Restaurant Review: Pierchic, Madinat Jumeirah

30 Nov 2011

Everything you need to know about the restaurant everyone is always talking about

Seafood and romance go hand in hand at Pierchic, says Maitre ‘D Margarita Khadyuk, “If I was describing Pierchic to a newcomer, I’d say we’re a traditional seafood restaurant, but with a delightful modern twist and unrivalled views of the Burj Al Arab and the ocean as far as you can see. Of course we’re also a romantic, celebration restaurant. We celebrate endless marriage proposals, anniversaries and birthdays here.”

It’s a tough call choosing an eatery for Gourmet’s first Restaurant of the Month, but when a restaurant marries simple, yet exquisite food with a jaw-dropping location creating a spectacular experience, then Pierchic it is. So Gourmet sinks deep into the sea to find out exactly why we love Pierchic.

For starters, Pierchic opened in 2004 and, seven years later, there’s no sign of an itch with the restaurant running at near full capacity every night, many of which are repeat guests; always a good sign. Gary Rhodes has openly stated Pierchic is one of his favourite restaurants in Dubai, outside his own of course, for its simplicity in food, and romantic location, in fact he goes as far as to call it an ‘event’.

Australian Chef De Cuisine, Lee Sugiandi nods, “I agree with Gary. We keep our seafood fresh and simple so as not to take away from the flavours of what we serve. We don’t want to complicate the food and disguise it. We want good food that people keep coming back for.”

All seafood is imported; salmon from the cold waters of Loch Duart in Scotland, French Gillardeau oysters, sea bass from Greece. “The majority of our fish is farmed. Quality fish comes from cold waters, hence why it’s a challenge to use local sustainable fish since the Gulf waters are warm, even though we’d like to.”

Menus are changed twice a year, so by importing, Pierchic can maintain consistency in seafood dishes. And whilst the majority of the menu screams all species of fish, Australian lamb and beef does feature.

Talking of meat, one of the signature starters is no not fish, but a sarrade foie gras parfait (duck not goose) served with a duck rillette, orange muscat jelly and toasted brioche. The restaurant often has guests who don’t eat fish, but simply choose to dine at Pierchic for the location. There’s a reason location, location, location are considered the three most important attributes when opening a restaurant. Perched on stilts at the end of a wooddecked pier, the restaurant is five minute stroll or a quick buggy ride from the beach. Pierchic commands breathtaking views of not just the Burj, but the stunning expanse that makes up the Madinat Jumeirah beachfront. Imagine a whimsical water villa in the Maldives, and you have just that.

Other Chef Lee must-haves are the tuna carpaccio, and the pan fried sea bass served with braised savoy cabbage, veal bacon, sweetcorn puree and black lobster essence. As so much of the produce we buy in supermarkets here is imported, we often miss out on seasonal fruit and vegetables, like figs and pomegranates are in now – but Pierchic takes this very seriously, “Seasonality of produce is key for us. We will have truffles on the menu when they are in season, wild asparagus, wild salmon. That’s when we introduce specials and our set menus, in addition to the normal a la carte. Whatever quality produce we can get hold of when it’s in season, we’ll include.”

“We also research and work with suppliers to source exclusive products such as the best olive oils.”

While food is a crucial factor in what makes or breaks any eatery, a restaurant has to excel on a number of other parameters to succeed; location as we’ve said, service, decor, atmosphere and value for money – all contributing to the ultimate experience. Margarita explains, “Dining here really is an event. Going anywhere to eat should be about the experience, the atmosphere, it’s the whole package.”

“Pierchic is most definitely about the location. The decor makes for a good contrast with the food. Lots of dark wood and shiny silver, whilst we keep to the seafood theme with giant jelly fish lights and blue highlights. The atmosphere is reminiscent of romance with low lighting and soft music.” It’s not just open for dinner, but lunch over an Dhs175 four-course set menu is popular on clear blue sky days.

Given its all-wood design and sea water location, constant maintenance is required to keep Pierchic in tip top shape, so whilst there have been no major refurbishments to date, the odd design change is on the cards.

Training of the 15 kitchen and 29 service staff is an ongoing labour of love, and one that takes place every day on the job. The word ‘no’ is simply forbidden. Cross-training in other restaurants teaches the staff flexibility and gives them a more rounded customer service experience. Dubai’s transient work is a continual challenge, but staff motivation is key. “We do take care of our people, and team outings and rewards are integral to creating the right culture. A good product certainly helps, and my team really do enjoy working. We get the food out and let our guests lap up the experience.”

As for price, expect on average Dhs 850 for two people, excluding alcohol. The spectacular experience certainly doesn’t come cheap, but no surprise for this city of restaurant excess where you expect to pay a premium for a luxurious, licensed eatery.

Chef Lee concludes, “Dubai is a tough market with a lot of good restaurants. We are looking at introducing a more interactive experience for the guest. More display, more show. Something going on at the table that guests can watch.” We’ll have to wait as he’s not revealing any more for now.

Ask around as we did, and Pierchic is a firm favourite when dining out in this highly competitive market. So as we come up for air, Pierchic has managed to not only deliver but more importantly consistently maintain and perfect the dining out experience over the last seven years. Lap it up incase it changes.