Saturlaze, a seafood 'brunch' on Saturdays - Finz Restaurant, Bar & Lounge Beach Rotana, Abu Dhabi

With the Friday brunch market  pretty much saturated right now and being held hostage to 2 for 1 offers, Finz' Saturlaze 'brunch' on Saturdays offers guests something unique. And yes, I mean unique. It is the only genuine seafood brunch in the city. Don't expect meat, or a few dishes to give you a  break from seafood. It is not a brunch, but I know that is what it will be called by guests. I prefer to call it a way to end the weekend on bang and not a  whimper. When I visited Finz two years ago after it had been refurbished, I talked about 4 reasons I am in love with Finz. For the sake of poetry, I will do the same with its Saturlaze, but offering 5 reasons. 

Five reasons I am in love with Saturlaze






Simplicity of the menu

The 4 course set menu is underpinned by their Seafood stand, with prawns, mussels, tuna tartare, salmon ceviche, crab cocktail and oysters that I rate among the best three I have had in the city. There is no meat - kudos to the F&B team for having the courage not to try and be something to everyone. Seafood is a niche, but there is a big enough market for guests who want a purely seafood experience. The stand is definitely instagram worthy, and with the water as the backdrop, I can see why this is a popular brunch pic. The problem for me is that I wanted more - the ceviche and tuna tartare which were both intensely flavoured. I would like to see the sauces served separately so that the bottom of the stand can also have seafood. Of course, I forget that at 350AED net it is already a very well priced 'brunch'. 

Oysters are available from the a la carte menu anyway, so my guest and I order some -  a good call. 




The Crustacean ravioli serves a perfect bridge between the cold seafood starters  and the hot main course. But to simply call it a bridging dish would be an insult. The bisque in which the ravioli swims is  a dish on its own I tell you. Truffle oil, smartly used, adds to the flavour, never drowning, if you will, the delicious crab meat inside the ravioli. 


The Catch of the Day, I have the Grilled barramundi which is presented in a  very basic way - with lemon and lime on the plate. We do not get this fish in many restaurants, so I do recommend you order it next time you come to Saturlaze. On this occasion, it is nicely cooked and is elevated with a  squeeze of lime. Sides of tabbouleh, couscous and oriental rice ensure that no one leaves hungry. 


Finally, the Saturlaze Sweets comprises a few desserts, which in my mind do not reflect the rest of the culinary experience at Finz. Shall I be positive and call it a work in progress? 

Drinks

I am self-confessed champagne lover, but I feel a prosecco works very well here. Champagne adds a great cost not only to the restaurant but also to the guest and with people spending upward of 500AED for bubbly brunch on Fridays, one needs something more affordable. At 350AED I am really happy with the Fantinel Prosecco, a mildly fruity Prosecco and not as dry as a Valdo, lovely in its own right. 2 reds, the highlight being a  South African Shiraz and 2 whites, including a rather delightful Dusky Sounds Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand. Finally, a Pinot Grigio Rosé completes what is a very good drinks package. I actually switched to the Sauvignon Blanc because it is unusually having a  decent wine from New Zealand at a brunch. 




DJane Miki Love

Such is the magnetism of this larger than life DJane, that she warrants mention as a reason to try the brunch. I have seldom come across, actually once before, where a DJane has so much presence at 'brunch' and yet allows herself to just drift into the background. In Romania she is a phenomenon, she has a truckload of followers on social media and yet when you meet her, she is just so laid back.  Hip beats, strong sex appeal and a killer wardrobe and you have the best the best DJane you are likely to meet in the city. The music, so much part of the new Finz, is an essential element of the Saturlaze experience. 






The S element

S is, firstly for staff. I would say this is, with respect to the other outlets, the best chosen team at a Beach Rotana outlet. They are eclectic, confident, well groomed and work well together. They are so integral to the success of Saturlaze. Secondly, S is for Sexy! Am I allowed to say that, but the restaurant has that sexiness about it. Just hanging out at the bar for a welcome Prosecco is a destination in itself and I do recommend this for anyone trying Saturlaze - sit at the bar for a drink before going to your table. You will feel the sexiness I am talking about. Floor to ceiling glass windows, tasteful sealife  iconography and beautiful people! Finally, S for Chef JohanneS - really reaching here, am I not? I am always excited when I meet a  Chef who is the full package - raw, talented and charming. You see, chefs are now brands in their own right and he has that X factor!  Incidentally, he has been in the country for about 5 weeks now.




Location


I always say that this should be the last thing you mention when talking about a dining experience, and I stand by it. Too often, restaurants pride themselves on their location and pay scant attention to the food, opting instead for an overall experience. The views from the terrace are just so tranquil. And with brunch lasting from 2-6pm, there is a sunset to be enjoyed too. The restaurant takes on a different character at night, with romance not far from my mind - now this is a restaurant that should certainly be there when the best romantic restaurants are mentioned. 


Saturlaze, a nice play on the words Saturday and lazy, is one of three one of the most exciting newish 'brunches' I have been to this year. It is classy and elegant, sophisticated but chilled with  a civilised approach to food - very little wastage and quality dishes freshly served. It is a 'brunch' with character and identity, something that is so lacking at these free flowing drinks afternoons. Strong leadership on the floor, excellent staff, a thrilling new chef and a concept that will see the terrace at Finz full every Saturday. 

The Essentials

Finz Restaurant, Bar & Lounge
Beach Rotana, 
Abu Dhabi
http://bit.ly/1rYpnjf
+971 2 697 9000

The Classic 250AED Soft drinks and Mocktails
The Elaborate 375AED Prosecco and Wine 


Brandon Stoltenkamp
https://instagram.com/bmstoltenkamp/

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