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.

Spacious seating afford privacy

The restaurant manager, chef de cuisine and assistant restaurant manager. 
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.

The Bresaola will wow. 
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 have done a marvelous job in 'converting' Agadir into an Italian restaurant. What is even more remarkable, is that it was done in under two months. The restaurant offers diners three options: the chef's table, the open dining area and the bar. The chef's table excites me. The thought of an Italian degustation menu has me searching the internet to see when the first will be held. It will be an exclusive affair and at this stage will take place once a month. The chef's table is different to traditional chef's tables in that it does not have access to the kitchen, no doubt unavoidable considering the original layout of Agadir.
You can expect the freshest rucola
Balsamic and Olive oil on the table. 
The risotto will surprise
Then there is the bar area. Comfortable, relaxed seating options tell you this will be the ideal place to have a sharing platter among friends while sipping on some of the Italian-inspired cocktails. I can see burrata and bresaola playing a  pivotal role here as evidenced by the press dinner. If you enjoy the burrata that is served at high end Italian restaurants in the city, you will love the burrrata here - rich, creamy and heavenly. An extensive pizza list that is very competetively riced will no doubt prove popular too. Not sure what their beer options will be, but I could imagine  a Peroni going down exceptionally well with a pizza here.

Finally, there is the main dining area, which itself offers options of a more open area as well as a more intimate space with fewer tables. The old wooden floors from Agadir are still there, and I can see why. It creates  a very homely feel in the restaurant. Chef de Cuisine Stefano has a down to earth approach to his dishes, so it seems like Sacci will give him that platform to express himself.

Well priced wine slection

You can expect all the classic desserts, but Tiramisu with a surprising twist
One of the highlights of the open dining area is the wine racks without casing, creating a very homely atmosphere. I can visualise guests getting up, walking over to the rack, taking a bottle of wine and reading the label. I like it.

What do I like about Sacci? One can never judge a restaurant by the pre-opening press dinners. So, how does one judge then? This is how: I asked one of the former waiters at Agadir, Hicham, now working in Saaci, if he liked the new restaurant. His response was that it was new but not new. It was still home to him. Unsolicited. Off the record. That is what I liked about. That homeliness.

A recurrent theme in many of my blogs is that restaurants do not serve food only. This was the case again on this night. One of the guests kept remarking that I was not eating. How could I? It is about emotion, isn't it? People often bemoan the lack of authenticity and character in restaurants in the city. That is something of the past. Next time you walk into Sacci and see Marwa the hostess or Hicham asking you what you would like to drink, or Ismail pouring your water, talk to them about Agadir. Talk to them about Sacci. The restaurant has changed. But the service has not. The same old Westin philosophy - Welcome to a sensory experience. This time an Italian one.

Look out for a blog soon as I try out Sacci on  a normal night.

The Westin Abu Dhabi Golf Resort and Spa
02 616 9999

                                                                          Pictures thanks to Nokia Creative Studio on my Nokia 1520
Brandon Stoltenkamp