Showing posts from April, 2015

French fine dining at Bord Eau - Shangri-la Hotel, Abu Dhabi

There is a warmth and dare I say almost homeliness for me about Bord Eau, the French fine dining restaurant at Shangri-la, Abu Dhabi as I walk in. It is a somewhat surreal walk though as I know this will be my last chance to interact with outgoing restaurant manager Peter-Paul Kleiss. The old familiar reserved smile makes way to a  full smile, followed by a heartfelt handshake. I am the first guest this evening, and Peter leads me to my table. Instinctively, one of the waiters reaches for a little stool upon which to rest my bag, but Peter has beaten him to it. A small but symbolic moment; an instant that shows me the vacuum that Peter will leave, but based on the quick reactions of the waiter, I can see his legacy living on - an instinctive flair for service and ability to anticipate the guest's needs.

A glass of Bord Eau's house champagne, the NV Duval-Leroy Brut, is placed in my hand. I have always liked it. This Pinot Noir-heavy bubbly is extra dry and complex. Nothing fri…

Hotel Stay at Nour Arjaan Apartment Hotels by Rotana - Fujairah

With Dubai an obvious choice for short get aways, we often forget the other emirates. I recently had the delight of visiting Fujairah and staying at the Nour Arjaan, a hotel apartment complex in the heart of the city. The drive from Abu Dhabi was about 3 hours including a stop for breakfast along the way. 

With the city centre and beach a mere 5-10 minutes away by car, the location is really convenient. The convenience is further driven home by the fact that there is a Lulu mall within a 6 minute walk. The mall has a lulu supermarket, food courts and a wide variety of shops including a pharmacy - all perfect for short, medium and long term visitors. 

Check in was effortless and handled very politely by Malou, one of the staff on duty. With me checking in at around 10.30 in  the morning, I appreciated the offer of a newspaper -  I hate it when hotels skimp on something like a newspaper when they either get it for free or at a huge discount. A nice touch indeed. 

Our room, a pr…

Prego's Italian restaurant - Beach Rotana Hotel, Abu Dhabi

In the 1980's there was a popular TV show set in Boston called "Cheers". The premise was a bar that was like home to its guests. I could not help thinking about Prego's in this light when I arrived. There is a homeliness about it that I have felt at only a couple Italian restaurants in the city. The homeliness certainly does not come from the size - it is not an intimate restaurant. On the contrary, it is quite big, with seating inside in a very well lit space, full of natural light from the huge windows. Then there is the terrace, my preferred seating for the evening. As the cool evenings are about to come to an end here in the capital, it is the obvious choice.
A growing trend in personalising the dining experience is to have chefs move around and mingle with guests. In this context, I met Chef Manuel, a larger than life figure with a passion for people and food. He goes through the menu and highlights some of the dishes. The antipasti all look so good, and Chef is …

Rangoli Indian restaurant - Yas Island Rotana, Abu Dhabi

As I enter Rangoli, I feel relief from the bright lights of the hotel lobby and find myself bathed in low light. It is also serene, notwithstanding the lively Indian music I hear as I walk in. The traditional rangoli in the form of colourful rice or flower petals that you would expect on the livingroom floors to welcome guests, manifests itself in an explosion of colour in the drapes. So, the colour motif from the rangoli is present as you walk in. The tranquility is maintained by waiting staff who conduct themselves in a manner befitting the restaurant - no noise is heard as they tread the wooden floors, and their tone of voice is gentle but clearly audible. What a  start, all in the first 3 minutes.

The traditional Papadums are brought to the table. Cracklingly crispy, they are accompanied by something akin to chana masala, (a chick pea curry), smoked tomato and a green vegetable salad - all tiny portions of course. Papadums are just a  lovely way to get the palate going. 

I peruse th…

New Menu at Marco Pierre White Steakhouse & Grill - Fairmont Bab Al Bahr, Abu Dhabi

The evening starts with a drink at the Bar at Frankie's, the Italian restaurant right next to Marco Pierre White Steakhouse & Grill (MPW). There are not many steakhouses that offer this as a concept to guests, and I love it. I have the flavour of the moment, an Aperol Spritz. Light and refreshing, it is a drink that evokes lazy afternoons at garden parties and terrace lunches. When is about to try  a new menu at a restaurant, everything seems a distraction  and you simply ant time to move faster, but not tonight. My drink immerses me in the moment and I am content. 

Rather than have another though, I am led to MPW. I have been here before, but still I bask in the elegance and refinement of the restaurant. Heightened levels of warmth and intimacy greet me as I am seated. What would you expect from a restaurant that caters for a maximum of around 65 guests?

I have a penchant for theatre and drama, so when I see the Gin Trolley brought to my table, I feel my face lighten up. For me…