Wine Dine and Play: February 2016

Reflets Par Pierre Gagnaire

December 2018 Review Pierre's Bistro / January 2016 Review Pierre Reflets

Festive Menu For A Festive City
Dubai Festival City, Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Cuisine Style: French
Average Price: $$$$
Overall Rating: 5/5
Dined in: January 2016
Article Updated January 2019
By Sean Overpeck (CFE)
**A full article and index glossary of restaurants, wines, recipes and travel for 
Wine Dine and Play are in the pages section above, or by following these links:

Executive Chef:
Simon Francois

A note to the reader…

Reflets restaurant has changed names to Pierre's Bistro

A second restaurant also owned by Pierre Gagnaire opened in the same hotel and is a confectionary called Choix Patisserie and Restaurant Par Pierre Gagnaire.

Pierre Gagnaire is the Head Chef and owner of the Pierre Gagnaire restaurant at 6 rue Balzac in Paris (in the 8th arrondissement). Gagnaire is at the forefront of the fusion cuisine movement, beginning his career in St. Etienne where he won three Michelin Stars. Pierre Gagnaire’s mission statement is the wish to run a restaurant which is 'facing tomorrow but respectful of yesterday' ("tourné vers demain mais soucieux d’hier”). In December 2009, Gagnaire made his debut with Twist, at the Mandarin Oriental in Las Vegas, which has since received great critical praise and a Forbes Five-Star Award. Besides his restaurants in France and LasVegas, he has other locations in London, Berlin, Hong Kong, Vietnam, Japan, Korea, and of course Reflets at the Intercontinental Hotel, where I dined and based the following review for in Dubai, UAE.  In 2015, Gagnaire won the Best Chef in the World award and has two restaurants on the top 100 of the world lists.

Five hours to kill in Dubai between flights, so why not kill that time by dining at the world-renowned three-Michelin star chef Pierre Gagnaire restaurant Reflets, a sensational French gastronomic menu of creations that intrigue and play with the senses. Surrounded by artistic Murano glass chandeliers and mother-of-pearl adorned walls, while you fully indulge in its private and romantic waterfront setting and enjoy the tastes of its specialist wine cellar, recommended by Reflets’ own resident sommelier. Upon entering the Intercontinental Hotel, it is recommended that you ask the concierge for the location of Reflets as it is not on the main lobby level. You will be escorted to an elevator down to the main restaurant. This experience would be my first from the cuisine styles of Pierre Gagnaire, and in 2010 while in Paris I had dined at a fellow competitor, Joël Robuchon, another Chef with a top 100 restaurant of the world like Pierre.

The elevator opens into a hallway with the host stand, and you are escorted down, passing the kitchen and restrooms, along with the wine cellar enclosed in glass. Beyond this, the dining room opens up with the bar to the right side, a large patio to the center front, and the main dining room with tables and booths to the left, where my table was set. A small footrest was offered to hold my camera bag, and my carry-on bags from the airplane were kept up front with the checked coats closet. 

Dining room

The menu at Reflets consists of the following; a Petit Esprit of four courses and an Esprit of seven courses, a Festive menu, along with an à la carte menu consisting of:  
    • Les Entrees 
    • La Mer
    • La Campagne
    • La Truffe Blanche d’Alba
    • Desserts
The Esprit Pierre Gagnaire of seven courses (AED 950) consisting of:
    • Carpaccio of wild sea bass 
    • Ricotta tortellini
    • Foie gras veloute
    • Roasted Hake
    • Medallions of venison
    • Selections of Reflets cheeses
    • Les dessert de Pierre Gagnaire Gagnaire
The Festive Menu consists of four main courses and four desserts (AED 790)
    • Amuse
    • Duck Foie Gras
    • Haddock and Sea Scallop Soufflé 
    • Bresse Chicken
    • Les Dessers De Pierre Gagnaire
On the evening that I dined, the menu available was the Festive which listed only four courses, but with the Amuse and dessert selections, it was closer to fifteen. The service staff was attentive and friendly, and I had also arrived from the airport early so only a few tables were occupied, yet by the time I left it was lively, especially a table of Americans near me that were defiantly on the louder side. It is also fun being in a Middle Eastern country where outside the hotels the sale and consumption of alcohol are forbidden, especially to someone practicing the Islamic faith, and still to see members of that faith drinking more wine than the non-believers. With the Festive menu, I also ordered the wine pairing to go with it.

