Showing posts from November, 2013

Afya Italian Night - Traders Hotel

Theme nights are becoming the in-thing on the restaurant scene in high-end hotel restaurants as they try and jostle for customer's wallets. After extending Friday brunch to Saturday, this was the next obvious move as a marketing ploy. However, I saw a restaurant advertise a Thursday evening brunch! Do people actually fall for this type of exploitative marketing? I don't mind theme nights though, because they means there is an effort to take  a select cuisine up a notch for that night. But could we please leave brunch where it belongs?

Having tried Afya's Asian night, I went for their Italian night, which is held on Tuesdays. 'Winter' in Abu Dhabi means Al Fresco dining. Afya has the benefit of having that wonderful beach spot between the bridges. It affords obstructed views of the Sheikh Zayed Mosque, unfortunately obscured by the monstrous Ritz Carlton. The only redeeming factor about the Ritz design is that it does look prettier at night than in the day time. But…

Shang Palace a la carte - Shangri-la, Abu Dhabi

Oh no, not again I here you sigh after seeing the title. No, this is different. Last night I had the absolute pleasure of trying their a la carte menu. Now you know that I rate this restaurant very highly, with their tremendous dim sum a reason I keep going back. However, after last night, it has gone from being a very good restaurant to being excellent. Why? The food.

I chose to sit outside to enjoy the glorious weather and sumptuous views of the Sheikh Zayed mosque. While the view I had at Afya (previous post) was obstructed, the view I enjoyed last night was perfect. Dining al fresco during November and December in Abu Dhabi is something very special. There is a freshness in the air, a buzz and even a hop in the steps of the service staff. One of the things you have to do in Abu Dhabi is dine outside. A sheer delight. There must, after all, be some reward for enduring 9 months of torturous heat.

Shang Palace offers two options: a selection of set menus which vary in courses and obv…

Toshi - Grand Millenium Al Wahda

Over the last 2 weeks I visited Toshi on two occasions which I think allows me an opportunity to offer an objective account of the experience. The premise behind Toshi is that a Chinese chef visited a number of Asian countries and decided to combine the cuisines of these places, featuring Japanese, Thai, Malaysian and Chinese. I am always weary of this because there is then a great danger of doing everything ok but nothing exceptionally well. For the hotel though, it allows the restaurant to really maximise marketing potential by targeting different customers through various promotions.

Toshi is not large, and on first entering, you get a feeling that it is a bit cramped. The use of dark colours add to this sense. red and black is the overwhelming colour motif. Fortunately, the large windows give one a sense of space. With most tables at the window, it does not feel as oppressive as it might have been without the window seating.  Another drawback with the seating is the incredibly hea…