Belgravian Brasserie, a fine-dining restaurant with a luxurious French Riviera 1920s theme, opened in Al Khobar, Saudi Arabia's Eastern Province, in March.
It's located on the ground floor of the new Matal complex, overlooking the Khobar seashore. The seafront restaurant serves “world-famous French delicacies using the world's best ingredients”, says Pawel Wiktorek, culinary director of Al Moajil Hospitality. Think escargot bourguignon, foie gras de canard, Australian Angus tomahawk and French oysters.
Where to expect and where to sit
Belgravian Brasserie is the latest “to-be-seen-in” spot, and is a favourite with stylish Saudi women, as well as a romantic spot for couples who wish to enjoy quality time and even better quality cuisine.
The use of pastels paired with gold, brass, ivory and opulent marble, set against a Gatsby-style bar, makes it an instant social-media hit. You can walk outside to the terrace bar that serves healthy tonics in glamorous glassware and, arguably, some of the best Dalgona coffee (called Noir et Blanc here). The seating paints a picture of the pavement tables of France’s ubiquitous al fresco cafes, complete with rattan chairs.
“Belgravian Brasserie is an homage to the traditional Art Deco brasseries of the 1920s found throughout France,” says restaurateur Marios George, who partnered with Al Moajil Hospitalityto launch the brand in the kingdom.
"It’s also a tribute to the brasseries of Monaco and Nice, and we’re honoured to bring that quintessential dining experience to Saudi Arabia."
My dining companion and I started with the Belgravian bisque, which has a frothy blend of fresh seafood with cream and chives; the spiced beef carpaccio with soy sauce, apples, cucumber, chilli and wild celery microgreens; and sides of cast-iron shallow-fried cauliflower with paprika, lemon and tomatoes (a great option for vegans), and a goat's cheese salad.
For mains, we had a succulent dry-aged US black Angus tomahawk, which can be paired with truffle mashed potatoes. Seafood lovers must try the yellowtail ceviche or the delicious oysters and signature snails.
We ended our meal with a classic — a simple French brioche toast, baked with vanilla egg cream, and topped with berries and a light and flagrant Chantilly cream.
Belgravian Brasserie also serves an afternoon tea, which serves the Sparkling Rose Lyserod and Sparkling Bla, an organic, hand-brewed combination exclusively made for the restaurant. These are served from black champagne-style bottles and poured into martini glasses. The menu comprises scones with jam, finger sandwiches, and a variety of sweets and pastries. Not to be missed among these is La Coco, a perfumed and silky blend of white chocolate and coconut milk topped with toasted coconut flakes.
Coffee lovers can indulge in the "reversed cappuccino”, a glass of cold salted-caramel milk topped with a dark coffee fluffy cloud.
The restaurant is also open for breakfast, and serves all manner of breads and eggs.
The escargot dish, cooked luxuriously in a butter and parsley sauce, is divine, as is the French toast. The melt-in-the-mouth texture of the brioche makes this one a dish worth not sharing.
A chat with the chef
Vergan Roberts, the executive chef of Belgravian Brasserie, describes his cooking style as intuitive, and “reflecting creativity and adventure, whilst being clean, fresh and full of flavours and colours”.
Roberts' top recommendations are: quinoa salad with tamarind dressing, cherry tomatoes and goat's cheese for vegetarians; steak frites with a signature sauce for meat eaters; and flounder a la meuniere for seafood lovers.
Price point and contact information
Breakfast dishes range from 20 Saudi rials ($5) for a croissant to $21 for truffle scrambled eggs with sauteed oyster mushrooms and chopped chives, served on a slice of multigrain. Afternoon tea is priced from $64.
The escargot dish and three fresh oysters are both priced at $40. The chef-recommended steak frites is $47, while the flounder will set you back $60. The most expensive main is the 1,200-gram US prime beef T-bone, at $262.
Reservations can be made by calling 00966920012594 or visiting www.belgravianbrasserie.com.
This review was conducted at the invitation of the restaurant