Catalan - Rosewood Hotel, Abu Dhabi
|Not short on romance.|
|Pan cone tomate, liquified olive and croquette.|
|The liquified olive left me wanting another.|
|My tomato based tapa.|
|Outstanding smoked leak soup.|
Next, I was excited about my oysters, mainly to have my faith in shuckers restored after having some poorly shucked oysters in the last week. The oysters though, on this occasion, adorned with blood orange caviar, were firm but slippery and needed no encouragement as they slid down my throat. Perfect salinity. Faith restored. A clean shell testament to that. Beautiful.
|A sensuous treat.|
What is a Catalonian dish without a seafood paella? It is a dish that unites all Spaniards. Chef Antonio provided me with a smaller than normal portion, as he knew I was on a mission to experience as many tastes as possible. The finished dish had just the right moisture and firmness in the rice, with the ingredients of mussels and shrimp in particular, standing out for retaining their more natural taste, offset by the taste of the rice. The alioli sauce provided that bite of garlic in the rest of the dish - A sumptuous rendering of a Spanish classic.
|The paella was also nicely salted.|
Finally, for my meat main, I ordered the slow cooked and oven roasted milk fed lamb shoulder - again a perfect portion, less than the 400g it would normally be. The latter, from Valladolid, served on roasted potato with goat cheese, garnished with asparagus and rucola, was unbelievably good. It was crispy on top and very tender underneath. Flavouful too.
|Crispy and tender lamb shoulder.|
|A taste of catalonia, my torrija.|
Secondly, Chef Antonio's unique creation, the extra virgin olive oil ice cream, was fittingly, my last dish for the night. It was a collage of tastes with the pistachio taking centre stage in his creation. Pistachio biscuit, roasted pistachios with a bit of sugar and pistachio dust make their way in to the bowl, along with the subtly-flavoured ice cream with an amazingly light texture and tangy yogurt foam. All of this is completed at your table as the waitress pours cardamon soup. Individually, these tastes are pleasurable. Combine them and you cannot help closing your eyes, being suspended in a moment of, what shall I call it, delight and happiness. No overstating here.
|A heavenly conclusion.|
Catalan is a fine restaurant and presents Abu Dhabi with another fabulous fine dining option for the special occasion, be it a birthday, an anniversary, romantic night out, or simply a desire to celebrate the joy of being alive!
The low down
Catalan at Rosewood Hotel,
02 813 5550
Starters 25-145 Dhs
Mains 105-240 Dhs
Desserts 55 Dhs