Showing posts from January, 2015

The Entertainer Middle East Mobile App - Indispensable

January has passed and already the Entertainer Mobile App is proving a shrewd choice. I have used the Entertainer Book for two successive years, and it turned out to be a great purchase. It saved me a bundle over the two years I used it. However, I found certain drawbacks, the main one being it did not allow for spontaneous lunches and dinners. The end result was I always had to carry it. Quite cumbersome.

Then, last year, I downloaded the mobile app but did not use it. I feared I would turn up at a  restaurant, order my 2 for 1 main courses only to find that the restaurant was not familiar with the app. But this year, knowing restaurants have had sufficient time to train all staff, I decided to go for it and trust the training gods at restaurants!

A colleague and I decided to go to The Westin Abu Dhabi Golf Resort & Spa to have something casual and light in the Lobby Lounge. Having been their often, I was thrilled to see it was part of The Entertainer again. We both ordered toasted…

Latest Recipe Brunch - Le Meridien Hotel, Abu Dhabi

Whenever a new brunch launches, the first question that surfaces in my mind is what they are bringing to the brunch scene that is new or captivating. This is because, having tried quite a few brunches, I am always out to be surprised. 

Latest Recipe continues the new lease of life that has been given to the dining at Le Meridien (and I understand will continue).  Following on the heels of Acropolis, Abu Dhabi's only authentic Greek restaurant that opened about 5 months ago, Latest Recipe has replaced the old La Brasserie all day dining restaurant after a complete overhaul. So how did it do?

A few talking points

Out with the old - in with the new

I am sure there were many guests who had patronised the hotel over the last 20 years who were sad to see La Brasserie go, but if they drop in at the new restaurant, Latest Recipe, they should be pleased. It is modern and open with an abundance of natural light coming through floor to ceiling windows. Seating also allows more privacy with vario…

Capital Grill Steakhouse again- Dusit Thani, Abu Dhabi

It has been about 10 months  since my last visit to Capital Grill. The warm service and that glorious 72 hour slow braised brisket are just two of the elements from that night that are lodged in memory. As I walk pass the bar, it definitely feels like the weekend. Of three visits, this is the first where I feel the bar sets the tone for the restaurant as I walk in. The Black eyed peas "I got a  feeling" pops into my head. It might just be a good night. 

I am seated and having looked at the menus online in advance, i know what I want. I order a glass of Valdo Prosecco. Structured and energetic bubbles.After all, life makes more sense when there are bubbles around. In keeping with the trend in steakhouses, the menu is a single A3 size. The menu is not extensive, but offers great balance. 
For my starter, I order the Herb crusted beef carpaccio. I marvel at how the busy bar and the atmosphere spills over into the restaurant. This is no doubt what they had in mind when they design…

Fifth Street Café - Courtyard by Marriott, World Trade Centre, Abu Dhabi

Marriott's first property has just debuted in Abu Dhabi, and I had the pleasure of spending a bit of time with the executive chef and then trying some dishes in the hotel's café, Fifth Street Café. 

The first thing that strikes me as I walk into the café is the relaxed feel, brought home emphatically by jeans and open neck shirt clad-staff. Contemporary music only adds to this sense. If it is true that Food and beverage is the soul of a hotel, then this is certainly the case here, and even more so if you consider that the Courtyard is a business hotel. The latter is immediately illustrated when I see the ease with which I connect to wi-fi. 

While I am content to have sparkling water on the night, I am encouraged by the fact that they offer 12 by-the-glass wine options. I am with a group of friends, so we have a few dishes to share. In addition to a very succinct menu, there are also some specials on the wall. We start off with Heirloom tomato salad with burrata, balsamic, olive …

Vasco's - The Hilton Corniche, Abu Dhabi.

Vasco da Gama is the European explorer who connected Europe to the Orient when he sailed that way, or simply, the East and the West. It is his name that is lent to the international restaurant at The Hilton - Vasco's. A restaurant that labels itself international has a challenge. Firstly, the menu needs to reflect that, and secondly, the dishes need to be cooked well. There should be no real weaknesses. How would Vasco's fair as an international restaurant on the night?

Vasco's is quite an old restaurant in the Abu Dhabi context (around 14 years old). The dated interior shows that, but we are sitting outside tonight, so that will not be an issue. The outside is really breathtaking. A wooden deck, palm trees, fountains and gorgeous lights really set the scene for a lovely night out. Finally, with tables relatively closely together, you feel very cosy, notwithstanding the outside seating.  The romantic possibilities at Vasco's are obvious.

The menu is varied. On the menu…

Meat Co - Souk at Qaryat al Beri, Abu Dhabi.

Meat Co. The name says it all. Meat Company. It is clear what their speciality is, but on my recent visit I realised it is much more than meat you get when you visit. 

African music greets you as you walk in. You feel you are in a different steakhouse. Casual and relaxed.The restaurant spans two levels, but you would not say it is so big. In addition, there is also terrace seating that takes in sumptuous views of the canal. On this occasion, it is much too cold for me, so I sit inside in a little pocket of space that seats about 30 diners. 

However, a study of the menu shows a fine selection of beef that can hold its own against any of its competitors in the city. The finest cuts of beef in a super relaxed environment? Already sounds so appealing. The starters on the menu offer something unique and the restaurant's South African roots are evident from one very intriguing starter, the Boerewors, which is a type of sausage served with a staple known as pap, with its origins in South A…

Choice Cut Steakhouse revisited - Novotel Al Bustan, Abu Dhabi

The first time I tried Choice Cut about 6 months ago, I liked it. I felt at the time that it was filling a void in the steakhouse market by providing good quality beef matched by some decent wine at an affordable price. The full review to that evening can be found here:

So, going back was going to be interesting in so many ways.

Talking points from my second visit

Atmosphere and ambience
I went on a Monday night, admittedly never the best night to try restaurants in the city. However, while there were only 5 or 6 tables occupied, there was a very good vibe. The music made all the difference. Music from contemporary pop to urban beats kept the evening relaxed and enjoyable. The sound of chatter and laughter in the very spacious or cavernous setting depending on your perspective, enhanced this. Finally, while my last visit was during the holy month of Ramadan and the windows were covered, that was not the case this time. Floor to ceiling windows provided some night tim…