Greater intensity of flavours in new Pan Latin dishes - Bu! at World Trade Centre, Abu Dhabi

There are those restaurants where it is always more than just the dishes. In those restaurants you want to walk away having had an experience. And no, I do not think this applies to all restaurants. With Pan Latin cuisine now fairly well represented in the city, the overall experience becomes even more critical as these restaurants battle for the palates, hearts and mind of  a limited pool of guests - I say 'limited' because Abu Dhabi remains conservative when it comes to trying new cuisines. Not only does South American cuisine have dishes drawn from its own countries, one cannot ignore the influence of, especially Japan, on these dishes. Do not forget that Brazil and Peru boast 2 of the largest Japanese communities living outside Japan. 
It was with this in mind that I accepted an invitation to try some new additions to the menu at Bu! in the World Trade Centre Mall in Abu Dhabi. 

I once callously remarked that a ceviche is a ceviche but with time I realised that is absolutely…

A Fun, casual Italian experience for the family at Buca di Beppo - Yas Mall, Abu Dhabi

One can spot Bupa di Beppo, the American chain of Italian restaurants, from quite a distance a sone enters the Cascade dining part of Yas mall. There is a quirky village feel to the lighting as one  approaches. At a time when restaurants are trying to lure customers to its table, it certainly is eye catching. This continues once inside, with pop art posters and images of people getting stuck into their Italian dishes on the walls. Buca di Beppo, with its family style and sharing approach to dining has a lively atmosphere, with twenty something year old waiters and waitresses generally ensuring guests' orders are taken quickly and food served accordingly. 
It is not small, with the restaurant able to accommodate around 300 diners, if you include the terrace seating area. My guest and I are here on a Thursday night and there is a real family feel to the place with children typing away on their ipads. As a father of an 11 year old, I could see her enjoying this atmosphere. I usually a…

A beautifully balanced Friday Brunch at Eastern Mangroves by Anantara, Abu Dhabi

Brunches are becoming more and more loud it seems as the demographic of the brunch attendee changes. Also, drinks are becoming a key part of the big brunch experience with the result that dishes are declining in quality of ingredients. It is a sweeping statement, but there are exceptions of course. The brunch at Eastern Mangroves by Anantara is one that I had been looking forward to because it is such a niche brunch. After more than 18 months since my last visit, I really wanted to see to what degree it has embraced the changing brunch ethic or eschewed it. 

Seafood in abundance 

Basically, a fine seafood selection. My guest and I lost ourselves in a beautifully prepared platter of Fine de Claire oysters, available on request by anyone the way.  With the exception of a couple, our 1 1/2 dozen oysters were really well shucked. Impressed. The oysters are not the biggest, but my guest remarked how she could taste the sea in them. Absolutely. Next, we had some Maine lobster tail - I can may…

Cho Gao - Marina Walk to add even more fizz to Abu Dhabi - Intercontinental Hotel, Abu Dhabi.

When I first started writing about my dining experiences at the Intercontinental Hotel, Abu Dhabi, I became aware of this mix of the past and the old. The thing is when you have a property that is more than 20 years old, competing with numerous new glass and steel structures, Food & Beverage is the department that will keep giving guests a glimpse of the hotel's spirit. The hotel has shown itself willing to keep the old if it works (you must try The Fishmarket ) but also to try something new. This is evident with Circo, for example, which opened a few years ago, a restaurant offering affordable and tasty Italian fare. 

Its recent addition to its Food & Beverage portfolio replaces the space occupied by the Yacht Club, a restaurant that became an icon at the hotel. Cho Gao - Marina Walk, a Pan Asian restaurant that offers guests a taste of Japanese, Indonesian, Thai and Vietnamese cuisine, recently had its official launch and, as is often the case with t…