A birthday and two stories - Catalan at Rosewood, Abu Dhabi
I had no intention of writing about the evening. In fact, I told Mitsuki, my daughter, that I would not be writing that night. However, as our two servers for the evening, Lorena and Eric, my serving staff from a previous visit (goo.gl/466ZkV ), started guiding us through the menu, I realized that it would be an evening where the pen, or keyboard, would not be motionless.
|Cucumber with a hint of apple gazpacho|
|Slow cooked eggs|
|Sea cucumber on a bed of peas|
But, as I realized earlier, while food remains the centre piece of the evening, this evening is also about the people at Catalan, and I listen to Eric. He left his home and went to South Africa, as the 'big' brother, in search of the African dream which was a better life for his siblings back home. With various waiting jobs in South Africa giving him barely enough money to send home, he persevered and path after path eventually lead him to Abu Dhabi and a chance of happiness for those back home. Sacrifice; Eric, with a small physique, but a huge capacity for engaging people. That's one of his stories.
|My half portion of tenderloin.|
As guests we forget that our waiters and waitresses have lives outside of their jobs. We romanticize what they do. We never imagine that they go home after a long hard day, and just crash on the bed and fight the alarm the next morning; the alarm that beckons them to another 10 hour day. No, we don't want to imagine that because then the illusion we have is shattered. When we go to a fine dining restaurant, we don't want reality.
|The passion fruit soup poured around the yogurt ice cream.|
|Chocolate and walnut cake|
As the evening wound up, I reflected that Lorena and Eric had the balance I write about often: Engaging but not obtrusive. Knowledgeable but not arrogant. In sharing, when prompted, about one's life, a waiter is saying, 'Stop mythologizing me. I am human. The smile you see here is part of complexities that exist in me'. Eric and Lorena did exactly these things. Also, Chef Antonio's wonderful creations which celebrated the Catalonian coastline spoke for themselves, and I recommend you go simply to try his dishes. I recommend too that you go to Catalan simply to have Manager Jordi share his passion for wines in an effortless, natural and intoxicating way that makes you want to go to the vineyards where the grapes were harvested. But those dishes beautifully paired with some fine wines are two thirds of the experience that makes Catalan such a captivating dining destination. People like Eric and Lorena with their stories, completed the evening. Thus ended another magical evening. Another birthday. But not the stories. They will continue. What will you hear on your next visit to Catalan?
Rosewood Abu Dhabi
02 813 5573