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 farthermost offering a more tranquil but sedate experience. It was too quiet for me, so I joined the main dining area. 

The restaurant is full. A full restaurant always creates a good atmosphere. But it does not feel crowded, a positive aspect. I like the tapas style dishes on display. This is quite a unique feature in an all day dining restaurant. Tastefully presented food always beats large serving portions which remind one that one is at a  buffet. I  think they have found  a nice balance between creating dishes for the masses, if you will, and also dishes that appeal not only on a taste but aesthetic level too. 

Cactus Salad, Salmon roulade, Eel and tomato salad, Cauliflower and tahina and even Couscous are just some of the dishes served tapas style. There is a grill station that does Australian lamb amongst other choices. This was a highlight for me. Of course, it being an Arabic evening, you can find the usual classics from cold and hot mezze. 

There is enough variety to satisfy those with a strong desire for Arabic dishes as well as those seeking something more international or eclectic. That is ultimately the strength here, something its predecessor was unable to do with its menu, which good as it was, was perhaps too much of a niche. 

Looking ahead, it will be interesting to see if there are plans to change, for example,  the china and layout of the restaurant to enable it to break completely free of the old restaurant and truly develop its own character. So, while I see Terrace on the Corniche as very  much a work in progress, the restaurant has already achieved quite a lot in a short space of time. 

The low down

Terrace on the Corniche
St Regis Hotel, Abu Dhabi
971 2 6944444
Arabic Buffet 150AED

Brandon Stoltenkamp
Disclaimer: I consult at restaurants and hotels in an attempt to look at the entire product to take service levels to where they should be. I visited  The Terrace on the Corniche as a guest of the restaurant.