A steakhouse with two concepts - Choice Cut at Novotel Al Bustan, Abu Dhabi

It has been more than 2 years since I last tried Choice Cut Steakhouse at Novotel Al Bustan in Abu Dhabi. When I last visited it, I wrote 'A very good evening. Choice Cut manages to undercut, pun intended, high end steakhouses with prices while offering a good night out' - when one returns to a place, it is always interesting to see how that venue has progressed or regressed, whichever the case may be. After my visit, these are some observations.

1. Concept change

The first noticeable difference is the Eat as much steak as you want offer that runs alongside the usual a la carte menu. It is priced at 124AED net and allows you to feast on three different cuts of steak as well as fish. Initially, I questioned having this as a concept because it detracted from the a la carte menu and would obviously result in poor quality beef for an undiscerning public. However, while I did not try this on my visit, I had a look at the beef cuts on offer and was surprised to see some beef that serves as entry level items on a number of steakhouse menus in the city. Karan beef, served at at least three others steakhouses in the city, is part of the unlimited steak offer. In addition to the South African tenderloin, there is also prime rib eye from Australia and Sirloin again from South Africa. 

2. Drinks  

Keeping up with the times, they have created  a little bar at the back of the restaurant that dispenses gins and tonic, much like the fancier  5 star hotel steakhouses - a nice touch. The restaurant boasts a small wine list, appropriate for the size of the venue. I am excited about their Wine of the Month offer which puts a bottle of wine on your table for 135AED. That has to be among the cheapest full bottles of wine in the city. However, they do also offer about 6 glasses of wine by the glass, sadly nothing bubbly is available per glass. 

Pan seared foie gras, available on request in advance.  

J&J brings something unique to your steakhouse experience with their acoustic set. 
 3. Main dishes

For her main course, my guest ordered the Herb crusted Salmon fillet, served with lovely mashed potato.  Mains are served with sauce, vegetables and  a potato dish. This represents great value. There are also sides at an additional cost of 38AED. I had the Australian Wagyu Rump Grade 5 - there are three sizes for most of their cuts. I like that there are 10 cuts from which to choose. They range in price from 207AED-358AED. For the really hungry, a 1000g Tomahawk goes for the generous price of 546AED. Missing though is a very cheap entry level steak of about 130-140AED, something that is common among quite a few steakhouses these days. 

Choice Cut is offering something unique in the city. In its Eat as much as you want promotion it has mass appeal, while for the more discerning steak lover it offers an a la carte experience. With steakhouses facing stiff competition now not only from others steakhouses in hotels but also those in malls, it is vital to differentiate yourself from the crowd. This concept certainly does that, but I do think some tweaking with the concept is needed. 

I would like to see a fresher, younger Choice Cut open its doors. They have a young team on the floor with a newly appointed restaurant manager, so they certainly have the personnel to take the restaurant forward. Incidentally, our waiter on the night, a young man named Ethan, is a natural and with further training, he will be a super star! They have also added a new dimension to the steakhouse experience by having an entertaining duo in J&J, an acoustic band that churns out 80s tunes that are very dinner friendly. I fully expect Choice Cut to regain its mojo it had when I visited it two years ago. The signs are good!


Choice Cut
Novotel Al Bustan (Airport Road)
+971 2 5016444
Map: http://bit.ly/VK5zFi

Dinner 18h30-00h00

Unlimited Steak Promotion 124AED net
Add salad bar for 12AED net
A la carte 38AED-546AED

Brandon Stoltenkamp