The amuse came to the table first in a series of two settings. Two separate dishes then a few moments later there were three more. The first dish had a savory cannoli and a tart. Each item was consumed in one bite. The second plate was presented with a spoon, reminding me of Alinea with one of there amuse coursing being served the same way. 

Amuse on a spoon

The next group of three came out starting with a savory combination brûlée, topped with a macaron. The next item was four very flavorful parmesan breadsticks, thin, and swirled, displayed in a small soup cup with cloves and a sprig of rosemary. The third item was a deconstructed oyster.  I am a big fan of oysters and love the many different ways they can be presented, whether they are on the half shell, or prepared Rockefeller and Florentine style. This deconstruction was presented in a rocks glass, with the oyster removed from the shell, and skewered with a pick. The pick was inside the glass floating in a mignonette, and the rocks glass was served in a large soup bowl of crushed ice to keep the oyster at the perfect temperature.

Parmesan breadsticks

The next item delivered was two house-made butter selections with some thin crisps, olive oil, and two bread varieties also homemade. The First selection or entree was a ballotine of pan-fried duck liver foie gras, mixed with pine nuts and a plum coulis. The hockey puck-shaped starter was served with a very perfume aroma, low acid cédrats lemon, local dates, and dried fig mixture. The cédrats lemon is classified as citrus medica and is one of the four original citrus fruits from which most other citrus types have developed whether through natural hybrid speciation or artificial hybridization. Garnished on top of the duck laying in diagonal directions around the puck were sticks of milky chocolate Mikado

Outside of the food world, the Mikado is either a child's game of sticks, the name for a Japanese Emperor or a play by Gilbert and Sullivan. The dark chocolate flavor of the sticks matched with deep liver qualities of the duck was a perfect complement to tastes and an explosion of flavor in the mouth. The dish was served with a glass of 2013 Alsace Gewürztraminer, from the Hugel Estate Vineyards in northern France. According to the winemaker, the nose is young and lively with abundant green hints, bright and fresh, it clings softly and tenderly to the glass. A fresh, open, expressive bouquet, fruity and aromatic, agreeably perfumed but not excessively, the fine characteristics of Gewürztraminer are displayed with lots of charm and delicacy. The palate allows itself to be overwhelmed by a velvety softness, charming opulence and generosity, highlighted by a nicely aromatic freshness on the finish. 

Duck course

The second selection was a topinambour velouté, which is a Jerusalem artichoke also known as sunchokes, cooked down in a velouté or velvet sauce, which is one of the original five “mother sauces” created by Chef Auguste Escoffier over one hundred years ago. The sauce is typically a chicken or fish stock with equal parts roux of butter and flour. The dish was topped with a slow cooked egg yolk 68 ̊ (or 154 ̊ Fahrenheit) topped with wintergreen vegetables. This dish was served with a glass of 2014 Domaine Cordier, Pouilly Fuisse, Burgundy. According to the winemaker, it has white orchard fruit, floral and lemon rind infused aromas. A forward and easy to love, medium-bodied wine with a long and dry finish. The next selection which I label as after the second but before the third, or a ‘bonus dish’ was a very nicely cooked vegetable assortment of broccoli, Brussels sprouts, sugar snap peas, and shaved black truffle with a warm white sauce that also had some truffle aromatics to it. 

