With every trip we take to Hévéa Café, there’s always something new and exciting to get us talking. FACT indulges in a varied spread of super dishes that are on point in both taste and presentation.

By the end of the French colonisation, Southeast Asian countries had already adopted aspects of French culture, namely in their cuisine. So when you enter Hévéa Café, you’re instantly at a cross between Parisian sophistication and Indochine authenticity. And this is also reflected in the menu items which Chef Guy Gateau says is: “Always the intention, to add a mix of both cuisines and cultures together.”

With that, we dive into a heavenly selection of food from the menu. First up, a promising segue into Indochine cuisine: Shrimp Rolls packed with a hefty kick of mint, deliciously soft shrimp, lettuce and creamy avocado. The paper roll allows it to be a very light introduction and a healthy option too. From paper rolls to more heavy duty Heur de Lotus: shrimp tempura served with cabbage salad and gingered lime sweet chilli sauce. We can’t help but gorge on these as they’re incredibly moreish and the most unstoppable starter there ever was. The crunch is faultless and the sweet and sourness of the dipping sauce is beyond a perfect pairing with the shrimp.

As the ultimate crowd-pleaser – we’ve never had any reason to doubt it anyway – a handsome plate of “always welcomed from Italy” Burrata is presented with depths of greenery including asparagus while generous cuts of aubergine circle the plate with tomatoes. The uncanny tastiness of Burrata has always given us the happy feels, and this serving practically gets us dancing atop the tables. Two words: rich and creamy. We’ll leave it there (or leave you to go and sink into its softness!).

The mains we’re given have polar opposite meaning but are wonderfully varied. The almighty Club Saigon is a classic club in every way you want it to be and different in every other way. Toasted on brown bread, homemade bread might we add, since Chef Guy is all about “giving the dishes our own touch”. With chicken breast, hardboiled eggs, green leaves, shaved parmesan, cherry pepper pickles (an insanely fragrant addition) and house mayonnaise served with perfect French fries, this dish has the ability to set you off into a food coma. It’s also a dish which we cannot stop eating even though we are creeping towards the ‘almost full’ territory.

Next up is a swimming-pool-sized bowl of the Pearl Lamb Shank which has a golden crusted cheese corn puff and is accompanied with Asian rice and cured tomato chilli sauce. A very dense dish indeed, with explosions of textures and flavours to keep you going – a fun and alternative take on a local favourite. So here’s the thing about Hévéa Café: whatever dish you pick, there’s always a lot of digging involved – by which we mean there’s one awesome surprise after the next. So as our frozen Pavlova with espresso sabayon and generous amounts of mistika ice cream filled inside, comes our way, we are left jaw-to-the-floor. The mistika gets the top prize for its subtly silky taste and, hooray for us, its health food properties. It’s said to restore digestive problems and has been adopted as a home remedy for 3000 years stemming from a natural resin from the Pistacia Lentiscus tree.

To finish us off we have a solid Date Cake with oozing caramel sauce which is a lot thicker than you’d normally get and therefore fills you right up with gooey goodness. And finally, a Pista Colada – a piña colada inspired crepe with a tropical touch that is possibly the most unique dessert at Hévéa Café. And now that we are entering the kinder weather months, we are very pumped at the idea of taking our lunches and dinners outside. Hévéa Café is the perfect venue for a spot of al fresco dining, we say!

GO: Visit Hevea Café at Al Aali Shopping Complex. Call 1700 4588 for reservations and more infomration.