Sky Brunch again - Hyatt Capital Gate, Abu Dhabi.

There is a buzz at Hyatt Capital Gate. It might be connected to the fact that the unassuming Alena Chaika recently won the award as Gourmet Abu Dhabi's Restaurant Manager of the year for 18°. Is it because they are embarking on a big marketing and promotional campaign for the Food & Beverage outlets? Is it because the staff here continue to work relentlessly to give this hotel the credit it deserves? Whatever it is, the buzz is growing.

After a recent visit to the launch of Italian nights at Prive, I commented on how the 'less is more' concept seems to be the approach of this property when it comes to its F&B outlets. The same has to be said about 18° which hosts the Sky Brunch every Friday. This was something I touched on in my previous post on this brunch:

I was very excited as we took the lift to the 18th floor for Friday brunch. Come on, who doesn't get excited about Friday brunch? We were later greeted at the door and as we were shown to our table, Black Eyed Peas' "I got a feeling" was pumping loudly through the speakers. How appropriate I thought. Compared to my last previous, the music has become a bit more poppy and commercial, getting more people to tap their feet as they enjoyed their brunch. I hope this stays because I think it works.

It is a cliche, but the view is reason enough to eat here.
The fruit display is symbolic of the fresh ingredients used here.

Selling points
On this occasion, there were no major visible differences compared to the last time. A similar fine selection of food was on offer. What struck me this time was some of the other major selling points of this venue: the natural light, the use of floor space and the seating. All of these give 18° that X factor that enables a restaurant to stand out. Brunch is a bright and happy affair, so the ample natural light conveys that sense of openness and joy. Secondly, it would be tempting to try and cram some more tables in to the restaurant, but they have not done so. Also, because the restaurant is basically in an L shape, it means you never feel overwhelmed by the number of people. I think brunches are moving towards this more intimate approach.

Adding to the joyous mood, their signature Prosecco. 

Summer is in the air.

A cocktail? Well it is Friday brunch.

Even though I love my red wine, I do like the idea of a starting off brunch with a cocktail. The cocktail of the day was a mix of rum, Prosecco and raspberry. Because I am not partial to rum, I was offered one with vodka instead. Refreshing, and a perfect reminder that Summer days are just around the corner. These drinks seemed to be very popular, and  exquisitely presented in oversized glasses.


In their efforts to attract more customers I hope that 18° does not start having more child-friendly food. As a parent I find it warming to know that there is a restaurant that welcomes children while adhering to serving quality food that children can enjoy. I think commercial pressures often dictate these things, but I am thrilled that chicken nuggets are nowhere to be seen here! Having said that, there is enough on offer for children who have been brought up on wholesome food,  to enjoy. If all else fails, chef Ivan's team is always happy to create a creamy or tomato pasta dish for children.

As usual, the oysters were top notch. 
Modest but exceptional seafood selection. 
Prosciutto and rocket, part of  a fantastic starter selection.

Favourite dishes

Highlights this time around? Firstly, the oysters here are consistently good and I could not resist two servings. Secondly, the couscous was deliciously cooked: the vegetables served just right so that the colour and texture f the vegetables were retained.  What would you expect considering the chef who prepared this is Moroccan? Another enjoyable treat was the egg plant dish which is now entrenched as one of my favourites, both visually and in terms of palate. The pomegranates on top of it bring a zesty appeal to it, and the obvious seediness juxtaposes the eggplant's texture.
Brazilian beef.
Isn't this just gorgeous? 
The beef? Brazilian prime rib. It was a bit underwhelming for me, and it might have been the cut I got. It was a bit chewy. I need to try it again. I am pleased though that they replenished the beef nonetheless. On my last visit after it had been finished, we were left with lamb chops. The cheese. Of course the cheese. Still one of the best cheese spreads at a Friday brunch with an equally impressive choice of jams and purees.

Egg plant and pomegranate.

House wine

I continue to be fan of the Argentinian Fuzion brand of house wine. The Malbec Shiraz is a beautiful all-round house wine, equally at home with a hearty piece of red meat, pasta or cheese. The intense colour also makes it a pleasure to look at it. The taste: medium bodied and smooth. Love it.

Very impressive quality cheese selection

As far as service is concerned, it was not as slick as I have come to know it, but I will view this more as a once-off aberration than a trend I am sure. One of the things I take for granted when I dine at this property is the service. In the past I have enjoyed the fact that the waiting staff are very professional, confident and a pleasure to engage in conversation.

The verdict?

18° is a restaurant to keep an eye on. As diners tire of over-sized, exhausting brunches, it will take a more prominent role on the dining scene. And don't forget that they serve a la carte the rest of the time. The Sky Brunch has it all: fine food well prepared under the exceptional eye of Chef Ivan, a view without equal, an award winning manager and a concept of 'less is more' that is really growing on this writer!

The low down

Sky Brunch at 18°
Hyatt Capital Gate, Abu DHabi
300 Dhs - 350 Dhs ++
02 596 1234