A celebration of New Orleans: Nola Week - St Regis Hotel, Abu Dhabi

There are not many hotels with an F&B product that is exciting right now as St Regis Abu Dhabi on the corniche. It has been a phenomenal year for them with innovation after innovation. They have taken brunch into the clouds with a  unique offering that turned out to be my brunch of 2016. They have introduced a helipad supper for 20 guests, once a month. Also, they have turned their Terrace on the Corniche brunch into something very special. The list goes on.

This week they are hosting their second New Orleans Week, or Nola for short, in the St Regis Bar, again showing why it is THE hotel to visit for inspired restaurant and bar options. On Wednesday I had the opportunity to go along and experience music from and inspired by the New Orleans created by the Ptah Brown Duo. 

The food is all New Orleans and I have the Jambalaya chicken chorizo and seafood, part of a succinct bar menu that brings the taste of New Orleans to guests. How often does one get the chance to try food like this in Abu Dhabi? To wash it down, I have a glass of cava, although the bar also offers a specially created selection of New Orleans cocktails. 

Ptah Brown is all heart. There is a simplicity about her as she connects with guests. She belts out some standard jazz tunes and much to the joy of the guests in attendance,  does a few Nina Simone tunes, including my favourite, Feeling Good. But she takes us through so many notable songs from Duke Ellington, Ella Fitzgerlad and Miles Davis - my personal favourite on the night is her interpretation of Miles Davis' Green Dolphin Street - wonderful stuff. Meanwhile, Bobby on keyboards has a few solo moments himself that I quite enjoy. He has a bit of a Michael Bubble thing going on - love his voice. 

Nola Week is something you should experience because it is so unique in the context of where we live. I often lament that we are starved of culture here and while we wait for the opening of some art projects like The Louvre, events like Nola Week go a long way to filling the void. The venue has so much potential, but don't forget it is a bar and not a theatre, so you will still have normal chatter and the odd impolite guest talking at the top of his voice, but overall it works well. I would like to see more of Pta Brown at this venue- in fact I would love to see her as a resident performer somewhere in the city because she has a lot of stories to tell, and indeed sing about. Now, in a  perfect world, I would not have to wait until the next Nola Week to hear her perform. Hint hint!

Nola Week,
St Regis Hotel,
on the Corniche, 
Abu Dhabi
971 2 6944444
Nola Week runs from 5-8 April 2017. 

Brandon Stoltenkamp