FACT Review: Fancy French fare at the brand-new Bagatelle Riyadh

FACT Review: Fancy French fare at the brand-new Bagatelle Riyadh



Graze through ravioli, roast chicken, and one of Riyadh's greatest desserts.

First things first, I'm a Bagatelle newbie. While the brand has venues around the world, I've never eaten at any of its offspring. "Don't worry, it means you are coming to it fresh and can't compare it to anything else," reassures the Corporate Chef Rocco Seminara. It's hard not to have expectations, however, when a brand is this big. Spoiler alert: it exceeds expectations. 

The FACT Award winner has been entertaining diners for more than a decade. In 2012, French entrepreneurs Aymeric Clemente and Remi Laba created the concept. Drawing inspiration from the South of France's friendly, festive spirit, they created Bagatalle, which can now be found in Bahrain, Bodrum, Beunos Aires, Courchevel, Doha, Dubai, London, Los Cabos, Miami, Mykonos, Sao Paulo, St Barths, St. Tropez and Tulum. 

Bagatelle Riyadh Review

The Riyadh restaurant is an ode to France, and we secured a first look inside the venue. The walls are adorned with black and white photos of Brigette Bardott and Paul Belmondo, and brightly coloured artwork that celebrates fashion designer Yves Saint Laurent. Plus, the shelves are stacked with books on Chanel, Dior and Vogue, which help give it chic credentials.

If you're after a relaxed meets refined restaurant, then visit Bagatelle Riyadh. The dining room includes long tables, round tables, wicker seats and curved banquettes. Sure, there are white tablecloths, but a friendly yet knowledgeable staff. 

Bagatelle is famous for serving French Mediterranean food. The menu is divided up between sur le pouce, la mediterranee, salads, pates, la vianede, le poisson and pour accompagner vos plats, and there are marvellous mocktails. While you can eat Bagatelle's Greatest Hits, it's not just a cut and paste of previous menus, as the chefs have adapted the flavours to suit the market. 

We started with the signature dishes, which include the Eggplant Parmigiana and Riviera Salad. The Eggplant Parmigiana is a creamy concoction, which we could easily eat every day. The Riviera Salad combines avocado, clementines, spelt vegetables and red radishes into a bright and beautiful dish. We're told it's one of Chef Rocco's favourites and we can see why, as it's full of fresh zingy flavours. 

Bagatelle Riyadh Review

The Scallop Carpaccio should be praised for its simplicity, as it has a sweet taste yet soft texture. If you want to go fancy, there is a dedicated caviar menu and truffle dishes. The Ravioles de Plin, anyone? Not only are these pretty pockets simmered in truffle, but they are topped with truffle shavings.

The Whole Farm Chicken elevates comfort food. As it is prepared tableside, we can smell the aroma of herbs. We are told that the two tastiest pieces are traditionally given to a guest of honour – and then they are placed on our plate.

Bagatelle Riyadh Review

Don't leave Bagatelle Riyadh without ordering the Jivara Chocolate Pizzetta. If you're the sort of person who eats Nutella out of the jar – we're not judging – then you'll fall knife over fork for this dessert. Put aside any that-shouldn't-be-on-a-pizza ideas, and appreciate this play with perceptions. Love it or hate it, it has #viral drizzled all over it. 

After my first taste of Bagatelle, I'll be back for seconds in Riyadh and beyond.

GO: Visit https://bagatelle.com for more information.