The third selection was a soufflé of haddock over an artichoke purée, with black truffles, sea-scallops, winter greens and truffle butter. The flavors of this dish combined together, and with the powerful fragrance and pungent taste of the French black truffles, sent my taste buds into a feeding frenzy like sharks in the ocean, fighting over one piece of chum. My mouth, nose, and stomach were telling my brain to be the shark and devour the dish, but the stronger part of the mind prevailed, and I ate the dish over a period of several bites to enjoy it even longer. When the plate was empty and the shark was happy, my eyes looking down and gave me the sadness that it was gone, and how I nearly asked for that course to go for my trip back to the airport. Then I began to ask myself if the Dubai security would let me take it through to the gate, or would they make me trash it? I knew that I would never get it through, so I opted out of taking a serving to go. The dish was served with an Italian 2014 Sauvignon Blanc from Alto Adige by Winkl, Cantina Terlan. The winemaker comments that it has ripe fruit aromas of apricot, mandarin and passion fruit mingle with elements of elderberry, nettle, and mint. The fruitiness continues on the palate in combination with a fine acidity. The wine scores with a good structure but at the same time aromatic finish.

Soufflé of haddock

The fourth-course selection from the Festive Menu was veal sweet bread, sitting on a thin puree of green asparagus Maltais sauce. The Maltais sauce is an egg yolk, lemon, and butter emulsion similar to a hollandaise, however, you add orange juice. A beurre blond or loosely translated as a white butter is severed with the veal.  The dish came with a glass of 2012 Chassagne Montrachet, from Boisset. Very refined, with notes of white flowers plus a very round and delicate in the mouth, with a polished acidity which lends freshness and purity according to the winemaker.

As a digestif, served on the side with the veal was a salad of épine-vinette: (épine = spiked), which is a shrub of the family Berberidaceae, with serrated spiked yellow leaves and red edible fruits. The dish was garnished with some shaved parmesan cheese. Most European countries serve a salad as the final course before desserts, versus in America, the salad always comes before your main courses. As I grew up I didn’t really think or care about that, until learning more about food, digestion, and nutrition. I discovered through my explorations in the food world that the leaves of lettuce and other items in a salad are perfect for helping the body digest the heavy protein and starches you consume beforehand. I am of course still guilty when I eat in American restaurants of having a salad before the main meal, but sometimes I do order it the European way. 

Now comes the part that will add five pounds of belly fat to you just by reading about it. The “Les Dessers De Pierre Gagnaire.” The final course came as a series just like the amuse course did at the beginning, starting with three, and then two more. So let us explore each one separately, and have our mouths salivate as we read, shall we?

The first plate was four one bite tastings of beautifully prepared treats which included strawberry gelee, white chocolate macaron, a square pastry that as I remember was either mango or pineapple, and a phyllo pastry shell of a light but very smooth chocolate that was a thicker texture than a pudding, but still moist yet liquified taste as my tongue swirled it around my mouth preparing for the swallow to the stomach, nearly putting my mouth into a cardiac arrest LOL. 

One bite treats

Next came a little bowl of magic with an orange flavored Grand Marnier liquor parfait, topped with a Chinese litchi fruit salad mixed with diced mango, and mandarine sorbet resting on top,  plus a flat sheet garnish of crystallized white sugar. The litchi fruit is a tropical fruit that originated in the Guangdong and Fujian provinces of China. The fruit has a very strong floral smell and a fragrant, sweet flavor, and is always recommended to be severed fresh as the smell and taste are drastically reduced if you purchase it canned. 

The third to die for pastry was a blackberry jelly, topped with a chestnut ice cream,  and a rose-colored meringue. Finally, it was topped with piped chocolate and garnished the same way the duck liver was with sticks, though not made from chocolate, but of light caramel. The dish did have wonderful flavors especially the chestnut and blackberry together. It wasn't my personal favorite, but still very good.

Blackberry jelly dessert

Next to the last was a hazelnut praline cream swirl, topped with a Japanese yuzu sorbet, and finished with an Italian Gianduja chocolate crumble. The process of making this chocolate is to fold it with 30% hazelnut paste and was very popular during Napoléon's regency in Italy (1796-1814). It came about by a chocolatier named Michele Prochet who because of the British blockade, looked for ways to extend the little chocolate he had by mixing it with hazelnuts from the Langhe hills south of the city of Turin. 

