RASPOUTINE Dubai, located in the DIFC part of the city, is truly a Russian Doll of a restaurant. Layers upon layers of intrigue starting with its unusual location in a financial office block. Upon arriving, dressed in glitter and gold, you enter the stark fluorescent lite lobby of some Fortune 500 company questioning if you really are in the right place. The Uber driver, who collected us from Avani+ Palm View, assured us this is where we will find RASPOUTINE Dubai and the night guard sat at the pristine white desk confirmed that. Making our way to the lift and up to the correct floor we found ourselves in a hallway with closed food outlets and a cleaner mopping the floor, we certainly looked out of place in our sequin dresses and high heels. Then if by magic we found the mysterious and sumptuous door to RASPOUTINE Dubai.
Another layer of that Russian Doll, we entered the red velvet and gold roped door, ushered through by the burley bouncer and greeted by the hostesses. RASPOUTINE is inspired by Russian cabaret, but with French flair and rose to fame in Paris over 57 years ago before opening its Dubai edition.
RASPOUTINE focuses on the most secretive environment where entry is reserved for the few, and this was evident from finding the club to entering the club (through multiple doors and curtains). Upon entering you are presented with a sensual universe where extravagant encounters are made. The rich dark red velvet and dim gold lite lanterns make for a very bohemian feel, think Moulin Rouge meets Russian bourgeoisie. You could instantly tell that the heart of the brand’s DNA is the music: electrifying deep house, polished, sharp, and sensuous from the DJ’s booth located dead centre in the space, pumping out tunes from open to close.
The hostess took us over to our seat, a small, secluded table for 2, where had you been on a date you could have used for dark deeds, but I was here with my bestie so instead we chose to people-watch while perusing the menu. Enes, our waiter, came over to greet us and take our drinks orders, we opted to have a Provencal Rose and a Cloudy Bay Sauvignon Blanc. He explained the menu and asked if he could choose some of his favourites to showcase to us, including the highly recommended green bean salad. In for a penny, we agreed and waited with anticipation at what would arrive.
Our starters arrived, Enes explained he had chosen the Burrata with asparagus and truffle, this was beautifully seasoned and very fragrant and the Burrata was perfectly creamy as one would expect. He also bought us the Foie Gras with Brioche and chutney, I am a huge fan of Foie so this was right up my street, mild in flavour and not too overpowering displayed on a silver plinth topped with gold leaf, decadent to say the least. Lastly, the famed green bean salad, which was truly amazing, so fresh and delicious served with hazelnuts and truffle, we gobbled this up and could have easily eaten more.
Our mains consisted of sea bass with crushed fingerlings and a sauce vierge with a side of potato and sheep cheese Pelmeni. The fish was simply grilled ut this allowed the flavours to shine through, the juxtaposition of the crispy skin against the soft moist fish was amazing, perfectly seasoned and served with olives and tomatoes. The potato and sheep cheese Pelmeni were unusual, to say the least, like potato dumplings in a cheesy sauce, worth a try but not sure it was our thing. We finished the meal with a lemon tart that was sharp, clean and the perfect end to this French-inspired mashup of a menu.
The last layer of the doll, the club after hours, turns into a den of sin from the libertine era, this was certainly a place to come to not be seen (wink wink). The location oozed with sensuality, the room was so dark you could only make out your fellow diners by the table lamps uplighting their features through the smoke. The music went from a mix of Ibiza beats to club classics, and as the night went on it got louder and more intense moving the vibe from dinner club to full-on club. Patrons were by now in the swing of things, caution was thrown to the wind and people started to dance, mingle and prop up the bar.
Fun and frivolity rained with the feel of a lock-in from the prohibition era. Sneaking out before we lost our souls to the dancefloor we were hit by the stark reality of being back in the fluorescent lighting of the office block. Just like that, layer after layer of the Russian Doll fell away and we were back in the bustling metropolis of Dubai like it was all a dream. Would I go back? If I could find it again, maybe!
Precinct Building 3 – Level 2
United Arab Emirates