Showing posts from June, 2016

Ramadan tastefully celebrated with special cupcakes - Bloomsburys, various UAE locations.

One of the joys of Ramadan is sitting together as a family and sharing a meal. Iftars are  a celebration of family and food. In that tradition, Bloomsburys has launched some wonderful Ramadan themed cupcakes to make iftars even more enjoyable. Of course, for those not part of the journey of Ramadan, they can enjoy these with a cup of tea!

With shopping malls open till late, going to one of the malls to have these cupcakes is ideal. However, we chose to have ours at home. 

The cupcakes recall local symbols by having the cupcakes designed to reflect these. The moon and star, a mosque, gold, Arabic coffee and pearls all make the cupcake more than just a cake. The symbolism adds something special to the ocassion. 

My daughter was quite excited to try them and had an exciting time chossing which one she could have, while her friends were also thrileld at this novel idea. Everyone loves cupcakes, so what betetr time than to have them during Ramadan. Make a child happy!

The lowdown

Al …

A taste of Arabia with a twist - Original-Fusion, Abu Dhabi

The most exciting development on the F&B front in Abu Dhabi over the last year is undoubtedly The Hub, a concept that brings  a collection of licenced restaurants to mall goers at World Trade Centre Mall. It is  a wonderful concept that offers an eclectic option  of cuisines to discerning diners. I was as much excited as I was anxious as I took the lift to the 6th floor to try the 4th of these restaurants, Original-Fusion. The thing is I tried and found some exceptional restaurants in The Hub: how would Original-Fusion stack up? Would it have as defined an identity as the others? 

I start my evening in the lounge with  a berry-based Prosecco cocktail. The lounge has that urban coolness about it, and I can only imagine what this would be like after Ramadan when the DJ is spinning tunes. It has all the makings of  a chilling out venue. Significantly, the drinks are incredibly well priced. Nowhere else in the city, for instance, can you enjoy a bottle of one of the finest NV champagne…

New menu at The Yacht Club - InterContinental Hotel, Abu Dhabi

I was excited about my recent visit to The Yacht Club at InterContinental Abu Dhabi on two fronts - firstly, it was an opportunity to try the new menu with its Nikkei concept of tapas reflecting Japanese and Peruvian flavours. Secondly, it also marked the first menu changes by new Sous Chef Sung Hyun Yoon, a Korean native - I was curious to see whether there would any Korean touches to the new menu. 

With a shift towards tapas, my guest and I ordered a  few starters to get the night underway. Sharing concepts make a lot more sense to me because you get to try many dishes without adding excessively to the bill. 

A number of dishes are therefore laid out in front of us. We start with one of the sushi rolls, the Kamikaze. The name suggests something brutally spicy, but it isn't. It is actually quite a balanced roll, with coconut sauce contrasting with the chilli garlic crab. The highlight, though, is the crispy potato which surprises with its texture.

Following this,  we have the Beef t…

A very traditional Iftar at Horizon - Khalidiya Palace Rayhaan by Rotana - Abu Dhabi

It's the same old thing every year - food writers, bloggers and other members of the media make attending iftars a labour of love, lamenting the sameness of the concept and dishes. It is for this reason that I have consciously passed on many invitations. It is not easy to get excited about tabbouleh or hummus when you have had it every other night for a week. Having said that, there are some exceptional interpretations of some dishes, and for this we pay tribute to those chefs, but let's face it, from a  writing point of view, it is a challenge. It is the time of year when clich├ęs are hard to avoid and is opened frequently.

Last year, I was excited by two iftars, one of them being the one at Khalidiya Palace Rayhaan by Rotana. Naturally, I was excited about the prospect of returning to see how it has consolidated its success of 2015 and also how it has made it better.

Chef's to the forefront

Executive sous chef and Head Arabic Chef,  Abu Halab Al Daikh, has asse…

A gem of an independent restaurant - Avasa Indian Kitchen, Saadiyat Island, Abu Dhabi

Did you know that there are more Indian restaurants than any others in Abu Dhabi? That is quite a statistic according to The choice is unbelievable, from restaurants that are easy to miss like your chaat shops where you can have a quick bite for 5  AED to your marginally larger little restaurant where you can have  a meal for 10 AED; from your Indian restaurant in shopping malls to the high-end restaurants in 5* hotels. But those are not all. There is a smaller group of independent restaurants where you are able to get the level of service at high-end hotels but without having to go to a hotel. That is where Avasa Indian Kitchen fits in. 

The evening is hot, but thanks to a very effective outside a/c unit, it is very pleasant. Terrace seating is obviously a must, but I notice the charm of a smaller space inside the restaurant - next time, I muse to myself. We start off with an amuse bouche of Green pea stuffed potato. Mint and sweet yogurt add some extra flavour. I really …

If you are bored with the usual iftars - Market Kitchen, Le Royal Meridien Hotel, Abu Dhabi

Market Kitchen iftar last year ended up being my second favourite iftar in Abu Dhabi. This was for two reasons. Firstly, it was a table iftar, breaking the formula at most iftars. Secondly, the iftar followed Market Kitchen's concept of a set menu based on a sharing dinner. In going this year, I needed to know to what extent they would continue to innovate. 

1. Recalling 2015
Expect four courses again, as is common at a Market Kitchen affair. But if you are not familiar with the concept here, each course has 3-4 dishes - the food is substantial, so do not think that one of the key facets of an iftar, abundance, is lost. On the contrary, there is a lot of food and with each dish made to order, you have freshness and a touch of individuality.  For those concerned that their old favourites may not be here this year, oh you might get lucky as there are a few dishes which have kept their place in this year's menu.

2. Dishes

I am glad to see some of my old favourites. The 'Market Ki…