Acclaimed Chef Grégoire Berger Is Back at Ossiano

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chef gregoire berger ossiano
Photo: Courtesy of @chefgregoireberger

Hidden in the depths of Atlantis the Palm, past the abundance of lost tourists and gaudy tourist traps, sits a treasure trove of a restaurant hiding in plain sight. Chef Grégoire Berger has returned to Ossiano and he’s bringing the underwater gem back from the fathoms below. With a renewed sense of purpose and ambition for the iconic restaurant, Chef Grégoire has created one of the best dining experiences in the city.

The French chef is renowned as one of the most creative and innovative chefs in the region (ahem, take note Michelin), whose inspiration is usually taken from his own life and memories in order to construct an evocative and emotional journey through food for his guests. His commitment to sourcing fresh, sustainable ingredients and his flawless, artistic craft elevates the entire experience from start to finish. Not to mention, each course, from the amuse bouche to dessert, is utterly and totally delicious.

chef gregoire berger ossiano
Photo: Courtesy of @denverbritto

‘Metanoia’ – as Chef Grégoire has named this new menu – is defined as “a change in one’s way of life resulting from penitence or a spiritual conversion,” and it is no coincidence that he has named the sea-inspired menu after his own personal metamorphosis since the last time he was the Chef de Cuisine. 

Last January, he announced he was leaving Ossiano quite suddenly. “I was serving a menu of poetry and family, and I woke up and realized I was lying to myself. I was working so hard, yet I never had time to see my own family – my daughters. I turned in my resignation that day,” he told Savoir Flair. He took time to re-align his priorities, taking private events when it suited him, and he was almost on his way to Singapore to helm a two-Michelin starred restaurant, when he discovered he would not be able to bring his daughters with him because of complicated entry rules and red tape. 

Lucky for Dubai his wife adores living here so when he was asked to return to Ossiano, he agreed with a new outlook of the special place. “I take my daughter to school and pick her up every day,” he told us with a smile on his face, clearly loving the new version of himself. 

Indeed, the love he has for his family is palpable in almost every dish we were served. The final dessert is a beautiful, simple pancake – an ode to the easy joys of childhood, and a nod to his daughter, who makes them for him on occasion to express her love to him (and/or to ask for forgiveness).

chef gregoire berger ossiano
Photo: Courtesy of @gregoireb.photography

In ‘Metanoia’, Chef Grégoire draws inspiration from his homeland of Brittany in France, as well as the other places where he has lived and loved, resulting in an homage to his roots, his heritage, his home, and his family. Each delicate and elegant dish in the nine-course meal comes with a unique story, an emotional touch, and a human connection to the talented chef. 

Like the morning fog of Brittany that rolls in with the trout and blooming cauliflower holding a seafoam pearl topped with caviar, or the smell of fire from his camping days in the forest that accompanies the burnt leek and clams, which is served like a log and paired with roasted marshmallows. Even the scallops are sourced from Brest, the city where his brother lives, and arrive fresh every three days. They are, hands down, some of the best scallops we’ve had the pleasure of enjoying. 

The langoustine with sea lettuce and a potato baked in edible clay is a story of land and sea, and there has never been a more fitting metaphor for the effects of an oil spill on marine life than the tender flesh of the white légine encased in black. He manages to simultaneously confuse and delight expectations by coupling truffles from France with the creamiest cheesecake for a singular twist on a classic dessert. Even the palate cleanser – an ice sculpted shell holding a single pearl of sorbet ensconced in white chocolate – was a work of edible art. 

Sitting within the Halls of Poseidon as his mesmerizing subjects gracefully swim around you, each new course is revealed and presented with mystery and theater, and relished with pleasure. It is, quite simply, an unrivaled dining experience.

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