Chef's Table Dinner at Sacci - The Westin Abu Dhabi Golf Resort & Spa.

When Sacci launched around 6 months ago, we sat in a semi private dining area. At the time, the Sacci team talked about  their vision for using the room for intimate dinners in the future. While I saw the possibility of wine dinners , they had their eye on a Chef's Table. So, when they hosted their first Chef’s Table, I could not help but be nostalgic to that first night. Tonight represented a culmination of a vision and its implementation. 

On arrival, I am shown to the bar area for an aperitif.  The lounging area is nice and small and seems the ideal meeting point before moving to the dining area.
Chef Stefano
After we are seated, restaurant manager Stavroula and Chef de Cuisine Stefano welcome us. The banter is light and immediately sets guests at ease.  The dining area is perfect. It is fairly open, so it does not feel stuffy and too private.  10-12 people maximum is an ideal number, and that is the case this evening. We also meet the Matteo, assistant manager, who will introduce the wines this evening. I have a look at the specially created menu. The evening’s theme is Asparagus, so it features in every  - a 6 course dinner awaits: Amuse bouche, Antipasto, Risotto, Carne, Formaggi and Dolce.



Chef introduces the first dish for the evening, a Scallop Rossini with green asparagus, black truffles and goose pancetta. It is a dish of opposites. The natural sweet tenderness of the scallop is contradicted by the salty, slightly chewiness of the pancetta! It is paired with a citrusy Prosecco Villa Sandi. An engaging start to the evening.




For the antipasto, we have White asparagus cream with crunchy free range poached egg, blood orange butter and Sevruga caviar. I love it. It is incredibly subtle, and while I hear murmuring around the table of people wanting more salt, I celebrate it. Anyway, the saltiness that I need is found in the caviar. Balance is not only within a dish, but with the dish that precedes it too. I find this the perfect counterfoil to the pancetta-wrapped scallop that I just had. Visually, the orange of the yolk bursts forth as I slice the egg -  a lovely surprise.  A beautiful antipasto.



Soon after, we have a risotto. Carnaroli rice with lemon custard, burrata cream, botarga and wild asparagus powder. As  Matteo introduces the wine, the Rosato, Sierre Lori, Argiolasa young Rosé with a fruitiness about it, I realise the value he brings to Sacci. The authenticity at Sacci is brought home every time I listen to him. He knows so much about his home country! As for the risotto, it is creamy and rich, but it is the lemon infusion that will surprise the tongue. Unusual, but good unusual. The paired wine, a 2013 Cusumano Nero D'Avola Terre Siciliane, is a worthy match, with that typical deep fullness one wants with a prime, marbled cut of beef. 





When I looked at the menu early in the evening, the Carne course caught my attention, me being someone who loves  a serious piece of beef. A Striploin tagliata, with grilled asparagus., morels ragout and smoked Taggiasca olive oil is served. The presentation is classic. The asparagus walks that fine line between being well cooked while retaining its crunch. Nice. The striploin is a perfect choice. Firm but juicy and tender, it brings more intensity than a tenderloin.





The next dish is brought to the table, the Formaggi of Pecorino and white asparagus soufflé with asparagus dust and pecorino cialda - a simple dish in appearance that also looks hearty. While I wait for mine, the aroma from person's dish next to me is intense, and I cannot wait to try some. Soon I have mine and try it. It is nice and warm, rich from all that cheese, but  balanced just right by the cold fennel salad on the side. A dish full of comfort. We go back to the Villa Sandi Prosecco because the fruity taste goes well with the salty, cheese flavours in the dish. 




Finally, as we get ready for our Dolce, there is a  bit of a buzz at the table. I was curious to see how Chef would create a dessert with asparagus. While that question was answered when I saw the menu, I was eager to try his aspagarus gelato. Pear and ricotta tartlet, with green asparagus gelato, white asparagus and pine praline is served. The gelato is a delight. Chef has managed to balance the essence of asparagus with the sweetness that one wants in a gelato.  The rest of the dish brings a lot of texture with the slight chewy sponge, the soft pear slice and the crunchy pralines all adding complexity to the dessert. Amazing, and  a dessert I would gladly order from a menu.A fitting finale!

Sacci's first Chef's Table went off effortlessly and smoothly. It was hard to believe that it was the first one they hosted. The synergy and flow between Chef Stefano introducing the dishes and  Matteo talking about the choice of wine was a pleasure to behold. The relaxed nature of this interplay contributed so much to the success of this evening. The key tenet of Sacci's philosophy is homeliness, something that I have experienced at dinner, brunch and now at the Chef's Table

Sacci continues in a very quiet way to make guests feel it is a place they want to come back to again and again, and diners are taking note. A visit to tripadvisor.com shows it has been in the top 5  restaurants in Abu Dhabi the last 2 months, including a run at #1! Chef's Table is another step towards ensuring this unpretentious Italian restaurant remains one of the top spots for a hearty and wholesome experience in Abu Dhabi, from their fine dishes to their hospitality and service. 

The low down

Sacci

Chef's Table
The Westin Abu Dhabi Golf Resort & Spa,
02 616 9999
http://www.sacciabudhabi.com/

600 AED net
Brandon Stoltenkamp




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