You can face the bustling crowds at Mall of the Emirates to get to St Tropez Bistro - tucked away in a cove in the West End, past the cinema and food court. Or you can reach it directly from a dedicated complimentary valet parking stand and escalator next to the Kempinski Hotel entrance. Either way, once you're there, it's a beautiful space. We were impressed by the casual classiness of the decor - from exposed pale brick walls to portraits of the chic set (Audrey Hepburn, Cary Grant and Marilyn Monroe, among others). And while you might not have views of the kind there are in the City of Light, the food's done so right.
You'll find both fashionistas and families at the bistro, lounge and terrace. And among both sets, the chef's salad (Dhs40) is a popular choice. Marrying ingredients including hearts of palm, snow peas and marinated artichokes, this is a starter that ticks all the boxes - taste and texture. We're not normally salad fans but this was a hit at our table. As a bonus, we felt rather healthy for ordering it.
Pungent and personality-packed, the bouillabaisse (Dhs75, starter portion) went down a treat as we love our seafood. The squid, salmon, mussels and scallops in it were cooked perfectly and the accompanying rouille, as well as a dash of Pernod, added a nice splashy touch.
The duck confit (Dhs85) looked amazing and tasted that way too. Made more moist with the bed of rich bean cassoulet surrounding it, this is the kind of main course that banishes all thoughts of calories as you tuck in some more.
Special shoutout to the day's special - uber-fresh oysters with a tang that totally wowed us.
We were too full for dessert but it's on our list to check out for the next time we're at St Tropez Bistro - you bet we'll be going back!
St Tropez Bistro, Mall of the Emirates
Location: West End, Mall of the Emirates
Phone number: 04 341 3415