A journal, inspired by my love for my daughter, that embraces quality food, service and experiences which make life worth living. In the words of Tennyson's Ulysses, " I cannot rest from travel. I will drink life to the lees." Seeking that incredible dining or hotel experience and writing about it. Abu Dhabi and Dubai.
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 amazing side dishes.
Perfect for – Dinner with a group of friends or a couple wanting an edge
to their steakhouse experience.
Wow factor – In a
city plagued with service issues among restaurant staff, BOA has the luxury of
havingDavid Juillet, the restaurant’s
general manager, who brings 25 years experience from aMichelin starred background in his running of
the restaurant. Blessed with an eye for detail and a demand for perfection, it
is clear how he has changed the staff culture at BOA.
Must try – The Salmon Gravlax would be at home at any of the handful of
fine restaurants in the city. This Heirloom beetroot salad with orange and
horseradish sauce is a winner. While Master Kobe is on the menu, the best of US
prime beef should make its way onto your plate, namely The Grilled 80 days Dry aged New York strip. For something very
different, try the white cheese soufflé for dessert.
in the stylish Dusit Thani, Capital Grill, like a few steakhouses listed here,
has a bar that serves as a perfect starting place for an aperitif before moving
to the dining area to be presented with the menu. The Range of cuts is fairly
small with US prime beef, Australian wagyu and beautiful John Stone grass fed
beef featured. Capital Grill offers these fine cuts of beef at affordable
prices, bringing youa grill experience
in a setting typical of asteakhouse
with a heavy masculine touch, but with asurprising hint of femininity too. A large open kitchen allows guests to
see close up how the chefs are creating their dishes.
Wow factor – it starts off as you walk into the hotel. The only Thai
inspired hotel in the city is elegant and luxurious with heavy Thai touches. Nice.
Finally, Chef e Cuisine Riane ensures a relaxed and enjoyable evening – you
will go back for his vibrant personality alone!
Must try – Start off with Herb crusted Carpaccio and allow that lime juice to surprise your
taste buds. Then, for your main, the John Stone striploin, or even the Wagyu
beef burger. Dessert should definitely be the New York cheese cake., for a
different cheese cake experience.
in Abu Dhabi are generally expensive and if one wants to enjoy very good beef,
one invariable has to fork out quite a few dirhams. Choice Cut, though in the
4* Novotel on Airport Road has changed that with prices ensuring no major
bruising on the wallet. Each steak ordered comes with a choice of potatoes,
vegetables and sauce. This is tremendous value. The truth is not everyone can
drop 400AED on a steak, and this is where Choice Cut offers a lovely
alternative. Service is warm and attentive without suffocating guests. Arrive
as a stranger and leave as a friend.
Perfect for – anyone wanting to go out with a group of friends to a
steakhouse where one is a bit more conscious of spending money. A relaxed and
casual evening is guaranteed.
Must try – Dinner starts with a complimentary salad from the salad
bar. For your main course, I recommend the Normande
Grass fed beefRib eye. French beef
is not found on many menus and has a balance between flavor and price. For
dessert, it has to be the Chocolate
Entrecote Café de Paris,Souk Qaryat Al Beri, Al Maqta
little taste of Paris as I have called it is not a steakhouse per say, but for their mains, they serve only premium
beef. Situated in the Souk between the bridges, it provides an alternative to
concept at Entrecote Café de Paris is very simple. It is based on the 1930 Café
de Paris founded in Geneva and has a single menu offering three cuts of beef.
It is a restaurant that is cosy as it is a throwback to the past, making it
truly unique in the city.
Perfect for – someone who really wants a good beef experience but is
tired of the traditional manner of the way it is served. A romantic evening out
is another possibility.
Wow factor – The clichéd feeling that you have gone off the beaten
track, breaking new ground for yourself. Then the sauce of course in which the
beef is bathed. Finally, it is a conversation piece.
Must try – Start off with the standard house salad and then for you
main, any of the three choices of beef cuts will suffice. I particularly liked
the 400 day grain fed Australian Wagyu.
