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Showing posts from January, 2016

Grills @ Chill O' Brunch - Sofitel on the Corniche, Abu Dhabi

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I ended 2015 with my 26th brunch of the year - that is a lot of brunches in any language. Naturally, you reach a point where you forget the brunches you have been too because they follow a set formula, with few of them standing out. When I was invited recently to try the Grills @Chill O' Brunch at the Sofitel Corniche in Abu Dhabi, I was honestly excited, mainly because it is an outdoor brunch, and that is certainly its main selling point. But would it deliver overall or simply trade on its setting? 




Setting

Brunch is set on the 8th floor amidst the towers of the Sofitel and residences, with the swimming pool and palm trees there to provide tranquility and soul against the stone of the buildings. Seating around 80 people outside, they have certainly gone the conservative route for the benefit of the guest - it did not feel at all crowded. Nine live cooking stations line the terrace, with the Thai station and Grill station in particular proving popular. The Sofitel, with its French f…

Traditional Italian cuisine at BICE - Jumeirah at Etihad Towers, Abu Dhabi

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On entering the dimly but perfectly lit restaurant at Jumeirah at Etihad Towers , two things make an immediate impression. The first thing is space. It is not a tight, cluttered restaurant in which I am fooled by ceiling to floor windows. It is genuinely spacious, with the layout of the restaurant leaving guests with a sense of privacy. There are understandably more guests on the terrace, all taking advantage of the gorgeous temperate weather, but my guest and I are lured by something else that makes an impression on me - a pianist. It is more than the novelty of a pianist in a venue other than a Friday afternoon brunch - it is the way he plays. There is no initial eye contact; I feel like an intruder as he is lost in the moment, pouring every bit of soul into the piece. 



We are seated indoors accordingly, hoping to keep the connection with Antonello, the pianist, alive. Tu Vuo' Fa l'Americano from the film, "The Talented Mr Ripley" has my guest and I feeling vindicat…

Friday Brunch at The Foundry - Southern Sun Hotel, Abu Dhabi

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It has been a phenomenal year for this small restaurant housed in Southern Sun, the South African-inspired hotel. In this time, it has won top steakhouse awards in Abu Dhabi from all major local publications: FACT Abu Dhabi, What's on and Timeout. These are awards that are richly deserved. I had the pleasure recently of trying its brunch for the second time, looking to see if they could carry this success over to its brunch.



Conceptually, the brunch revolves around 5 principle stations - The Oyster bar, Foie gras station, Antipasti seafood island, the Carpaccio, Tartar charcuterie station and a choice of soup served at the table. Of course, the main event is a selection of 5 cuts of meat made to your desired temperature. These include Australian Black Angus strip loin, Irish John Stone Rib-eye 21 days dry aged and USDA Black Angus Tenderloin.



The part buffet-part table brunch works really well. I think The Foundry plays to the reality that is brunch in Abu Dhabi, where guests are dr…

BOA's meaty Friday brunch - BOA Seakhouse, Abu Dhabi

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There are not many brunches in the city that can be labelled as sophisticated and classy. Neither are there many that combine elegant, classy as well as relaxed. BOA Steakhouse, one of the latest restaurants to join the brunching scene in Abu Dhabi. Two elements made a very big impression on me on my visit. 

Staff
I rate the staff very highly at BOA. It is one of maybe three  restaurants in the city that seems to have the balance right among its staff as it offers a guest staff who are elegant, knowledgeable and engaging at the same time. From the hostesses to the waiting staff, all backed up by a powerful management presence, you can expect a staff to take the brunching experience to another level, quite different for Abu Dhabi. 


Menu

The sophistication of the brunch is tied to its concept of a set menu, with dishes served at the table. So, there is no standing in line for food or trying dishes that lack the freshness of those served a la carte. The brunch is a substantial one with abund…

Thursday Evening Pool Deck Barbecue - Eastern Mangroves Hotel & Spa by Anantara, Abu Dhabi

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In its second year now, the Thursday Evening Pool deck Barbecue has found a niche in Abu Dhabi. With all hotels focusing on Friday and to a lesser extent Saturday brunches, the Thursday affair at Eastern Mangroves Hotel & Spa by Anantara will continue to set trends, and it will not be long, based on my visit, before more and more hotels launch similar Thursday evenings.


Two talking points from my experience.

Thursday brunch

This has many aspects of a brunch, but thankfully the marketers have eschewed labelling it as such. But anyone who enjoys brunch, is going to love this, and even more. There is the lavish buffet, but punctuated of course by bonfire barbecues, free flowing drinks and some very stylish guests. Finally, entertainment provided by my daughter's favourite duo, the Colombian band, Diamond Duo. 

The only difference is, other than no bubbly option, is the x factor - it takes place at night, and anyone who has been to the hotel, will testify to its heightend beauty under…