Dining at the exquisite 55&5th, The Grill - St Regis Saadiyat Island Resort, Abu Dhabi
Next up, the Burrata illustrates to me the comfort of things familiar remaining. While the sunchoke puree and truffle oil certainly shake things a bit, it is a very faithful dish - faithful to the restaurant's ethos. This can be interpreted as a weakness but I choose to view it as a strength. Some things must not change too quickly. Because the interior design and decor in 55&5th is integral to the restaurant, any dish on the menu should not move too far away from its vision.
Next, we have the Grilled salmon. The elements on the plate seem in place with Celeriac puree, carrots, heirloom beetroot ans carrots. No issues here. However, the asparagus tagliatelle does not rise to the occasion. When I try it, I want to say without thinking, 'Mmmm asparagus'. However, I have to search for the asparagus flavour - just too subtle.
|A Pre-dessert anyone?|
As dinner ends with the classic 55&5th dessert, the Chocolate souffle, perfectly done by the way, it dawns on me that I got it all wrong. The last couple years I felt it was necessary for the restaurant to lose its fine approach to dining because fine restaurants had dwindling numbers of guests as Abu Dhabi became more and more casual and conscious of price. While this has worked for other restaurants, I cannot see it working here. They cannot get away with charging 125AED for an entry level steak because it would be so in-congruent with the style of this restaurant. If you don't understand, just pop in when next you're at the hotel - you will see what I mean. The tag of 'occasion' restaurant is one I often used to describe 55&5th. I do not want to see this restaurant disappear by losing itself conceptually to become a footnote a year down the line. Rather, focus on those occasions - a couple has an anniversary and two birthdays between them every year. An occasion does not have to mean once a year.
Tonight, I felt a progression from my last visit. It was that of a restaurant more at ease with what it stands for. Or is it resigned? I would like to think it is the former. There remain some basics though that I would like 55&5th to sort out - in all my visits I was never totally convinced that it had the staffing right. I feel an infusion of fresh faces to complement the staff already on the floor is a must. And as for the rest, more of the same, enticing tasting menus that are affordable without being cheap - there is a big difference. Restaurants like 55&5th, The Grill are a dying breed in the city but we need the. We need to be reminded that some things stay the same. Some things are beacons of constancy.
St Regis Saadiyat Island,
+971 2 4988888