For dessert, try their decadentChocolate fondant.
an impressive menu with meat cuts from regions as diverse as the US, Australia
Canada, France, Wales, Ireland and Argentina. Knowledgeable staff will make
your choice less daunting. The Forge offers one of the more intimate high- end
experiences, with seating for around 50-60 people. Young staff ensure a laidback evening with a
cool factor. The service is good, with some staff fine exponents of how to
engage with guests. Expensive yes, but some things are worth the expense.
Perfect for – someone seeking a wide variety of beef options served by
professional staffand does not want a
Wow factor – it is The Ritz. Walk through the glorious lobby and just
stand there taking it all in. It is sheer luxury, and when you step into The
Forge, you still feel luxury, but it is more relaxed.
Must try – the Beef tartar prepared table-side is more than just
theatre. Intense flavours persist. For your main forego the usual high end cuts
that you will find in abundance here. Go with the Argentinian tenderloin
prepared under the watchful eye of Argentinian Chef de Cuisine Gerardo. End
your evening with the Alitato which is a Valrhona Dark Chocolate Soufflé with a choice of
Vanilla or Truffle Ice Cream !
The Foundry, Southern
The Foundry surprised everyone by winning the What’s On Steakhouse of the Year in
2014. The Foundry shows the possibilities that exist with all day dining
restaurants as it changes cosmetically at night time to become a steakhouse.
Place mats make for white crisp linen, a different entrance is used and of
course the lighting plays its role in the transformation. The décor is warm and
inviting. Expect different music as
well, making the whole visit almost like going to a different restaurant. Not
overtly masculine. Service that is honest and attentive awaits you.
Perfect for – Someone
seeking quality on par most restaurants at an excellent price.
Wow factor – go to
The foundry in the day time for a coffee and then go for dinner at night.
Manner in which the restaurant metamorphoses is something you have to behold.
Also, the booths are able to close, giving you privacy in an unprecedented way in a steakhouse in Abu Dhabi.
Must try – Start
off with the Angus beef tartar, prepared at your table. For the main course,
you can choose from a range of premium options including Grade 9+ Blackmore,
the latter the best priced in the city. Or try the Milk fed veal from Holland. For dessert, look no further than the Deconstructed cheesecake.
Marco Pierre White
Steakhouse & Grill, The Fairmont Hotel
This is a very intimate steakhouse that offers highly
personalized service. It is a steakhouse that has traditionally been perceived
as high brow and expensive, but the new menu suggests an accessible experience
while at the same time offering that typical MPW emphasis on great food with superb
beverages. It is a supremely stylish restaurant. Experience a hands-on manager
and see how he infuses his staff with passion and enthusiasm. Finally, it
offersa very intimate evening as the
restaurant caters for around 50-60 people.
Perfect for – a romantic
celebration or a group of friends wanting to go out for a late night premium
Wow factor – when
you have a restaurant manager who is a qualified sommelier, it is no surprise
that The Spectator has awarded you 2 Glasses
– undoubtedly the finest beverage list in the city. Of course, there is also
the Marco Pierre White factor – there are not many celebrity chef restaurants
in Abu Dhabi. Even though the menu has some very good entry items, it has
retained a ‘place to be seen’ feel.
Must try – Ask the manager to
provide a pairing for your dinner. Then, start off with the Premium beef tartar
and for your main go for either the Angus Beef Gourmet burger experience or a
well-priced Master Kobe.. Dessert has to be the Toffee pudding!
As the name suggests, this is a serious destination for meat
lovers. Its ultra relaxed setting away from a hotel is quite appealing because
it offersa genuinely relaxed restaurant
while serving the highest quality of beef. Meat Co has a very strong beef
selection that includes the usual grain fed and dry aged Australian and
American cuts, but extends to the fields of New Zealand and Argentina from
where you can enjoy grass fed beef. An evening here need not be expensive,
although if you want to splurge you also have that option.
Perfect for – post
work drinks at around 6, enjoying the views of the canal leading to a laid back
dinner.A birthday surprise awaits
Wow factor – as a
South African concept, you are in for an experience like no other with that
signature African hospitality. The two mangers work in tandem, casting their
spell of joy on guests. Expect a fine beverage list that includes some
marvelous South African offerings.