Saving the best for last is how the old saying goes, and for this magnificent dessert assortment, the pastry chef did not let me down, and a plate was presented with Manjari chocolate crémeux (creamy), sitting on top a ginger chocolate steam sponge cake, with pureed kumquat below and drizzled above the extraordinary final selection. The Manjari is a Valrhona chocolate that comes from Madagascar. It has a slightly bitter bouquet with hints of soft fruit and escapes from the richness of the precious and fragile Criollos and Trinitarios beans. The Manjari is also not to be confused with a Norwegian and an Indian singer either.

Manjari chocolate crémeux

All of these desserts were severed with a glass of 2010 Muscat de Rivesaltes, Cazes Estate, from the  Roussillon. This wine was a blend of Grenache, Carignan, Syrah, and Mourvèdre which according to the winemakers' notes bursts out of the glass offering black fruits laced with spice. The palate is rounded, generously flavored (those deep black fruits again with the addition of vanilla, a savory edge, and currants plus an inky burst on the finish) nicely smooth and softly tannic. As a Petite Fours, a box was presented with an assortment of one bite treats to end the evening.

Please see these guidelines for Tipping in Restaurants and on following proper etiquette, customs, cultures, and avoiding assumptions when you dine out.

This concluded the Festive menu for Reflets Par Pierre Gagnaire. A memorable experience that has me planning to one day visit the mother restaurants in Paris. Before I departed, I was given a tour of the Kitchen where I met with Chef Simon Francois and his crew and was told to have a little taste that the kitchen prepared. This taste was given to each table and the challenge was to name every spice or herb in the item presented. If you get all of them correct, the manager would allow you to take any bottle of wine from their cellar. Now the odds were like they are in Las Vegas, skewed to favor the house, not the player since the most expensive bottle of wine they had in their cellar was a 2002 Grands Echezeaux, Domaine de la Romanée Conti worth AED 22,900 or $6,400.00 American Dollars. I still believe that the bottle of wine in question is there, and no one has been able to claim it.

Wine regulatory’s for the tastings in this article:

European Union: 

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La Cote Basque Winehouse French & continental cuisine in Gulfport, Florida
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La TABLE de Joël Robuchon Haute French Restaurant in Paris, France (now L'Atelier de Joël Robuchon)
Laurent Tourondel / BLT Swanky French-American Steakhouse chain with 14 restaurants
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See the whole list by visiting “The Wine Dine and Play Article Glossary

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See the whole list by visiting “The Wine Dine and Play Article Glossary by country

Final notes, review basics, observations and more pictures:

Most reviews are subjective, depending on the writer; but they should also be responsible, and respectfully written, upholding the truth, and accurately conveying the experience to the best of the writer's knowledge, even if it includes metaphors the restaurant may not like to read about. My ratings are by the stars I award (from 0 to 5). The rating is calculated on a point accumulation of six separate factors based on individual experience. They include wine and other beverage selections, plate presentation, customer service, restaurant or café ambiance, food quality, and wow factor. To see more details of this rating list, read this article:

Overall from this experience, and the score factors outlined in the ‘about page’ section, based on my individual experience and rating, I give Reflets a 5 out of 5 stars, meaning that they not only exceeded my expectations and were far above the average dining experience of most restaurants, but they surpassed outstanding and were extraordinary.
Scores are detailed in the factor chart below:

Formula Factor Conclusions and Overall Ratings
Max Points Possible:
Total Points Awarded:
Total Points deducted:
Food quality
Plate presentation
Customer service
Alcohol and other beverages
Total regular points awarded
Total percentage — less the Bonus


“Wow” factor BONUS
Total bonus percentage


Total percentage and bonus for a final star rating


Stars Awarded (see chart below)
             0 - 5

**A full break down and explanation of the observations and point disbursement is available in the linked article above. To receive a detailed copy of your score, feel free to contact me at any time and I will provide it to you.**


