Showing posts from June, 2013

Japanese - Sho Cho just So So.

In preparation for upcoming trips to Japan where we will supervise students, I thought it would be a good idea for my colleague to experience Japanese food. We were joined by another colleague who hails from Japan.

An obvious place would have been Toki at The Hilton which is a firm favourite with Japanese expats. Another choice, but beyond my budget, would have been Tori No Su at Etihad Towers. In choosing Sho Cho, I thought the relaxed setting at The Souk at Qaryat Al Beri would be interesting in itself. Besides, I had some vouchers from The Entertainer which would make it easier on the wallet for all of us. For the record, The Souk is not part of Shangri-la. I often hear people saying they had dinner at the Japanese restaurant at Shangri-La.

We arrived at 6 and were the only people in the restaurant. The floor to ceiling windows afforded us of a nice view of the canal. The use of white decor was clever as it  to gave one a  sense of openness and space. The hi…

Sofra Bld, Shangri-La Abu Dhabi

Sofra Bld. It does not role off the tongue, I know. Forget the name. Call it Shangri-la if you want. Call it Sofra if you want. Still a great place. Shangri-La. What is it?

1. An imaginary remote paradise on earth; utopia. 2. A distant and secluded hideaway, usually of great beauty and peacefulness.
This my experience time and again. The name alone evokes something that is out of this world. Just say it. Does not sound normal does it? Well, neither are the restaurants. There is the Abu Dhabi Timeout Restaurant of the Year in Bord Eau, The Best Brunch in Abu Dhabi at Pearls and Caviar, the truly magnificent and my fave in the city, Hoi An, and of course the under rated Shang Palace. Then there is  the consistently highly rated Sofra Bld. It was here that some colleagues and my family visited today. We just never get tired of coming here. Why would you when the dishes remain of an outstanding standard? Why would you tire of a place where service is exceptional? Why…

Life of an expat - many goodbyes

My daughter has been in Abu Dhabi just shy of two school years, and already she has had to say goodbye to two BFFs - Best friends Forever! As a parent it breaks your heart when you see your child having to say goodbye to another friend. End of the school year really brings bittersweetness!

We had occasion to say goodbye to a friend and her family. The setting was the home of two wonderful French expats we have had the pleasure of knowing - Eric and Isabelle. They are two people who epitomise hospitality. They are also two hosts who remind on of the beauty of the spirit of abundance.

Once formalities of saying farewell to Marina and her family, it was time for food. It was a homely but lavish spread that was as diverse as were the guests. The table had dishes from Morocco, Japan, France, Italy, South Africa and The Middle East.

Partings are an integral part of life. But so are arrivals. There is something very hopeful about a parting - there will be a new comer. So, while we were sad t…

Spaccanapoli - Crowne Plaza, Abu Dhabi

Been an interesting few days. Watched about 8 episodes of The Sopranos in the last 2 days, and when I finished Season 1 on Monday, I felt for some Italian food; food is usually a big part of mob movies.  Oh, Italy: the wine, the sausage, the cheese, the bread!

Mitsuki had her piano lesson as usual and I made a last minute reservation at Spaccanapoli at The Crowne Plaza on Hamdan Street.

Now, I have eaten here maybe 10-15 times in the past. Do I like it? It is ok, without wowing. There are nice elements rather than an overall brilliant experience   The restaurant is a block away from Mitsuki's piano lesson, and on a Monday, it makes it ideally located for us in that sense. It is a cosy restaurant with a warm feel to it.

What I like
The menu is impressive with some great salads, pastas and pizza as well as  some poultry and beef. On this occasion we ordered the Gorgonzola salad and Margherita pizza. The sal…

Privé Cheese and Wine - Hyatt Capital Gate, Abu Dhabi

In popular culture mice are apparently obsessed with cheese. Not sure if mice actually enjoy it. Is it a myth in the same way that we portray cats liking milk when they actually don't? Whatever the answer, if mice really enjoy cheese, I can see why: it evokes all the senses. Furthermore, the sheer variety can also be overwhelming. Charles De Gaulle famously remarked: "How can anyone govern a nation that has two hundred and forty-six different kinds of cheese?"

A cheese and wine evening is a personal favourite of mine, up there with High Tea. Why wouldn't it be when two of life's great indulgences, cheese and wine, are brought together?

Hyatt Capital Gate
The Wednesday Cheese and Wine at Hyatt Capital Gate has been around for a while  now, and has breathed much needed soul into Prive, a lounge on the Mezzanine level of the iconic building. My relationship with Hyatt Capital Gate started a little over a year and half ago when I went for a tour of the rooms. The mome…

Cuiscene weekday lunch - Fairmont, Abu Dhabi

The buffet. I used to enjoy a hate relationship with it. My thinking was always, "Why should I queue for food when I can sit down and have it brought to me?" It made sense to my 25 year old mind then. After all, I was paying for it. Queuing for free food is one thing. Abu Dhabi, it must be said, has altered this feeling. I think when you have a child you realise that the idea of a hundred dishes spread out in front of her is a lot more attractive than pictures or words in a menu.

In terms of design, The Fairmont Abu Dhabi is a bit odd for me. It is located next to Shangri-La - yes, the one with the glass facade. It is so dissonant in terms of its architecture. You have Traders, The Souq and Shangri-La on one side and the new Ritz Carlton the other side. Could have been one architect. But the Fairmont stands out as a misplaced building. Or it is a beacon of the contemporary. You make your pick.

Be that as it may, we had a 2 fo…

Mall food in Abu Dhabi.

Shopping mall food in Abu Dhabi
Shopping malls. Purveyors of bad food and over crowded food courts. As I have grown in my understanding of healthy eating, and healthy eating without being boring and fanatical, shouting out the virtues of tofu burgers and water, so too has my dislike for malls when it comes to food. I honestly don’t understand how people can spend money on food in a mall when if they applied themselves, they could spend a little extra and eat somewhere outside where the quality is better and the atmosphere is matched. However, when one has a child, it is very hard to avoid a mall and invariably, one has to eat in the mall.

It is interesting for me when I look at how I have changed in my dining habits. When my daughter, Mitsuki, was younger and I could live with her having a Happy mealonce a month, I was excited about the prospect of spending $20 on food fora family of 3. That is what food courts offer – quick and cheap food. Now a bit wiser, I can amend that: food cou…