés with gruyère cheese accompanied by dazzling Rosé Champagne Laurent Perrier Tours Sur Marne – just enough to get our palette ready for more. We decided on a few starters to share in line with the Chef’s concept. were Soya bean ‘risotto’ with button mushrooms and chives; Fregola sarda pasta of green asparagus and girolle mushrooms and a light Lobster Caesar Salad made with shaved parmesan and basil. The risotto was deliciously creamy, but not too heavy and wonderfully fresh in taste thanks to the addition of mushroom and chives. The fregola sarda pasta, a specialty of Sardegna featuring grain-sized and lightly toasted pasta, was sinfully rich and creamy and a bit nutty in flavor. While I am not usually a fan of Caesar Salad’s, this one proved to me that one could be made to top the charts – the addition of lobster goes a long way here; half a lobster topped with thick shavings of Parmesan cheese mixed with some of the best Caesar dressing I’ve ever tasted concludes fabulously.
For our main course, we shared a Black John Dory fillet and a Braised sea bream with Clams ‘marinière’ and roasted spring onion. The braised sea bream was an immediate hit – moist, delicate, juicy and succulent, the marinated clams and onions acted as a wonderful accompaniment to the overall flavor making this one of the best sea bream’s I’ve ever tasted. The John Dory was a bit disappointing; the texture was unusually rubbery so much so that we were hindered from eating it.
The disappointment soon faded as we went to get our half meter of dessert from the Pastry Library. We went over to see the wall of beautifully-sculpted pastries and suddenly had difficulty at choosing our mix. Pastry Chef Marie Wucher graciously assisted us and explained in great detail the incredibly composition of each sweet. We helped ourselves to pink marshmallows topped with sugar, a vanilla, chocolate and coffee tart; wonderfully moist and crunchy macaroons and the pimms chocolate and orange dessert which was an immediate hit. We were in heaven and thought, as we were regally devouring such goodies, that one could easily just come to STAY for the dessert – but you wouldn’t want to do that. STAY is best as the full experience, decadent, rich and yet elegantly simple.
We walked away deliciously content and pleased. The only “but” here is the transport. Unfortunately, and surprisingly for a hotel such as the One and Only, we ended up waiting for a taxi for around 45 minutes – a fact which put us a bit at disease after such a top-notch dinner. Just make sure you call a ride well in advance after you leave this magnificent eatery.
Yannick Alléno’s Stay is located at the One and Only The Palm, +971 4401010.