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 to the buffet spread, on your left you will see a selection of Italian wines: 2 reds and 3 whites as well as a Proseco. Then, you will notice the Italian TV channels. Eventually, you will make your way to the fabulously laid table that awaits you. That is quite a welcome, created largely by the intimacy of the venue.

One word - charming.
Evocative displays.
Emphasis on freshness. 
Diners  who are used to being overwhelmed by different pizzas and pastas will be disappointed. Diners who who are accustomed to people wrestling each other for that last piece of fresh ham will feel out of place. However, those with a discerning eye for a quality slice of focaccia with a delectable cheese filling will be at home. Diners who can appreciate the freshest stuffed pepper dews will find themselves making several short trips to the buffet table. Yes, this Italian night is different to what you have experienced at other Italian nights around the city. Different here is good!

Beautiful bread.
Really something for everyone.
The big question in my mind was how they could transform the Prive lounge into a space that could work as a lounge where you could feel comfortable eating a meal as opposed to casual tapas and cheese - which is what Privé has been doing on previous theme nights. How would they be able to take this chic and cool lounge and convince diners that its Italian night was more than just some Italian dishes on display? The answer: The table cloths. You still feel you are in this trendy lounge, but the table cloths create a homely feel. I have enjoyed the Privé lounge on previous occasions, but for the first time I felt a warmth in the lounge. It is as if it gained so much soul. It did not feel clinical and formal, but did not lose its classy feel.  If this is the direction that they are taking Privé, it will not be long before it becomes a venue of choice despite the challenging location.

Sensuous bruschetta  
Stuffed pepper dews, focaccia with cheese and olives.
So, how about the food though? The buffet table makes the trip really pleasurable. The simple presentation means you do not have to navigate counter after counter trying to make a decision what to have. However, all you could possibly want from an Italian night is here: The mozzarella and caprese with a twist where a beautiful clash between red and green coloured tomatoes are united by the fresh mozzarella. The tomato pasta, with generous basil, and the sumptuously looking egg plant are both beautifully presented in oversized rustic style pans, contributing to the homely feel. There were also grilled vegetable options, bruschetta and other antipasti choices and pizza of course. Perfect.

And to drink? Some lovely Italian wine with a marvellously rich Merlot - my favourite. You will be pleased with the choice of wine available. I do appreciate this. So many hotels with their all-you-can-eat deals offer free flowing wine that is invariably Australian or Chilean - not bad as house wines, but the wine offer here seemed  a cut above the usual. And I am told the preferred wines did not all arrive on time. Wow, I would like to taste what they actually ordered as first choices if these were so good. Dessert? Chef Ivan's tiramisu is rich and decadent and will make you buckle at the knees. There goes my diet! As for service, you will seldom have issues with service here. Staff are well trained, professional and offer very relaxed service.
Homely style presentation.
Launch evenings are often about 'Let's see how it goes and we will perfect it by week 3 or 4'. This did not feel like a launch; so slick was everything with a menu that does not have to evolve or be tweaked too much. For three hours I had my own 'la dolce vita' as the Privé team produced a wonderful evening of fine food, drink and a feeling that little Italy had come to Abu Dhabi.

The low down

Prive Italian Nights.
Hyatt Capital Gate Hotel
Mondays 7pm - 10pm
Price 150 Dhs net
02 569 1420