The day I met the Crowne Prince of Dubai at Izu Brasserie was the day I was supposed to go there for breakfast, but ended up changing it to lunch (due to karmic miscommunication with the friends who were supposed to join us).
What is also karmic is that I have cancelled my tasting at Izu Brasserie twice before, and I firmly believe it all happened because I was meant to go there on this particular day and this is how I was destined to meet His Excellency Hamdan Bin Mohammad Bin Rashed Al Makhdoum, a.k.a Faz3, a.k.a The Handsome Crown Prince Who Owns Every Woman’s Heart In The U.A.E (and possibly beyond).
We made eye contact twice, which means we’re practically married now, but I’ll leave the technicalities be.
Here’s how it went down in history:
M and I walk in to BHV Marais, lalalala. We find our way to Izu Brasserie on our right, and Izu Bakery on our left, which are same same but different. The former operates from 11a.m. till midnight, and the latter from 7a.m. till 6p.m. Each have their own designated wait staff, but for all overlapping hours, you can be seated in either/or and order from the menus of either/or.
M and I are warmly welcomed and offered a table of our choice. We picked one outside because every minute of good weather in Dubai must be celebrated with alfresco dining.
Jean and Andrew arrive. We go through the menu, pick a variety of options to share, place order.
Chef Izu arrives and drops by our table to say hi. Jean and I are super excited. The 5 of us start chatting about his ventures, how awesome he is, how awesome his restaurants are, how awesome we all are. After a 15 minute chat, our food starts arriving, he excuses himself, Jean and I ask to take a picture with him.
While Jean and I are taking our picture with Chef Izu, in the doorway of Izu Brasserie, we pay no attention to the entourage of dapper, kandoura-clad men walking towards Izu Brasserie. I thank Chef Izu, then start styling a flatlay.
While I’m deeply engrossed in arranging and rearranging the flatlay, and remove a slice of pizza onto a plate for a more “au naturale” effect, M comes close to my ear and goes “Haiya……”. I tell him (irritably of course) that I’m not eating yet, I’m just doing it for the picture, because I thought M was trying to tell me to wait for Jean to return to the table before I start stuffing my face! Haha!
Again, M goes (in an excited but hushed voice) ” Haiya………look……who is here……”. I look up. My jaw drops. My heart stops. My eyes pop out of my head. Subtlety has never been my best feat. It was Faz3.
Chef Izu has an ear-to-ear grin on his face, his hand on his right hand on his heart (a sign of respect in the Middle East), and is nodding welcomes to each of the men in the entourage. As soon as the (dozen-ish?) men go inside the restaurant, Jean and I start excited squealing and freaking out.
The food that had arrived at our table had completely taken the back seat, and we just could not care, haha! We just kept turning around to look at the Crown Prince and thinking of any and every possible way to ask him for a picture. Groupie alert, ain’t no shame.
I’m not sure what Fazza and his entourage ate, but they didn’t stay for very long, because we hadn’t even started eating when they all got up to leave. And that’s when our excitement peaked, and Jean (God bless her gutsy soul), got up and said “Sir, can I please get a picture with you?” H.R.H SMILED and replied with a short but sweet “of course!” Ded.
Naturally, I jumped out of my seat, went “ME TOO, PLEASE”, and right after Jean got her picture taken with the Most Handsome Royal on Earth,I- who could not keep my mouth closed (we’re talking jaw-on-the-floor, ear-to-ear grin)-, posed with H.R.H standing between M and I, thanked him for making Dubai such a great place to live, and floated back to our table. Life made.
On to the food now, haha!
Here’s what we had:
Fresh bread with unsalted butter. The bread was fan-friggin-tastic, but whyyyy oh WHY was the butter unsalted instead of semi-salted?
Burrata with peppers and pesto sauce. Love. Reasonable at AED 65 a pop.
Artichoke Salad with grapefruit, Kalamata olives, and rocket. AED 45, and nothing you’ll miss out on if you skip this.
Anchovy and Capers pizza: Dough perfection, good cheese, not too many toppings, just how a pizza should be. Priced at AED 65, this was proving to be a great bang-for-the-buck menu (quite unlike Lighthouse)
Squid Ink Raviol: Quite frankly, I expected this to taste unpleasant or underwhelming but this was actually quite delicious and the pasta was perfectly cooked. AED 75.
Smoked Salmon fillet with grilled fennel: It was every bit as perfectly seasoned and cooked (medium) as I hoped it would be. The only (shocking) disappointment was that (a) the salmon was sat skin side down, therefore taking away any hopes of a crispy cracking skin and (b) perhaps the skin wasn’t intended for consumption at all because…….it still had scales on!!!! Priced competitively at AED 85.
Homemade French Fries: Hand-cut utter and sheer perfection. They offered everything good fries should: no one could stop eating them.
For dessert, we tried the profiteroles (fan-friggin-tastic), the Tiramizu (which was sadly quite overhyped), the passion fruit cheesecake (a close second to the best dessert of the meal), and the brownies. When we ordered the brownies, we figured “how can you possibly go wrong with a brow?”. We now stand corrected.
Verdict: Chef Izu’s cookie-cutter template is getting old now. Some might appreciate the consistency in menus across the various restaurants he has lent his name and consultation to, but I find it lacking creativity. I did however find the food and experience at Izu Brasserie to be enjoyable and reasonable overall. The desserts were the least impressive part of the meal but I would happily go back for the savories. That said, for when I’m back on City Walk, Izu Brasserie will definitely hover towards to top of the places worth giving my money to and consuming my calories at.
Disclaimer: I lost the pictures taken at this tasting (don’t worry I still have the ones with Faz3). Therefore I’m only attaching the ones I had left in my phone.
Before I let you go, I’m going to leave you with the funniest piece of information that will make you absolutely despise me: exactly 7 days later, Jean, her husband, M and I AGAIN ran into His Excellency and his entourage, but this time at Lighthouse! I’m starting to see a pattern here…