Pool Bar - Shangri-la, Abu Dhabi.

When one hears of a pool bar, the food that pops into one's head is usually potato wedges, burgers and pizza. Food is often incidental and drinks and atmosphere the  big attraction. Well, last night was an education for me. Pool bar food can actually be fantastic. Now I know that.

The Pool Bar at Shangri-la has a beautiful setting. The symmetry is worth noting, with the pool in the middle of the Shangri-la facade. There is really an elegant simplicity about the Shangri-la, and it is no where more evident than here. If you look across the canal, you have a wonderful view of the Sheikh Zayed Mosque. Not a bad way to spend the evening. Add to this a chilling 20º C outside, and it really is quite an exquisite evening in the making.

Heaven on earth?
Even if just for a drink, this view makes it worthwhile. 

I found the menu fairly extensive for a pool bar, with the highlight being a  barbecue selection that bridged land and sea. The waiter recommended I have the Australian Rib Eye Angus-certified beef. He warned me that that is more fatty than the Tenderloin, but having been won over to the virtues of beef with a bit of fat, I followed his recommendation. Call me predictable in some ways, but I like sautéed vegetables with beef. I also had some lightly peppered potatoes. I just don't get having french fries with a fine piece of beef. Each to his or her own I guess. The black pepper sauce was my chosen sauce. For my drink, I had a glass of the now-very familiar Australian Wolfblass Merlot housewine. Nice.

Loved the presentation.
The freshest bread rolls.
The Pool Bar allows guests to enjoy shisha at the lounge style seating that overlooks the pool. It all made for a very cool and laid back atmosphere, except for a few kids whose parents saw nothing wrong with them running around the pool area disturbing other guests. I have a rule when it comes to kids - if you cannot control them, leave them at home.

Look at that centre!

Nonetheless, this did not detract from what turned out to be a pleasurable meal. I have had quite a bit of good fortune lately with beef expertly cooked. This was no exception. I felt a need to speak to the chef and compliment him. Superb. However, did I say that it was a 400g piece of meat? Now I normally go for the 200g, so this was a challenge, but one that I took. The caveat with outside dining in cool weather is that the food gets cold very quickly, but I asked the chef to just put the remainder of my beef on the grill for 30 seconds or so. Great idea. One of the worst things on your plate is a piece of excellent but cold beef. No such problem then.

Dessert. Are you serious? I have a reputation for eating like a bird, so I had already exceeded that rep! I forwent dessert and settled on some Moroccan tea. A fitting way to end my evening considering the chef for the night was from Morocco!

The Pool Bar is really a great place to chill. But it also offers something surprising along food lines. All in all, it offers a perfect evening.