What makes it special? Guests enter Ossiano via a dramatic sweeping staircase that descends to a dining room situated almost inside an enormous aquarium, with everything from sharks to colourful extras from Finding Nemo gliding serenely past the floor-to-ceiling glass windows as you eat. Despite such a theatrical setting, it’s actually the exquisite dishes on chef Gregoire Berger’s tasting menu that leave the most lasting memory, aided by beautifully choreographed service.
Chef’s story: Raised in Brittany in north-west France, Berger trained in high-end restaurants across his homeland before venturing to the Middle East almost a decade ago. He established Ossiano – the most gastronomically advanced restaurant at the iconic Atlantis The Palm property, at the head of Dubai’s most famously shaped peninsula – over a number of years before a brief, pandemic-driven sojourn elsewhere. Since his return in early 2022, he has elevated the dining experience further with a series of tasting menus that mirror his personal heritage and travels.
What’s on the menu? Delivered in ‘waves’ (aka courses), Berger’s dishes are largely focused on the sea or the coast, invariably artfully plated and frequently involve a degree of table theatre. Think a melting ‘candle’ made of foie gras, or a take on a croque monsieur that’s served on a large clockface to take you ‘back in time’. Other plates see slivers of jellyfish joined by sweet shrimps and nori in a dill oil emulsion; clams with yuzu are presented inside a semi-hollowed burnt leek; and the chef’s ‘bouillabaisse’ pairs red mullet with a spicy tomato dashi. While the cooking is technically advanced, Berger never loses sight of fun or flavour.
Team game: Despite the Frenchman’s high profile, Ossiano boasts a talented and international young team including chef de cuisine Aurelien Durand, GM Vincent Pierre-Robberi and award-winning sommelier Danijela Tesic. Their aim is for diners to leave with cherished lifelong memories of the experience – and they are delivering on such ambition.