Showing posts from September, 2015

Supper Club at Koi - The Collection, Saadiyat Island, Abu Dhabi

Koi is an elegant and sophisticated venue with great attention to detail and staff to match. It boasts a superb a la carte menu  and indeed one of my favourite brunches. However, a Thursday night is an altogether different proposition. The end of the week creates a sense of expectation as the weekend starts. The usual perfectly sedate and cultured atmosphere that usually greets one at Koi needs to make way for something else tonight. Walking in to Koi on a  recent Thursday evening had me doing a  second take. At 21h30 the music was already bumping and soon after me being seated, a steady throng of guests who had made reservations for Koi's Supper Club, soon ensured the bar and lounge areas were packed. There were a few things to emerge from my evening.

Dubai comes to Abu Dhabi

I felt Dubai. Yes, Abu Dhabi has many virtues, but let's face it, when it comes to nightlife, Dubai is the trendsetter. I could not help feeling the intensity of Thursday night in Dubai. And this bodes wel…

Torres Wine Dinner at 55&5th, The Grill - St Regis on Saadiyat Island, Abu Dhabi

I have written almost lyrically in the past about three restaurants in Abu Dhabi - 55&5th, The Grill at St Regis on Saadiyat Island is one of them. I have commented often on the opulent but stylish restaurant that vies year in and year out for the accolade of Best steakhouse in the city. A recent visit visit was different on numerous levels and left me with much to ponder. The restaurant hosted its first wine dinner of the season, and on this occasion they welcomed Salim Isler  from Torres. Several talking points emerged for me from the dinner.

1. 55&5th  is more than a steakhouse

As I walked in to the restaurant, again it dawned on me what a non-obvious steakhouse it is. The fineness of it is inescapable. Embarrassingly I borrow from an earlier piece I did on the restaurant, but I think it succinctly captures  what I want to say: "As I walk into 55&5th, I feel I am stepping into another world. It is breathtaking! While it is opulent, there is nothing ostentatious or ga…

Coravin Wine Technology debuts in Abu Dhabi - Amici, Yas Viceroy Hotel, Abu Dhabi

The last few years have seen some watershed moments in F&B in Abu Dhabi - the opening of Zuma and Asia de Cuba, the opening too of Bentley, the first licensed mall restaurant, the food trucks coming to the capital and the continued success of Gourmet Abu Dhabi. You can just add another to that list - Yas Viceroy Hotel's use of the Coravin Wine System. The setting to experience this fabulous piece of technology could not be more appropriate than the hotel's Italian restaurant, Amici. 
What is this system?
Without getting into the science of it and bombarding you with technical jargon, this technology allows you to open a bottle of wine and enjoy it over time as if you had never ever opened it. A needle penetrates the cork, while argon gas is released into the bottle of wine, ensuring that no oxidation takes place. It is the oxidation which usually ruins the wine for storage. The pressure created by the gas allows the wine to be poured out through that tiny medical-like needle…

3 Dishes and a Chef at 55&5th, The Grill - St Regis on Saadiyat Island, Abu Dhabi

In anticipation of my first wine dinner at 55&5th, The Grill at St Regis on Saadiyat Island, Abu Dhabi  that is coming up soon, I reflected on my last dinner there and felt inspired to write about three dishes which reveal so much about Chef. 55&5th, one of my top 2 steakhouses in the city, is now, more than ever, an important restaurant in Abu Dhabi. With Catalan, my favourite restaurant in Abu Dhabi, having closed its doors, 55&5th is one of few fine dining options remaining. It is remarkable that it continues to thrive considering claims that 'occasion' restaurants in Abu Dhabi are doomed. Could it be that its success lies in the fact that it is not just an occasion restaurant? Or that they have a chef at the helm producing great dish after great dish? 

The restaurant is, by Abu Dhabi's standards, in the fine category, catering for 60 indoor guests. In the cooler months, the terrace adds another 35. I have written before about the magnificent interior at 55&a…

Hotel Review - Eastern Mangroves by Anantara

There are a number of gorgeous hotels in Abu Dhabi, but there are not that many in the high end bracket that reflect their location. So many of the hotels could just as well be anywhere in the world. However, the Eastern Mangroves by Anantara, like a handful of other hotels in the city, could only have been built for the Middle East thanks to noticeable Arabian touches in its design. 

There is something peaceful about the hotel the moment I step in. The earthy tones. The glorious orchid arrangements. The mangroves visible through the ceiling to floor windows. The immediate warmth conveyed by a noticeably Asian staff. It is hard to pin it down, but it is there.

A very stern looking staff member serving Arabic coffee and dates cannot detract from the the warm welcome afforded by the other staff. Janice greets us with date drink and some very welcome cold towels. She, in many ways, sets the tone for what is to follow during our stay. 

The Room
Our room, a 57 SQM balcony room has a cit…