Overall Star Rating:
5 of 5 Stars: 
102% Rating with a 4 point “wow” bonus
An Extraordinary Dining Experience
Wine rating:
7 of 10
Old World selections: 
Austria, France, Germany, Italy, Portugal, Spain

New World selections: 
Argentina, Australia, California, Chile, Lebanon, New Zealand, South Africa, Washington State
Corkage fee’s:
This Restaurant does not list any corkage fee’s however, most American restaurants charge 
$25.00 per bottle
Restaurant style:
Semi-formal dining
Cuisine Style:
Allergen or dietary accommodations: 
Halal, Local, Pescatarian, Sustainable, Vegetarian Options
Not Required, But Recommended
Accepted, but not guaranteed
Dress code:
Business casual to Conservative attire
Child policy:

The Restaurants reviewed on this site may have a kids menu or cater to them; however, for full enjoyment of food and wine, it is recommended that kids not to be in attendance, unless they have been trained in proper etiquette. 
If not then:
Hire a Babysitter! 
Place for foodies, Contemporary, Great outdoor dining, Good for special occasions, Beautiful décor, Scenic views, Intimate, Classy, Upscale, and a Neighborhood Gem.
Cash, Visa, MasterCard, Discover, American Express
Valet or Private Hotel lot
The restaurants reviewed on this site may have Wi-Fi, but do not require you to go online, because the excitement of the food and wine alone will keep you too entertained instead of checking your social media and emails.
Noise level:
Nonsmoking restaurant 
WARNING:  smoking patio
Patio or terrace:

Food Prices 
(excludes, alcohol, taxes & 20% gratuity’s)

$£€¥ -                Under 50.00 (inexpensive)
$£€¥ x 2 -          51.00- 99.00 (moderate)
$£€¥ x 3 -          Over 100.00 (pricey)
$£€¥ x 4 -          Over 200.00 (expensive)
$£€¥ x 5 -          Over 400.00 (very expensive)

**Currencies reflect the world’s major travelers, restaurant, or wine connoisseur’s**

Emirati Dirham (AED)
United States Dollar (USD)
Great Britain Pound Sterling (GBP)
Canadian Dollar (CAN)
Chinese Yuan (CNY)  
European Union (EUR)


Lobby Level
Intercontinental Hotel
Dubai Festival City, Al Rebat Street, Dubai 45777 
United Arab Emirates

Contact Information: 
Restaurant website:
Maître d or host:
+971 (0)4 701 1199
Website Contact:
Serving hours:
Dubai Standard Time
(GMT, Zulu, or UTC + 3:00)
Dinner: Mon-Sun
7:00 pm - 11:00 pm

Social Media 
Facebook Link                

The worlds best restaurants is a subjective list of who is writing it and changes on a regular basis. The Wine Dine and Play best experiences are based on my highest rated stared restaurants, meaning that the visit was an outstanding or extraordinary experience. From cafés, chains, mom + pops, hole in the walls, to fine dining including a few Michelin spots. Visit the Top 100 page to see the entire list.

A few to tease you with…

An innovative and eclectic tasting menu
 Ripponlea, Australia

Innovative East Meets West Menu
Cape Town, South Africa
Haute French Restaurant
 Paris, France
(Now L'Atelier de Joël Robuchon)

Other Pictures:

Table set-up

Savory cannoli and tart

Brûlée, topped with a macaron

Deconstructed oyster

Assorted kinds of butter

Bread selection

Topinambour velouté

Black truffle vegetables

Soufflé of haddock- before the sauce was added

Veal sweet bread

Salad of épine-vinette

Grand Marnier liquor parfait

Hazelnut praline cream swirl

Petite Fours

Petite Fours

Petit Fours

Kitchen crew

“Culinary perfection consists not in doing extraordinary things, 
But in doing ordinary things extraordinarily well.”

-Angelique Arnauld (1591-1661)

Who is John Galt?


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