An inspired Tasting menu that challenges so many traditional ideas - JW Steakhouse, Marriott Downtown Abu Dhabi

The dining scene is a challenging one on so many levels and I have the utmost respect for chefs and  Food & Beverage Directors. It is quite a conservative one but at the same time people are always looking for something new because they seem to get bored very quickly. It is all about balance. Guests do not want to be shocked but they do want something that is interesting and occasionally surprising. This why I found the Tasting menu at JW Steakhouse at The Marriott Downtown Abu Dhabi intriguing. Chef de Cuisine Stephan Benkendorff really got me excited about it and I knew I had to try it. 
While sipping on a glass of Moet Chandon NV champagne to get the evening going, I received  a facebook message. I am told my first dish is being readied and I am sent  a pic. This tells me I am in for something unusual. A message from the chef. Secondly, there is no menu - restaurants usually create a small menu and and have it on the table. Instead, Chef will be using technology to tell me what …

A staycation at Yas Island Rotana - Yas Island, Abu Dhabi

It is interesting how I am drawn to a  hotel because of its restaurants. I have always seen restaurants as the heart and soul of a hotel, a window to the hotel if you will. Yas Island Rotana, thanks to two of its restaurants and in particular to the excellent Rangoli, has been a  favourite of mine. It was this in mind that my daughter and  recently stayed at the hotel. 
Check in...

This could not have been more efficient and professional. Martin handled everything from start to finish and had us in our room within a  reasonable time. He guided us through our itinerary and explained some essential aspects of our stay. Well spoken, to the point and refreshingly, not guilty of over-serving us. 
Our room was a Premium Twin Room that afforded us views of the Yas Marina Circuit from a private balcony. At 35SQM it is a decent size considering that the rates for our stay was around 320AED for our room and even less for a standard room. 


If you ask any 11 year old what the firs…

Hotel stay and Friday Brunch at Centro Hotel in Barsha - Dubai.

My liaison with the Centro brand started 4 years ago when I tried  brunch at one of its Abu Dhabi properties. The hotel struck me as offering value or money in a neat, clean space. Since then, I have stayed at a few more Centro properties, but never at the one in Barsha, Dubai. 
We checked in a bit early - remember it is always free to ask. It has been my experience that if rooms are available, hotels will be very accommodating. That is how they create brand loyalty. 
Our Room Our room, a Centro suite, had a separate living area and bedroom. While 44SQM is moderately sized, I would rather have a suite this size than a large bedroom. The point to note is that during our stay, the suite was priced at around 400AED for the Summer rate. A suite with a kitchenette and decent sized bar fridge gives the guest a bit of flexibility and kids love it! Incidentally, a standard room was available for around 170AED. Rates are of course seasonal and fluctuate based on demand. Very affordable.