After the first two locations in Taiwan and Tokyo, the L’Occitane Café arrived in Dubai in November 2018. The café, located at City Walk 2, is a hybrid space that beautifully fuses beauty with food. It all the while retains the brand DNA – of French legacy, use of high-quality ingredients and responsible sourcing and retailing – at heart.
Spanning approximately 2,745 sqft with 75 seats, the L’Occitane Café is more than a regular café. “It is a full-blown restaurant with an all-day dining menu, curated with the local taste buds in mind, while remaining true to the French DNA throughout,” states Mariana Rodrigues, marketing manager, L’Occitane – part of luxury retailer Chalhoub Group in the Middle East.
The L’Occitane Café has taken the infusion of beauty and food a step further by adding the brand’s core elements in the food and décor. From colour tones using yellow and blue hues that are L’Occitane brand colours to the use of staple flowers like immortelle, lavender and may rose down to brand values of being eco-friendly.
“The plants used in the L’Occitane Café are all real,” avers Christelle Bouchard, commercial manager for L’Occitane. “A part of the café’s ceiling is made from 1,000 real immortelle flowers. We use the same flower in our anti-ageing product range, due to their anti-fading properties. By infusing ingredients used in our beauty products also in the food, we are bridging the gap between food and beauty.”
Among the best-selling dishes at the L’Occitane Café are the French Toast, Eggs Benedict, Seafood Pasta, Chicken Provençal and another Provençal dish Gnocchi Daube. Several other highlights include L’Occitane Sultan Ibrahim or pan-seared rouget. Also, Almond Crumbed Calamari, wherein almond crumbs replace bread crumbs, and baby squids are lightly fried.
“We have tried to incorporate the brand’s commitment towards the environment at the L’Occitane Café,” Bouchard continues. “We constantly look for high-quality, sustainably sourced ingredients. One of our best-sellers is the chocolate crêpe, made using hazelnut spread, free from palm oil.”
“Our straws and takeaway boxes at the café are made from plant-based ingredients. The remaining packaging are biodegradable, made from recycled materials,” Rodrigues highlights.
While the conceptualisation of the L’Occitane Café happened at the L’Occitane headquarters in France, Chalhoub Group introduced some interesting twists at the execution level. “The brand team has developed the design, but we played a pivotal role in curating the menu to cater for the local taste, while highlighting the Provençal touch,” Bouchard states. Complementing her, Rodrigues adds, “We have taken core ingredients from the brand – such as almond, honey, rose, lavender – and added them to the menu. Having that said, we were very conscious of the menu items being appealing and not intimidating for our guests.”