Showing posts from August, 2017

Affordable Italian fare at Parmigiana - Sofitel on the Corniche, Abu Dhabi

Italian. It has to be everyone's 'go to' meal. Who does not like pizza or pasta. Abu Dhabi has many Italian restaurants and that list has just gone a bit longer with the addition of Parmigiana at Sofitel on the Corniche in Abu Dhabi. So, the question is, how does it stand out from the competition that is already here? 

The restaurant

It is good see another restaurant added to the food and Beverage options at Sofitel. Having seen a  couple restaurants in the same space in the last few years, an  Italian restaurant seems like a good option to bring back guests. While the previous Italian restaurant that was outsourced closed soon after opening, its market was different; it was more upmarket. Parmigiana is more relaxed and laid back. 

Parmigiana has a simplicity about it, with typical Italian table cloths (thankfully not in red) adorning tables. Black and white prints of Italian American movie stars are all around the restaurant; a nice touch. Views of the corniche and in the da…

Japanese Friday Brunch - Omakase at SushiSan - Holiday Inn Hotel, Abu Dhabi

The table brunch is growing in popularity. Week in and week out guests are subjected to endless amounts of food, most of which gets wasted afterwards. About 6 months ago SushiSan launched its own table brunch but I was largely unimpressed. With the reworking of their concept I was naturally excited to try it because of where it placed itself in the market. Some thoughts emerged from this experience.
That is the underlying idea at this brunch. Omakase, or dishes chosen by the chef, allows the restaurant to offer something different every week. While sushi is obviously what draws people to it, its brunch and omakase concept means that the chef can really innovate and ensure that regular guests do not get bored. 


Key to this concept is staff. There were some noticeable changes. I always say when you have chefs on the floor, it instill confidence in guests and also raises the level of a brunch seeing the men in white. Seeing Holiday Inn's new Executive Sous Chef, David Ma…

A new Iraqi experience comes to Abu Dhabi - Layali Baghdad, Khalifa City, Abu Dhabi

Layali Baghdad is bound to catch your eye as it did mine a couple weeks before I tried it. On that occasion, the restaurant was quite full as I drove by. But I loved teh vibe I was getting from a distance thanks to large traditional Iraqi windows. Also, a fire encased in a glass room close to the entrance really grabbed my attention. Thus was born my interest in this restaurant, still in soft opening in Khalifa City. It will open fully in September. 

The restaurant is simple and minimalist, with homely tables and chairs used to convey a sense of exactly that - home.  We start off with lentil soup, prepared Iraqi style. The main difference, as I taste it, is the thicker texture it has compared to what one usually has. Very hearty.

We try some cold starters with piping hot tandoori bread - they have a tandoor in the kitchen. I appreciate the fact that bread is routinely replaced with freshly baked bread. The highlight of the salads and highly recommended is the signature Layali Baghdad sa…

Dining at the exquisite 55&5th, The Grill - St Regis Saadiyat Island Resort, Abu Dhabi

We live at a  time when things are in constant flux. Life is about changes. Moving fast. It means we often find ourselves yearning for things to slow down and and we crave comfort in something that remains the same. This is especially true of restaurants where concepts are changing quickly to appease a changing market. When I first tried 55 & 5th, The Grill at St. Regis Saadiyat Island Resort about 4 years ago, I marveled at the high ceiling, the fine plating, the attention to detail; the fineness if you will. On my latest visit, I have the exact feeling as I walk in - there is something familiar about it. I sit down at the bar and have a glass of the restaurant's house champagne, Louis Roederer NV champagne - a champagne that is so symbolic as a choice of bubbly for this restaurant.

When my first course is served, I reflect on the fact that I have had dishes prepared by two chefs de cuisine and now a junior sous chef in the last 4 years and yet what is remarkable, is the consi…