Showing posts from 2016

Friday Brunch at Giardino - Palazzo Versace Hotel, Dubai

"I wish people would look beyond the name of the hotel and realise how uber relaxed the brunch is", I say to my guest as we are seated on the terrace of Giardino for Friday Brunch, while I look at a guest in a  pair of smart knee length shorts, sipping on a glass of champagne. It is an image that immediately demystifies the hotel that has taken Dubai by storm as the place to be seen. I am of course talking about Palazzo Versace Hotel in Dubai. On my recent stay at the hotel, I tried the said brunch, and after brunch, a  few talking points emerged.

No need to renew your wardrobe before coming

Make no mistake, the hotel is impressive, and as I walked through it, I saw so many die hard slaves to fashion, that I really had to remind myself that I still fitted in. But the brunch at Giardino really is the great leveller. With three lagoon pools and gloriously landscaped gardens around the hotel, you can expect guests to feel super relaxed. Also, with terrace seats alluring guests to…

Another chapter in the story that is Enigma - Palazzo Versace Hotel, Dubai

A mystery. Something unknown. Not easy to understand. An enigma. Demystifying. Demythologising. No longer an enigma. Or is it? Is the allure of the enigma not the fact that it remains shrouded in mystery? As I walk down a quiet corridor of Palazzo Versace Hotel in Dubai, pausing for  a moment to look at a Charlize Theron ball gown sketch by Donatella Versace, take a right turn on my way to Enigma, the fine dining restaurant at the hotel, I ponder that very question. Do I want tonight's chapter of Enigma stripped to be all revealing? Do I want to walk out still filled with a sense of the unknown? My thoughts are cast aside, though, as I am greeted by the hostess who leads my guest and me to our table. 

As I sit down, I appreciate the fine aspects of the restaurant. There is seating for around 50 people inside plus a terrace; ample space between tables ensures privacy, but it is not cavernous. There is still an intimacy about the restaurant. Turkish copper vases and jugs are the obvi…

Celebrating Provencal cuisine with Michelin starred Chef Xavier Mathieu - Le Beaujolais, Mercure Centre Hotel, Abu Dhabi

My love affair with Le Beaujolais, the authentic French bistro at the Mercure Centre Hotel in Abu Dhabi continues. Having recently experienced their Foie Gras Festival,  Foie Gras Festival  during which the restaurant really confirmed itself as a place of real authenticity, I had no hesitation in trying their Provencal Week. Not only was I excited about an approach to French cuisine that fits so well into Le Beaujolais's  fabric. It was also an opportunity to have dishes made by Michelin-starred Xavier Mathieu. It is not often that a chef featured in the 2016 Michelin Guide visits Abu Dhabi. 

I have the pleasure of sitting with Chef before he gets stuck in in the kitchen. For someone who just landed from Paris, he is alert and easily engaged as I chat to him. I have many questions of course, but mindful of his time and that he is needed in the kitchen, I ask only a few questions. I ask him what the dishes he is putting out represent to him and he talks glowingly about their connect…

Setting new standards in steakhouse dining - Butcher & Still, Four Seasons Hotel, Abu Dhabi

Having tried all the steakhouses in the city, I have pretty much come to understand the formula that some follow, while one or two others have broken away from that formula to come up with a fairly unique concept. So, when a new steakhouse comes to town, I am first in line to see what they have to offer and how they are offering it. Four Seasons Hotel has certainly breathed class into the hospitality industry, something done by only one other hotel in my time here in Abu Dhabi. Hence, when I was invited to try their steakhouse, Butcher & Still, I had lofty expectations. This 1920s Chicago-style steakhouse claims to bring something unique to Abu Dhabi. 

Lighting. This is the first thing that makes an impression on me as I walk in. It really creates  a steakhouse ambience. Perfectly dimmed. However, my musings on this are quickly interrupted as my eyes are arrested by the activity at the bar. But then I am distracted by the gorgeous terrace. However,  the bar pulls me right back. Bar…