Restaurant review: Chez Bruno at Bujairi Terrace

A relaxed slice of Provence is given a sleek city upgrade…

Since the 1980s, Chez Bruno has been welcoming diners to the sleepy town of Lorgues, a destination far enough removed from the glitz and glamour of the French Riviera a mere 20 minutes away to feel quaint and homely, but close enough to still feel its magical midas touch.

What makes this restaurant special is the passion from the family behind it, who created it as an homage to an ingredient they adore, the truffle. The brainchild of Clement Bruno, the restaurant is now in the charge of his two sons, one of whom, Benjamin, now helms the kitchen. It is this family feel – even the restaurant is housed in the picturesque Provencal home that has been within the family for generations – that plays a part in everything, from the detailed design to the exceptional service.

With this warm hospitality and welcoming feel at the restaurant’s beating heart, Chez Bruno lands in Riyadh in a befitting location with its own rich history, Bujairi Terrace. While it may have been easy to make Chez Bruno Riyadh a more modern iteration, the brand has stuck to its roots. Spread over two floors, the restaurant is cosy and inviting, with dark woods and grand gold chandeliers, and a huge painting of Provence’s unmistakable lavender fields on the back wall. The best table is a large one set for six that’s set right infront of the pass, floral covered grand wooden chairs inviting guests to settle in for a truffle-filled culinary voyage. Upstairs, there’s a beautiful terrace that looks out to At-Turaif, you’re only reminder that you’re still in Riyadh and not the southern French countryside.

A special mention should be given to the impressive attention to detail in the design. From the trickling water fountains that dot the restaurant floor, to the delicate hand painted ceiling murals and wooden bookcases that transform even the most functional spaces into ones designed to be looked at, every design element adds to the restaurant’s beauty.

The menu, much like the original devised in the 1980s, is an ode to the truffle, and before our first dish has arrived, the scent wafting through the restaurant has our tummies rumbling. An amuse bouche of truffle mushroom soup is dense and creamy, and a generous portion that we enjoy every last drop of.

Then arrive the starters, a light, perfectly plated La Langoustine (SAR185) with a roasted langoustine enveloped in flavours of thin slices of yellow and green zucchini and drizzled with pesto. It is, of course, topped with truffle shavings that are balanced against the fresh vegetable flavours. La Tartine (Dhs95) upgrade the humble toast, and arrive as buttery toasted slices covered in a truffle blanket.

From an impressive collection of pastas we order La Tagliarini (SAR150), which arrives as perfectly al dente thin ribbons, but lacks flavour beyond the truffle notes. We enjoy the josper grilled Filet de Boeuf (SAR290) significantly more, with the meat tender, the jus full of flavour, and a side of truffle asparagus (SAR70) serving as the perfect accompaniment.

While we debate whether to order dessert or not, our friendly server presents a board of all of their signatures, each a pretty take on a French classic. La Pavlova (SAR60) combines the crunchy texture of the meringue with a cream and strawberry filling that’s deliciously sweet.

Verdict: Chez Bruno brings a fabulous piece of Provence to Riyadh.

Chez Bruno, Bujairi Terrace, Diriyah, Riyadh, daily 6pm to 2am. Tel: (966) 92 0033 819. @chezbrunoksa