Must try– Start off with the Boerwors, a South African classic served with pap, and follow this
up with The Natural Grass-fed Argentinian Pampa Humeda Bred beef. End the
evening with the another taste of South Africa, the deliciously sweet Malva Pudding.
The Park Bar &
Grill, Park Hyatt Hotel & Villas on Saadiyat Island
It is a very stylish restaurant that offers a high-end
experience in a relaxed setting. While it feels luxurious, the menu prices
suggest an experience that is accessible. Set on Saadiyat island, it feels like
a get away on itself.The name is rather
apt because it does not see itself exclusively as a steakhouse, but a Grill
that is adept at offering something from the sea and land. This is one of its
major strengths because it really does both exceedingly well.
Perfect for – a
special, even romantic dinner for two people.
Wow factor – it is
the Park Hyatt. Dining in one of the most beautiful properties in the city is
reason enough to try this. The restaurant itself is understated and full of
soul and warmth thanks to the lighting. Then of course fairly newly arrived Executive
Chef Guillaume Jolyis shaking things up at the hotel, making some wonderful changes to the
Must try – Start
off with the Yellow
fin tuna carpaccio and follow it
up withthe 21 days dry aged Spanish striploin because
it is less obvious and still has that novel appeal. Or go to the sea and have
the Omani lobster. Round off your night
with the Warm chocolate pudding.
at Etihad Towers recently entered the steakhouse circle with its introduction
of Ray’s Grill, a contemporary steakhouse. The menu offers some fabulous
options which include the highest quality of beef from John Stone toMaster Kobe, and for the ravenous, the
Australian 1824 Tomohawk. An impressive 14 choices of side orders will ensure
that your beef is not alone on the plate. A unique menu item is definitely the
slow roasted pork belly. And don’t forget they offer a mustard trolley.
Wow factor – Jumeirah boasts some of the city’s top dining
destinations, so there is naturally a halo effect when it comes to Ray’s Grill.Located on the 63rd floor, you are
also afforded a stunning view of the city’s ever changing skyline, even more
impressive at night. Therestaurant manager who also serves as the hotel’s
beverage manager, and as is the case in a number of steakhouses, is able to offer magical
pairings with your dinner.
Must try – Kick off your evening with their Pan seared foie gras. For mains, you will be spoilt for choice with 12 different cuts to choose from. The Master Kobe, while expensive, has
beautiful marbling. And worthy of the extra Dirhams. Dessert? Well, there can
be no other but the indulgent death by chocolate dessert, Ultimate chocolate.
Rodeo Grill has made quite an impression already. Its famed Josper Grill has
brought a new dimension to the way your beef is prepared and then tastes. Its
innovation of a meat master who comes to your table and explains toy you the
different cuts of beef is brilliant both as a gimmick but also to educate
diners. Rodeo Grill is at the top end of pricing , with some exceptional cuts
of beef, including Australian beef ranging from grade 7-9+, the highlight being
the Grade 9+ Blackmore Wagyu.
for – high powered crowds who want to relax in luxurious leather and feel
pampered and spoilt.
Wow factor - The presence of a
restaurant manager who is also a sommelier will ensure an all-round good
evening. Also, the idea of a meat master is very smart indeed and unique. This
is one of the nicest innovations I have come across.
Must try - Trio of Duck with Spicy mango is a very compelling starter and it
includes pan seared foie gras and terrine. For your main you have quite a few
options, and Rodeo Grill’s signature beef, the Blackmore Wagyu Grade 9+
is highly recommended. From a selection of 9 desserts, the Classic crème
brulée should make it on to your plate.
Stratos Revolving Lounge Bar and Grill, Le Royal Meridien Hotel.
been quite a phenomenal 6 months for Stratos as it replaced the old tired
restaurant atop Le Royal Meridien Hotel. Stratos has become associated with
luxury, but they have a menu with very competitive prices. They are big fans of
John Stone, although there is also fine splattering of grain fed options,
including three pricing options for the Master Kobe Grade 9+. Low lighting,
luxurious sofas and other seating choices ensure an ultra chic evening in the
city’s only revolving grill and lounge.
