Showing posts from March, 2015

ESPA experience - Viceroy Hotel, Yas Island, Abu Dhabi

Yas Viceroy is already an iconic structure in Abu Dhabi. Drive past at night and marvel at the LED lights that create a feeling of surreality. Arrive in the day time and you still feel you are entering a  very different, elegant and modern space. As I walk through the corridors where I am ensconced by white walls and light, a lot of light, I feel I am in a  hotel like no other in the city. Then it all changes. Silence. I approach ESPA, the UK based spa that has established itself as one of the world's leading Spa brands with a presence in more than 50 countries. 

I am greeted by the Director of ESPA at the Viceroy. Warm and welcoming. I am offered a moist towel and cup of green tea while I fill in my details on a form provided. I can see the value of arriving early for my appointment - feeling relaxed, it sets the tone for my Facial Treatment. 

I am then shown to the Men's change rooms, while I pass a very relaxed resting area. Dark browns set the tone, creating that feeling of …

Indigo Saturday Brunch - Beach Rotana Hotel, Abu Dhabi

I am always on the look out for a brunch with what I called 'an X factor'. This brunch certainly has it: firstly it is on a  Saturday and secondly it is a bit of a niche brunch serving Indian cuisine. I like the idea of a Saturday brunch because I hate the way the weekend ends. In the sentiment of TS Eliot, with a whimper and not with a bang. 

Some talking points from the brunch

It could not be simpler. A menu is given to guests. Guests check the dishes they want and these are served, a la carte style. No need to go anywhere. It is really perfect for lazy Saturdays. They have nailed the concept. They have also recognised that discerning guests are tiring of buffets, something I predicted last year. This trend will continue. The resultant personalised service and meaningful human contact is what people want more of. 

The manager
Occasionally it happens where one meets a restaurant manager who actually makes a dining experience more special than it would otherwise have been. …

Friday brunch at The Café - The Park Hyatt Hotel & Villas, Abu Dhabi

Ever since staying at The Park Hyatt in Tokyo, I have been in love with the brand. While still part of a chain, it has since been a  brand that is somewhat left of centre because it is so under stated. The Park Hyatt Hotel & Villas in Abu Dhabi continues that tradition. I recently had the pleasure of trying their Friday brunch. Here follows 5 reasons the brunch is a winner.

The Park Hyatt brand
There is something very unique and classy about the brand. However, pricing of the brunch puts it on par with what is out there, and in some cases, undercuts some key competitors. It is a brunch that has not suffered from over exposure, meaning you get that experience that is less common than most in the city.

The Grill station
An exceptional part of the brunch. These made-to-order dishes were a real highlight. Firstly, because it breaks the idea that you are at a  buffet and secondly, the quality on offer could not be questioned. The Grilled 1824 tenderloin from Australia excited me, and it wa…

More than cupcakes at Bloomsbury's - Various locations in Abu Dhabi

If you have walked through Al Wahda Mall, you have probably seen Bloomsbury's. 'The place with the cupcakes' is what you possibly said to a friend. It was in this context that I visited them recently, expecting an afternoon of sweet taste and visual decadence. 

The menu is where one's surprise begins. Bloomsbury's is more than just cupcakes. We all know they do to-die-for boutique and luxury cupcakes, but they also have a fabulous menu page of savoury treats. There is a compact selection of sandwiches and salads. I am torn between the Carrot qinoa salad and the Butternut squash salad. The latter, especially, looks intriguing. In the end though, I go for a third alternative, the Beetroot and feta salad. My choice turns out to be a winner. The taste and textures dazzle - balsamic brings that sweet acidic element to the dish. Texturally, the crunch of walnuts and sunflower seeds contrast with the medium soft feta. Finally, if you like more acidity, there is the lemon f…

Steakhouse Review of Abu Dhabi

In Abu Dhabi we are spoiled for choice when it comes to steakhouses. There have been a few additions in the last couple of years that have made steakhouses more accessible because steakhouses generally expensive and even over priced. By that same token, traditionally expensive restaurants have also re-looked at their menus and are offering cheaper but nonetheless high quality cuts. In doing this round up I learned that just because a cut of beef is expensive does not mean the cheaper options are necessarily poor. It is about personal preference and understanding.
BOA Steakhouse, Eastern Mangroves Promenade.
One of three stand alone restaurants featured here, BOA’s first anniversary is coming up. BOA has a unique place in Abu Dhabi offering a balance between its American concept and retaining cognizance of the local market. Located in the Eastern Mangroves Promenade, BOA’s terrace is as enticing as its indoor seating options. The finest US beef options are served here along with some…