Showing posts from May, 2015

Terrace on the Corniche - St. Regis Hotel, Abu Dhabi

The Terrace on the Corniche is the all day dining restaurant at St Regis, Abu Dhabi. All day dining is not an easy concept because it is the bread and butter restaurant in a hotel - the window on the rest of the F&B offerings. In this case, it is also the restaurant that replaced Rhodes 44, the fabulous but often empty British restaurant. And this was the initial problem for me. I loved Rhodes 44 so much hat it was strange being in that space and seeing a buffet. Nonetheless, I walk in looking forward to an evening of lovely Arabic fare balanced with some international favourites - it is their Arabic evening. I am pretty sure they eschew the word 'theme' night. 

Unfortunately, we have reached that time of year already where dining outside is just torture because of the heat and humidity, so I was seated inside. The restaurant feels bigger than it is because it is long. But it actually accommodates around 150 diners. There are three distinctive seating areas inside, with the…

Soirée Francaise at Entrecote Cafe de Paris - Abu Dhabi

Entrecote Cafe de Paris remains a beautiful enigma, tucked away in the Souk at Shangri-la in Abu Dhabi. There is an elegant charm about it that really sets it apart from competitors. Actually, with its unique concept, it has no real competition. You can read about my last visit here,, but on this occasion, I am here to try their Soirée Francaise, a Thursday and Friday night promotion. 

At the centre of the concept again this evening, is the signature 'Cafe de Paris' dijon and butter based sauce that accompanies the Faux Fillet Steak (entrecote). The variation comes with the steak that is offered - Usually, there is a choice of 3 cuts, but for the Thursday and Friday promotion, it is the New Zealand grass fed beef that is served. 

The evening kicks off with a Campari Soda at the intimate bar. Again, I think it a great idea of them to start the evening with a drink at the bar. At a time when we do everything very quickly, this allows one to linger and take in…

Luigi's Italian buffet - Four Points Sheraton, Dubai

When I heard that Luigi's had changed its concept from a la carte to buffet, I was sceptical - it is the usual concern that buffets water down the quality the dishes and that they tend to be more impersonal. Nonetheless, I tried it and was thankfully happily surprised!

The restaurant is cosy and intimate with seating for around 40. Traditional Italian table cloths give it that Italian feel, while the entrance has some Italian products from tomatoes in a can to pastas add to the same. The choice of music, Pavarotti, a throwback to the past, was welcomed by this writer. It is simple - create an Italian mood by playing Italian music, but the romantic element in his music works well in Luigi's because it is such an intimate restaurant with romantic possibilities. Homely is the end result. 

Because the restaurant is so small, you really get to know the waiting staff, although I would like to see more natural engagement on their part - without prompting. Nonetheless, th…

Latest Recipe Iftar Preview - Le Meridien Hotel, Abu Dhabi

It is that time of year when the Holy Month of Ramadan is almost upon us. It is also the time when hotels fine tune their iftars for that occasion. Last night I was invited for a Press preview of Le Meridien Hotel's iftar at their Latest Recipe restaurant. 

Latest Recipe, the hotel's all-day dining restaurant that was recently refurbished and rebranded, is a perfect venue for an iftar. The various seating options, including a semi private room for those who prefer more privacy during dining as well as pockets of seats around the restaurant, affording various degrees of intimacy and privacy, result in a dining area that is not too big, with capacity of around 160. I like this because one tends to get lost and feel overwhelmed when a buffet is just too big. Furthermore, the layout of Latest Recipe is such that you can dine without being aware that you are part of 160 people. 

Latest Recipe has cleverly allowed the iftar to fit into its normal concept of having distinct stations wh…

The Amalfi Experience Part I - Le Royal Meridien Hotel, Abu Dhabi

How do you elevate a cuisine that, along with Chinese food, is probably the most adulterated cuisine, having been taken away from its roots by commercialisation, food courts and microwave dinners? How do you take palates to an authentic taste experience they may never have had? Not an easy task. I am reminded of a 10 000 Maniacs song "Candy, Everybody wants"- a song that deplores how television is nothing more than a reflection of what people want to see. In this context, mall restaurants driven by putting bums on seats, often give people what they want for what they are willing to pay. The cuisine becomes watered down as a result.  What is the cuisine I am referring to? 

Italian of course. I can imagine you are nodding your head right now. Italian restaurants are the go-to options of hoteliers because everyone likes pasta and pizza, isn't that right? Sadly, amidst the Eat as much you want culture we find ourselves in, a cuisine like Italian is reduced to Spaghetti Bologn…

Hotel Stay Arjaan by Rotana - Media City, Dubai.

The hotel is imposing as I see it in the distance. Refreshingly it is not a glass tower. Instead, old fashioned stone. As I drive up to the hotel, I feel a sense of Arabia. I am greeted  and our bags are taken. Light fittings, doors, the floor and paintings all say you are in the Arabian world. Immediately I like the tasteful decor. There is nothing kitschy about it. After a brief and efficient check-in, we make our way to our room. Our room, one of 167 all suite rooms and apartments, is a Premium One Bedroom apartment. 

The Room
Absolutely gorgeous. Space is well utilised with a fully loaded kitchenette and very practical access from the kitchenette to the dining area if you need to pass on dishes. Smart. The living room has its own balcony, while the bedroom too features a balcony perfect for a book! A bathroom ensuite with a walk-in shower and bath complements the guest toilet. Finally, the plunge pool. A very select number of apartments have their own private plunge pools, with view…