Showing posts from September, 2014

Sacci, Pre-opening night : The Westin Abu Dhabi Golf Resort & Spa

It was with a heavy heart that I heard of Agadir, the Moroccan restaurant,  closing down. But I had also felt that The Westin, with its very zen-like approach to design and indeed philosophy where wellness is a key aspect, needed a younger appeal and also a wider audience. Anyone who has been to The Westin will speak poetically about the emphasis on the natural - from the colors to the material to the scent that permeates the air as you walk in.

But yes, despite the stellar brunch that it offered, there was a need for something else in its dining; a need that Agadir was not quite meeting. Thus, from the ashes of Agadir, forgive the cliche, like a phoenix rises from the ashes, Sacci (pronounced Sachi)  is born - an Italian restaurant inspired by Florence, with an emphasis on freshness and well chosen ingredients.

Sacci perches itself right in the middle of fine dining and stylish casual dining - a unique niche if they remain true to it and are not tempted to be anything else. They have h…

Lebanese cuisine at Mijana - Ritz Carlton Hotel, Abu Dhabi

The entrance to Mijana is simple. The light brown wood gives the restaurant a modern and airy feel. It is minimalistically decorated, with vases tastefully displayed. The part-open kitchen with glazed glass creates  a somewhat surreal effect as you see shadows moving behind it. The sound of Nancy Ajram coming through the speakers tells you what you will be dining on this night.

I am offered a  seat outside and I am glad to take it - it is a gloriously cool evening. Hello al fresco dining. And what better place to sit outside than at the Ritz Carlton with its lit palm tree trunks and of course magnificently lit up facade. My  blazer is taken and hung up - nice touch. The little things. First impressions!

There is a very relaxed vibe outside. To my left I see the shisha lounging area, but thankfully Mijana has it set up so that we are not bothered by the smoke. The air of simplicity continues as we are offered the menu - a 2 page menu full of Lebanese classics. Yes, this is traditional Le…

Spice Mela: new menu - Rosewood Hotel, Abu Dhabi

A quick glance at Chef's introductory remarks on the menu at Spice Mela serve as key indicators of the evening that awaits you once you are seated at one of the best restaurants in the city. 'Diverse regions', sophisticated Indian Gastronomy', and 'subtle yet complex marinades'.

However, there are three key phrases that more than anything, is what makes Spice Mela what it is - 'using time honoured culinary methods', 'Spice Mela takes inspiration from the age old approach to dining' and finally, 'The menu remains true to classic Indian recipes, but also reflects the food trends in today's India'. It is this delicate balance between the past and the present that is understood so well by Chef de Cuisine Siddharth that makes Spice Mela so exciting.

Having visited Spice Mela before, I was understandingly brimming with anticipation to see how the new menu will continue to embrace the old and the new. You can read about my first experience he…

A dish that inspired - Atlantic Scallops at Spice Mela, Rosewood Hotel, Abu Dhabi

On a  recent visit to Rosewood Hotel's superb pan-Indian restaurant, Spice Mela, I was out to try the new menu. The Summer break afforded to Chef de Cuisine Siddharth and his staff meant that there could be an exciting array of new dishes added to the menu. Indeed there were - You can read all about that right here:

There were some fantastic new offerings that really stood out for me- the Tandoori duck, and watermelon salad and the Masala roast black cod are just two of those dishes that wowed me. The  Garam masala brûlée dessert too was amazing. However, the  Scallop moilee was again one of the dishes of the night. It was virtually unchanged, except for less tomato salsa than the last time, but essentially the same dish. It is a testament to the popularity of this dish that it has retained its original form and ingredients. Changing this dish would be like asking Monet to use sunflowers next time instead of water lilies. Sacrilege. 

 It is a pretty …

Wine and food Flight - Bentley Bistro & Bar, Abu Dhabi

Bentley Bistro & Bar can be an imposing venue if you factor in the bar, dining and terrace areas. Having been here before and expressed my enthusiasm for such a venue in Abu Dhabi that gives us an elegantly casual option beyond the walls of  a hotel. You can read that here:
When I heard they were hosting a wine and food flight, I was curious beyond measure to see how they would pull it off. These affairs are usually intimate and conducive to meaningful conversation, new friendships and intimate moments.

My immediate impression as I was shown to the flight area was that they had done it. In terms of finding a space that checked all the boxes with regards to intimacy, a place for meaningful conversation and intimate moments they had succeeded. They chose to use the elevated dining area at the opposite end of the bar which was a naturally closed off area and away from the rest of the restaurant, part still very much part of it if you will. Intimate yes. There ma…