Showing posts from June, 2017

More than a coffee shop at The Coffee Club - Yas Mall, Abu Dhabi

People love coffee shops here in the U.A.E. They are everywhere. I once counted ten in one mall. It means that standing out from the competition is a very tough task. My daughter and I recently tried a new addition to as Mall, The Coffee Club. The latter, an Australian franchise, prides itself on being a place to meet people. 

The Coffee Club carries on the laid back tradition of the original shop that opened in Australia years ago. Staff are young and have that cool element that you associate with coffee shops. It is interesting to note that the staff here at the Yas Mall outlet is a mix of African and Eastern European. Nice. That is already one way for The Coffee Club to distinguish itself. 

The menu is extensive and offers a wide variety of options. While we were going through the menu, I could not help but stare at the table next to me where I see an Angus Beef burger and veal bacon on the side served to a guest.  Politely, of course, I ask for a picture. Forgive the angle. This is …

A rather stylish Afternoon Tea at Mosaico Lounge - Palazzo Versace Hotel, Dubai

There are many things I love about Afternoon tea, but one thing stands out for me. Rituals are becoming less important in a world where we everything is becoming casual and easy. One can almost say that various aspects of life are becoming functional and ]beereft of ceremony and beauty. Thankfully, there is still Afternoon tea. My experience starts before I leave home as my daughter asks me what she should wear - A dress, of course, I shout lovingly. She does not understand it fully yet, but it is Afternoon Tea that is full of such tradition and indeed ritual and as I bemoan the withering away of traditions, it stands firm. 
Today, we have a reservation for Afternoon Tea at the sumptuous and opulent Palazzo Versace Hotel in Dubai. The hotel oozes luxury the moment you arrive. Do not be intimidated by the luxurious cars valet parked, though. Having been here before, I know well that staff manage to balance this by exuding friendliness and warmth. But make no mistake, the feeling of luxe…

Meat, meat and more meat - Famous Daves Legendary Pit-Bar-B-Que, Al Wahda Mall, Abu Dhabi

About a year ago tried Famous Daves Legendary Pit-Bar-B-Que in Abu Dhabi Mall. It has made quite an impression on meat eaters which lead to the opening of a second Famous Dave's in Abu Dhabi, this time at Al Wahda Mall. Needless to say, I was happy to go and see how this outlet is doing. With my Abu Dhabi 2017 Steakhouse round up taking shape, I was excited to include this outlet.

As I did on my last visit to Famous Dave's, I like the clever way they introduce the sauces - they make a smiley face. It is a symbolic act that shows how engaged staff are with guests. it is a big part of the restaurant - alert staff who actively move around to all guests making sure their needs are met. the kettle fried chips by way of a bite until the starters are served are so addictive. By the time my starter is served, I have finished my bucket of chips. 

I start off with Dave's Famous Chili - this is as good a bowl of chili as I have had anywhere. My guest orders the Caesar Salad, but withou…

An iftar that offers a Taste of India - Rangoli at Yas Island Rotana, Abu Dhbai

It has been a fascinating iftar season thus far. There is a clear pattern emerging. First, there are the more traditional iftars with a  large spread in which Arabic dishes, appropriately, are displayed and where the cultural journey and culinary journey are jointly taken. Second, there are the concept iftars in which restaurants stick to their own philosophy and try to come up with a concept that makes its own iftar somewhat unique. It was the latter that was foremost on my mind when I visited Rangoli, the gorgeous Indian restaurant at Yas Island Rotana, Abu Dhabi. Their iftar, labelled, A Taste of India, is through and through conceptual. A couple of thoughts emerged after my experience. 

1. Concept
The Taste of India takes the guest to different parts of India by offering a  selection of Rangoli's favourite dishes from their standard menu. It is not unlike a brunch concept in which you can order as many dishes as you want. This works on levels I have written about often - first, …

A new brunch at Marriott Hotel Al Forsan - Khalifa City, Abu Dhabi

The newish brunch at Marriott Hotel Al Forsan was always going to intrigue me once I had tried their all day dining restaurant, Khayal. It is a gorgeous restaurant, with natural light, cheerful seating areas and a well laid out buffet area. I recently tried the brunch with Mitsuki and two of her friends. For me, four talking points emerged. 

Food stations

There were three stations which stood out easily. The Japanese/Korean station impressed. The brunch boasted one of the widest selections of sushi I have seen at a brunch, with the usual California rolls, Salmon avocado and Smoked salmon to Soft shell crab and Spicy tuna. Then, there was also a very good range of Japanese salads and a few Korean dishes, including kimchi. 

The second station that caught my attention was the Indian station. The tandoor meant that fresh bread was available while kebabs could also be done the tandoor way. I get excited when I see a tandoor because I know I am going to get more than the usual butter chicken, …