Dinner with a revolving view at Stratos - Le Royal Meridien, Abu Dhabi
The moment I take the elevator up to Stratos on the 26th floor, there is already a feeling of exclusivity - there is one elevator dedicated to taking you up all the way. As I exit the elevator, I see stylish lockers displaying some high end single malt whiskies and cognacs. Briefly, if you and some friends do not manage to finish one of those bottles, Stratos will keep it for on your next and subsequent visits. Sensible and practical, but also making you feel a sense of homeliness.
I am offered a pre-dinner drink after being seated in the lounging area, with Abu Dhabi's skyline in front of me. A lot has been said about Abu Dhabi's ever changing skyline, well this is a place that gives me that from another perspective. After my dinner I would have seen the skyline change because Stratos is a revolving Bar and Grill.
The power of first impressions. We are met by the restaurant manager, Brian Webster, a self assured and super slick individual who has the art of hospitality fine tuned. We are also met by our waiter for the night, Pradeep, who immediately shows a willingness to connect with the guest without 'hanging around'. Nice. I choose a glass of their house Champagne, NV Louis Roederer Brut, while my guest has a Hemingway Daiquiri. After about 45 minutes, I am already able to appreciate the light changing as Stratos moves around from the night lights of some of the sky scrapers to the more natural light of areas like the Corniche...Soon after we are shown to our table.
For starters we choose the Yellow Fin Tuna and the Torchon of Foie Gras. Brian offers to pair my starter with a wine. His recommendation,the Australian Nottage Hill Riesling 2013 is drier than expected but the hint of sweetness excites me because I know it will go well with the foie gras.
|The foie gras|
|Yellow fin tuna|
The recommended main course will be intriguing. We go for a Master Kobe vs John Stone. We order the Master Kobe Full blood 9+ Wagyu sirloin and the John Stone Grass Fed Rib eye. The side dishes look enticing, but I ask for very small portions. We have Paris mash, Spinach Rockefeller and Salad of baby spinach, red onion, Tomato, olive & roquefort.
|The Master Kobe|
|The John Stone|
Dinner ended as the lights dimmed on the Abu Dhabi skyline. As I wrapped up my thoughts, I reflected on what a stunning venue this is, but while some venues offering a glorious view of a city will trade on that and compromise on food because they feel the view will compensate, Stratos seeks to deliver the complete product. Here, I believe food is first and foremost. The view is a an added pleasure.
Expensive? I think this is one of the misleading things I have heard about Stratos. I find the prices very competitive with leading steakhouses in the city, and in some cases are even lower. The wine list offers some really good wines at an affordable price. Just because you do not see a house wine at 30AED a glass does not make a place expensive. It just means it believes in encouraging guests to pay a little more for a more rewarding experience. It offers a balance between an exclusive but accessible Grill & Bar evening.
Stratos joins a select number of venues in the city where you feel you can, for 4 hours, escape the hustle and bustle of urban life, sit back and appreciate beauty.
Le Royal Meridien, Khalifa Street,
Abu Dhabi800 101 101