Showing posts from May, 2016

Traditional French in this wonderful little Bistro - Le Beaujolais, Mercure Centre Hotel, Abu Dhabi

Because Abu Dhabi is so young, relatively speaking, there are very few restaurants that have that old feel to them while still producing food that people love. It is complicated by the fact that mainly 5- and 4-star hotel restaurants are licenced, with a sprinkling of stand-alone outlets also licenced. So, your little hole in the wall or side street restaurant where you can have great food and  glass of wine does not exist in Abu Dhabi. Or does it?

I visited Le Beaujolais for a third time this past week. But it had been almost a year since my last visit. There is no pomp and ceremony as I walk in. Simple. The restaurant is 80% full. Laughter. Chatter. Low ceilings. Laughter. Clinking of glasses. Laughter. Tables are fairly close to each other; intimate and cosy. Paper napkins. A juke box in one corner of the restaurant. 

Interestingly, I notice that the menu has not changed in over three years. That is quite unique in a city known for the fickleness of diners following the newest new tr…

A little lady turns 10 - Espoir Flower Boutique, Rosewood Hotel, Abu Dhabi

When a special lady in your life turns 10, or Double Digits as she puts it, as a father you have to take note. It is an extra special birthday. And when she asks that her birthday gift should be an experience gift, you call the people close to you and ask them for their suggestion. That is exactly what happened to Mitsuki, the inspiration behind my blog, when she turned 10. And thanks to the wonderful planning of some dear people at Rosewood Hotel, she had part of her birth week celebration at the foremost florist in Abu Dhabi, Espoir Flower Boutique at Rosewood Hotel on Maryah Island. 

Since Mitsuki is half Japanese, the idea of a Flower arrangement class was perfect, as this is one aspect of Japanese culture that every young girl experiences. Stepping into the Boutique already set the tone. Oversized windows create a sense of space and make it very inviting. There is a sense of theatre as you walk pass the boutique and I am sure inspires people to at least take a peek. There is also …

A classic French experience - Brasserie Angelique, Jumeriah at Etihad Towers, Abu Dhabi

You have read the plaudits and seen the plaques. I am sure. This has been one of the critics' most loved restaurants over the last few years and certainly a firm favourite among those wanting classic French cuisine in an opulent setting with brasserie undertones. The setting of Jumeirah at Etihad Towers is a fitting location for this restaurant, considering it has that luxe feeling. Luxurious it is, gaudy and over the top it is not. 

My guest and I start off with an aperitif at the cosy little bar inside the restaurant. The bar is itself something worth trying. An Aperol Spritz starts off the evening, and being in a French restaurant, it is appropriate that the barman uses Veuve Cliquot Brut NV. Brasserie Angelique markets itself as offering you your very own corner of France, and the bar certainly creates that exact same ambience. My guest remarked that it felt like a scene from a movie, and she herself is well travelled and one who appreciates gastronomy. 

We start off with the Fo…

Sake Series - a tasting experience - Dai Pai Dong, Rosewood Hotel, Abu Dhabi

The French are known for their fine cuisine, wines and of course Champagne. The Italians too have given us so many classic dishes, wine and Prosecco. The Japanese are right up there with their unique cuisine and have even given us another taste, umami. In addition to their superb but under appreciated whiskey, they have also brought us Sake, a rice-based alcoholic drink? And if we are at least familiar with the name, do we actually go to a restaurant and have it? The answer is likely 'No'. 

This is where Rosewood Hotel's weekly Sake Series is trying to right the situation by offering a brief introduction to Sake with a tasting of 4 different sake, accompanied by light bites from the fantastic menu at their Cantonese restaurant, Dai Pai Dong. The bar is exquisite, and while it is part of the restaurant, it has 'destination in its own right' written all over it. This gem of a bar has not yet been discovered by most people, which is a shame. It is classy, elegant and i…

Gastro brunch in a pub - The Sportsman's Arms, Abu Dhabi

One sure way you can distinguish yourself from other brunches is to offer something that very few others are doing, and when that offering is a natural continuation of your own concept, it makes sense. How many brunches have you been to, for example, that are set in a gastro pub? The truth is not everyone wants to dress up in heels and bathe in perfume but would still like to be out on a Friday afternoon, and ideally with their kids. The Sportsman's Arms at Zayed Sports City in Abu Dhabi is one of the newish brunches that sets out to provide that Friday afternoon that is relaxed, removed from a hotel and big on family while the drinks keep flowing. 
 Here are my impressions from my recent visit.

Family Venue

There are many parents out there who would love to go out on a Friday and not be stressed that people in their Sunday best will complain if their two-year-old is a bit too active. That is where venues like this come in. Being a father myself, I quite like seeing so many families …

The bigger picture - The Middle East Food Forum 2016 - Radisson Blu, Deira Creek, Dubai

The Middle East Forum, the brainchild of Vishal Pandey, Founder of Data On A Plate and Middle East Food Forum, had its inaugural forum recently. The idea behind the forum is to have industry leaders and influencers to get together and look at where the industry is heading, as well as to share success stories. On this occasion, some heavyweights in the industry, as well as some up-and-coming restaurateurs took to the stage to share both successes and challenges that needed to be met.

Vishal welcomed everyone and talked about his goal to establish a  forum that would meet regularly and would be designed at creating a  platform for people to exchange ideas and look at how to implement them. He also looked at the significance of using data that could be referred to by restaurants to map out their way forward. 

The keynote address was an early highlight: Stefan Breg, the Director of F&B for Starwood Middle East. It was  a meaty presentation, with stats aplenty. Stefan shared some eye-ope…