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 various seating options abounding.
|Here you can choose ingredients and have a salad made for you.|
Fresh and new on a number of levels. There is a fresh produce area where you can choose vegetables, for example, and watch the chef prepare it for you - a genuine live cooking station, or an active live station as they call it there. Then there was a live foie gras station, which I understand alternates with a scallop station. There were also seafood, Indian, grill and Arabic stations. It is quite a compact brunch, something I like. I think hotels need to move towards sustainability and less waste. I nodded in approval when the executive chef explained that they no longer have a kids' station as such and prefer to engage children to make whatever they want to have. The motto is, 'If they can do it, they will'. Less waste and also a more personalised experience.
|My daughter trying the Dutch oysters|
The oysters were fabulous. There was a choice of Fine de Claire No. 3 and flat Zeeland Dutch oysters. The chef shucked with such effortless skill that I found no sediment in my oysters, and because he did not 'rinse' them, I got the full taste of both. Even my daughter tried the Zeeland oysters! The foie gras, pan seared, was served on a caramelised apple and pear slice. While they were too sweet for my liking, I remedied it by having my foie gras with only reduced balsamic the second time around. I had two servings of the pork cold cuts with simple English mustard on the side, a bit of comfort food for me. There was also Australia wagyu that was perfectly cooked - not easy to cook beef for a brunch because you have to try and satisfy so many different preferences. They did well. Oh, a nice touch on the steak knives - a novelty but needed item at brunches.
|Happy children in the outdoors|
Because there was no kids's station as such, did my daughter and her two friends mind? No. Why do restaurants pander to children by serving 'child friendly' items like hot dogs and chicken nuggets? I for one welcomed Latest Recipe's approach - kids have a personalised experience by being able to tell staff what they want to eat, while playing hard too. There were circus style performers, a jumping castle and even a painting area. More significantly, they were outside, and not in a room. Blue skies, trees and open air. The garden at Le Meridien is without peer.
|This ended a very satisfying brunch experience.|
Seldom do I dedicate an entire paragraph to a waiter, but I feel it necessary. Our waiter, Aleksa, was a guest's dream in many ways. He kept our drinks replenished, looked after the three children at our table and was constantly near our table without bothering us. He also ensured that cutlery was replaced soon after clearing away plates. Real, down to earth and happy to make conversation and also excellent at his primary task - being a waiter. Hard to to believe he was still in training.
What would I like to see? Definitely more outdoor seating. These glory days will soon be gone and we will have the sticky Summer days here, so more tables outside will work. Also, indoor music that reflects the desired character of Latest Recipe and not just a seemingly unrelated series of songs. But, overall, does Latest Recipe have something new to add to the Abu Dhabi scene? In short, yes! With the garden and outdoor live music it already has the potential to be a good brunch. Add the whole concept of Latest Recipe where dishes change regularly, ensuring that you don't have to wait for seasonal menu changes, and it is good. Keeping it fresh, that is what they are doing - well, as the name suggests, using the latest recipes. Children too are going to love it.
The Low down
Latest Recipe Brunch
Le Meridien Hotel (Near Abu Dhabi Mall)
02 644 6666