Wow factor – Executive Chef Justin Galea has transformed F&B at the
hotel, but he has poured even more of his soul into Stratos. Seek him out if
you find him one night and have him share his vision of the restaurant, food in
general and life and how to live it. Also, having a fine cut of beef in a
revolving restaurant is a big wow. Finally, with Stratos still very much an
unknown among people,you will have
bragging rights with your friends the next day.
Recommended – Start the evening with Loch
fine oystersin the lounging area
before moving to your dining table. Then choose one of four John
Stone menu options prepared using the Josper Grill. Finally, if you looking
for something different, make the Strawberry
posset your dessert for the evening
reigning Timeout Abu Dhabi Steakhouse of the year, 55 & 5th, The
Grill is opulent and luxurious, but tastefully so. High ceilings and exquisite
light fittings make this restaurant simply sumptuous on the eyes. While there
is an option to sit on the terrace, inside the restaurant seats around 60 making
for a very intimate dining experience. The menu is typically steakhouse, in
that it is very compact but with some excellent choices. As much care is taken
with cooking and presenting your choice. A pricey option, but how often do you
ask someone to marry you or celebrate the conception of a baby?
Perfect for – It is definitely an occasion restaurant – a proposal, a
birthday, an anniversary or just a treat for that someone special in your life.
Wow factor – Luxe! Also, the chef de cuisine is extremely creative and
plates dishes immaculately. Be guided by him as far as the menu goes and you
cannot go wrong. Finally, there is a feeling that you part of arich St Regis tradition as embodied in the
name of the restaurant.
Must try – Start with the Organic
Beetroot and cheese fixtures; simple but flavoursome and what presentation! Follow this up with the
Grade 9+ Tajima Full blood Wagyu
striploin,one of the nicest beef
cuts I have had. Finally, dessert should be the Chocolate soufflé. Of course.
There are those things we aspire to in life and the luxury of first class travel will be on many mortals’ bucket list. It is an almost hallowed space on the plane, separated by that dreaded curtain, and in today’s changing flying climate, it is even more sought after as airlines cut down on first class routes.For those who love champagne, it might be a fabled label that has attained almost mythical status in your life as one to be enjoyed. Now bring together first class travel and champagne on one of the world’s finest airlines, and you have something pretty special. My recent flight on Qatar Airways’ ultra luxurious A380 in First Class to Bangkok showed that bucket lists are there to be realized. More than that, it allowed me to have some of the best champagnes available in the sky right now.
The cabin is indeed luxurious, but it is understated, calmingand soothing on the eyes. There is none of the bling that is often associated with airlines in the region. Amenities are functional, …
Brunch. We all know what a big part of expat culture it is in Abu Dhabi. Last year I had the opportunity to try a lot of brunches with the aim of honing in on the top brunches in the city. People ask how one judges a brunch because they are so diverse and it is impossible to compare a family brunch to one that is more geared towards adults. That is true to some extent, but not entirely because there are certain criteria which cross all concepts. Nowadays, value for money is a very important factor. This doe snot mean a brunch has to be cheap though! Excellent Service is one of those things that you want at a brunch regardless of the concept. Also, remember that a brunch without atmosphere is just a lunch - a big difference. Quality of ingredients and dishes and drinks are crucial too. Finally, the most important factor for me is the concept. With so many brunches morphing into one another, I looked for a brunch that will be memorable; a brunch where the concept tries to break the mo…
There is something about Q's Bar & Lounge as my guest and I walk in. There is a sophistication about the venue that also has, in the same breath, a decidedly relaxed feel. It is small and intimate, and therein lies the beauty of this place. People are gathered around the bar, while some are seated at small tables. Cool. Chic. Trendy. Chilled. These are my first impressions of Quincy Jones' bar at the luxurious Palazzo Versace Hotel in Dubai. We start off with a glass of the hotel's house champagne, the Ruinart 'R de Ruinart' Brut Champagne. It is, after all, one of those occasions that I feel I will not forget. The anticipation builds as we await the arrival on stage of multi-talented American performer Sheléa.
I remark to my guest that the bar is really a great equaliser. You have the overt opulenece that is the hotel, from the moment we walked in. But now we find ourselves in a space, while still having Versace touches like the signature cushions, just has ex…