Seafood at Finz - Beach Rotana Hotel, Abu Dhabi
I have read much about its pretty location on the seafront, with the restaurant hanging over the sea, much like a boat house would. As I get closer to Finz, I see Plumeria trees. I can't help thinking of the symbolism of the Plumeria trees. As I pass the name Finz, I notice the clever way in which it is written - rope used to tie a boat that has been docked spells the name. Yes, this is a restaurant that specializes in seafood.
|Plumeria, lights and the view of the facade of Finz make the walk special.|
It is an exquisite restaurant. Beautiful New Zealand wood create a feeling of a boat house with a stunning view of the sea, even with the development across the the waters of two hotels and a hospital. The magnificent floor to ceiling windows give a glorious view of Abu Dhabi then and now. To one side, the sea dominates. To the other, lights, progress. Depending on your perspective, there is still a romantic charm about what you see. I am tempted to sit outside, but the thought of being surrounded by couples out on a romantic evening deters me - inside I feel less of an intruder dining alone amidst a restaurant ideal for couples. It is intimate, with indoor seating for around 70. Carefully thought out-out lighting adds to the ambience. Finally, old fishing baskets and traps in a lofted area contribute to the seafood feel of the restaurant.
|A trio of amuse bouches.|
|The sea, moonlight and bubbles.|
My waiter, Mohan, boldly makes recommendations. He is clearly a seasoned member of the staff here and it is not long before our conversation goes from his origins to IPL and Suresh Raina. Relaxed. Comfortable with his product knowledge. Engaging. He takes my order for my starters, and while I wait, I look outside to the couples in the half moon terrace. There is seating for around 8 people in that space. Could that be one of the most romantic spots in a restaurant in Abu Dhabi? A nice thought.
Up to this point the music has already provided an eclectic mix of songs from Dire Strais, The Carpenters, some instrumental music and even Tevin Campbell. While the songs are connetced lyrically to create romance, the music is just too varied. A bit disconcerting.
This night will make my return to salmon as a main dish fo the first time in a while. I tend to avoid it because it is invariably over done. But after a conversation with the executive chef who recently joined Rotana after working in Asia's big cities - Tokyo, Singapore, Shanghai and Singapore - I am sold on the salmon. It will not be Norwegian salmon this evening. I am roused by the thought of having salmon from the Faroe Islands! It makes sense if you consider the North Atlantic current that flows steadily around these islands creating a steady temperature for the salmon.
The salmon is brought out and I am not disappointed. It is served with Green asparagus, crushed ratte potatoes and lobster béarnaise. For once I don't need a salty skin to add flavour to my salmon. The inside is just so full of natural flavour. Moisture permeates the salmon so I find no need for the accompanying bearnaise sauce. Of course I cannot resist that lightly crispy skin. I think they have spoiled salmon for me now - how can I try grilled salmon elsewhere having had this? Oh cruel beauty!
|Highly recommended salmon.|
I decide to forego dessert, but Mohan encourages me to have the Chocolate and cheese which comprises three mini desserts of Maracaibo fondant, Chocolate almond pudding and Cheesecake ice-cream. The portions are spot on. Individually I like each dessert, but it feels like I am having three desserts with nothing holding these three together. Of course there is the mandarin sauce and confit on the plate, so it could be argued that it serves as the connection. Nonetheless, that cheese cake ice cream with hazelnut turns out to be my favourite because of that combination of smooth and crispy.
|Perfectly sized dessert portions.|
Finz is one of the top seafood destinations in the city. Their menu, which offers a choice of faithful interpretations of dishes as well as a more contemporary approach to others, presents guests with a wide variety of choices. Interestingly, they generously offer a few dishes for those who prefer the land. (My thoughts are if you don't like seafood, stay at home).) A nice touch.
Finz is a destination in itself with an enviable location, but I see so much more potential for the restaurant. Finz does not proclaim to be a romantic restaurant, but it can be with some tweaking. However, as it is, it is highly recommended because the food and view are simply outstanding.
Beach Rotana, Abu Dhabi
02 697 9000
Main 78-385 Dhs
Desserts 38-58 Dhs