Showing posts from February, 2014

Korean in the capital - Sura, Cristal Salam Hotel, Abu Dhabi

People usually talk about Japanese and Chinese cuisine as being, along with the food of Thailand and Vietnam, the best of Asia. However, Japan's northerly neighbour, Korea, would have every reason to be irked because frankly, it deserves to be mentioned too. While closely linked to Japanese and Chinese cuisine, it offers some very unique dishes, including metal chopsticks!

When it comes to Korean food in Abu Dhabi, we are becoming spoiled for choice. Sura is my third foray into Korean food in the city, having tried Hankook (02 642 3399) and Mannaland (02 446 6860). In terms of ambience, I think Mannaland with its floor seating has something special, but Sura has its own reasons why it is my best Korean food experience in Abu Dhabi.

Sura is is located in the Tourist Club area and is housed in the Cristal Salam Hotel. We arrived on a weekday for lunch when it was surprisingly empty. Sura offers a wonderful introduction to Korean food for those who have been curious but not brave eno…

Corniche Seafood night - Sofitel, Abu Dhabi

Having grown up in Johannesburg, I discovered the utter delight that is seafood, very late in life. That is often the case when you live inland. However, since moving to Abu Dhabi seafood has developed into one of my favourite food themes, if you will. Because quality seafood is expensive, one is likely to expect a  smattering of shrimps, some mussels,  oysters if you are lucky and finally, a few fishy grills. The rest of the dishes tend to be 'fillers' along international lines. It was with this in mind, that I approached Seafood night at The Sofitel. However, it was the antithesis of what I expected.

The first impression one has as one enters and sees decorative nets strategically placed is that this is indeed a seafood night. However, the decor is not kitschy. The seafood motif is continued more significantly, when one peruses the rest of the buffet.  The seafood theme runs throughout.  On a previous seafood night experience elsewhere, there were the ubiquitous seafood gril…

Italian night launch - Privé, Hyatt Capital Gate

In keeping with a theme that ran through my blog post on my last visit to Hyatt Capital Gate when I had the Sky brunch, chef Ivan has created a buffet small in size, but high on quality and taste.

I like the approach he is taking, which challenges the rule of thumb at many such places where  the 'more is more' motto is employed. Chef Ivan seems very comfortable espousing his philosophy that less is more. The venue, Privé, lends itself to a small buffet set up. Privé is usually used for, amongst other events,  the cheese and wine evenings held every Wednesday. Read about it here:

The first thing that strikes you as you exit the lift on the Mezzanine floor heading for Privé, is the music that sets the tone. This is all about creating a feel of Italy. Next, you notice the red and white checkered table cloths. As you move closer…

Jing Asia - Crowne Plaza, Yas Island, Abu Dhabi

I like brunch as it is known in Abu Dhabi. I enjoy dressing up in smart casual clothes. I love the sense of anticipation as I get ready for brunch, especially if it is a place I had not been to before. Jing Asia - I had no expectations, despite a friend who raved about it and asked me time again if we would join him and his family. In fairness though, he was largely motivated by the dedicated kids' area that his children were fond of. In the end, I relented, and we joined his and another family. After all, adults have dinner so brunch should be for the children.

I always thought of Yas island as the place I go to if I need something from Ikea. That was it. Recently, on the other hand, I have discovered that there is a growing casual dining scene and I ended up dining at two places over there in the last few months. Yas Island, has been growing therefore in my  mind as a place worth visiting.

Having tried Stills Bar at the Crowne before, we knew where to find the place. If you are …

Japan - more than just Toyota.

I know this should not be here. This is after a all a blog about food, but after a memorable Summer trip, I eventually finished this. Kindly indulge me while I post it here.

Japan. How many of you have said or heard the word 'Japan' resulting in a kaleidoscope of images that rush into your mind? Japan. The clichéd land of the rising sun.  The country of Canon and Sony. Home of the Walkman and subsequent Discman. The place that Ruth Benedict studied in her excellent book “The Chrysanthemum and the Sword”.  It is a book, by the way,  I highly recommend to anyone interested in more than just sushi and Japanese beer.

One of the points Benedict makes is that unlike many countries where you just blend in despite being a foreigner, Japan is a challenge and youare constantly reminded, not deliberately,that you are a ‘gaijin’ – the Japanese word for ‘foreigner’ meaning ‘alien’.I had visited Japan around 5-6 times before and on every occasion I felt a keen sense of ‘otherness’.

The thing …

Nando's - World Trade Centre Mall, Abu Dhabi

Mall food just got better. Nando's has come to Abu Dhabi.

The legendary flame grilled chicken outlet has finally opened its doors in Abu Dhabi, and it has done so in spectacular fashion. I believe their restaurant in World Trade Centre mall in Abu Dhabi is one of the largest in the world and seats about 350 people! But don't be daunted by that. The lay-out means you never feel you are seated in a stadium about to feast on some chicken! This is because despite the huge floor space,  there are clear different sections.

For those who have been in a coma the last few years and do not know Nandos', the company started out in South Africa in 1987 and has since grown tremendously. It has restaurants all over the world, and thanks to its just as-legendary advertising campaigns, it has been regarded as one of the top 30 Brands in marketing by Ad Age International. In their markets, they are well known for their tongue-in-cheek adverts which play on words and satirise current affair…