Showing posts from May, 2014

Lebanese at Sambusek - Rosewood Hotel, Abu Dhabi

As I approach Sambusek, something catches my attention. I keep walking. I am  intrigued. I stand at the entrance, transfixed. The imposing door that recalls the door of a fort is on my left. It is heavy wood and has some Arabic symbols on it. In front of me is a sculpture - I  could just as well be at the Tate Modern. I am told it represents a tree. Whatever it is will be open to conjecture, but it cannot be ignored. Striking, attention grabbing, imposing.

A common feature in Rosewood's glorious restaurants is the emphasis on natural light. This continues at Sambusek. Again, magnificent floor to ceiling windows allow you a  view of the water, and at night time it really is quite pretty as the lights of the island flicker away. Curtains are designed in a  way too that allows maximum natural light. Muted colours dominate, with greys and greens evident. Arabian touches are there, but very subtle. Everything is done very tastefully.

I am shown to my table, and have a great view of the…

Fine Italian at the relaunched Amalfi - LeRoyal Meridien, Abu Dhabi

The narrow passage-way in itself is dramatic. The name of the restaurant, simply written, stares at you as you enter;  Amalfi - a town in the Campania region in Italy. The bar greets you. Apart from the name, there is nothing obviously Italian about the place, but then the signs hit you. You see the wine in lovely glass and stainless steel wine cabinets - Italian. As I am lead to my seat, I pass a counter containing spicy salami, Parma ham, prosciutto, pancetta and a few other favourites - Italy. Definitely. Yes, this is the new Amalfi, where fine and simple Italian food is promised in an elegant setting.

Amalfi is all about an authentic Italian experience. For this reason, most of the ingredients are sourced from Italy. The puttanesca is superb. Hand-chopped anchovies, capers, tomatoes and olives. Yes, not put in a blender. In hand-chopping them, you can taste the individual flavours, and when you try it with the focaccia you can distinguish these tastes. Nice. Also, the 6 year old ba…

Friday brunch - The Ritz Carlton, Abu Dhabi

The Ritz Carlton is grand. It is one of the largest Ritz properties in the world with more than 500 rooms, suites and villas. As you walk in through the magnificent lobby with its high ceiling, you feel the grandness, so to speak. Staff everywhere, in a variety of dress. I wonder what the staff to guest ratio is here. The grand piano takes its place prominent place too. The Ritz is opulent, large and ultra luxurious. And this was even before I was close to Giornotte, their all-day dining restaurant and venue for the highly regarded Friday brunch.

As I approach Giornotte, I see staff offering some soft drinks in elegant flutes. We are met by one of the hostesses and shown to our table. The first impression is exactly the impression that the hotel lobby creates:  opulent, large and ultra luxurious. Again though, I see a lot of staff, or ladies and gentlemen waiting on ladies and gentlemen, as the Ritz prefers to call them. As we are seated, my waitress for the day, Charina, offers a map …

7 Courses to conclude a birth week - Bord Eau, Shangri-la, Abu Dhabi

“You never forget a beautiful thing that you have made,' [Chef Bugnard] said. 'Even after you eat it, it stays with you - always.” ― Julia ChildMy Life in France

It is very hard to write about something you have just fallen in love with. Even more so when you have already written fairly extensively about your most recent experiences there. Eventually too, your readers start grumbling, going, 'But he has already said that'. So when I visited Bord Eau at Shangri-la a few days ago, the plan was not to write, but to enjoy. Nothing cerebral for the night. However, when I walked in, sat down and looked at the excitement on my daughter's face across from me, I reached for the pen. It was the conclusion to her birth week celebration and she at least deserved a mention. Furthermore, how often do you have a 7 Course Degustation menu? No, it had to be written.

The greeting at the door really sets the tone. We are met by the restaurant manager Peter-Paul who engaged us in a  b…

Spice Mela - Rosewood Hotel, Abu Dhabi

Spice Mela is a luxurious fine dining Indian restaurant located in the sumptuous and ultra chic Rosewood Hotel in Abu Dhabi. I visited while they had their Kings & Queens II promotional menu, a menu that celebrated the dining of royalty in years gone by, this time focusing on southern India, especially Hyderabad cuisine.

The floor to ceiling windows allow for expansive views of the surrounding water. To give the guest maximum benefit, most of the tables are at the windows with only a sprinkling in the middle and one large  room for bigger groups. The restaurant, while very spacious, seats around 54 diners, but I am told that during the cooler months they have terrace seating too. The openness allows for more privacy as tables are nicely spaced out.

I was given  a menu and the courses were explained. However, if you missed anything, Chef Siddharth was on the floor to go through the evening ahead. Chef Siddharth, a very articulate and well travelled man,  has a youth and vibrancy that…