A journal, inspired by my love for my daughter, that embraces quality food, service and experiences which make life worth living. In the words of Tennyson's Ulysses, " I cannot rest from travel. I will drink life to the lees." Seeking that incredible dining or hotel experience and writing about it. Abu Dhabi and Dubai.
Reliable Italian fare at Spaccanapoli - Crowne Plaza, Abu Dhabi
It had been about 18 months since I last tried Spaccanapoli, and as I walked in I realised how little had changed. I have always liked the little bar that seats 4 people. Adjacent, the little library is even more inviting, with its comfy sofa chairs. I start off at the bar with a glass of Valdo Prosecco, an affordable, no-frills Prosecco that serves as a nice aperitif for the evening.
After about twenty minutes at the bar, I make my way to the dining area. It is a small and narrow space, making for a very cosy atmosphere. There is something very tasteful in the decor, with no jarring colours. It is all soft and inviting.
First up, I try the Tuna tartar. It is a simple dish, despite the presentation which sees ink squid drawn across the plate. Tuna, potato and capers are the main elements in this dish. It is a sensible dish, if not flashy in flavours.
On the other hand, the scallop dish hits a great note; the Seared scallops in truffle mash evoke positivity even before it is placed on the table. As it is brought I remark to my guest that it smells amazing. As for the scallops, they are nicely cooked, with enough moisture to keep me interested. Finally, thanks to crispy leek, there is a delightful texture in this dish and also added flavour with the leek imbued with an almost burned, robust flavour - very nice.
For my main course, I order the Veal escalope, normally served with wild mushroom sauce, but tonight I forego the latter. Instead, I request a lemon butter sauce. The portion, as is the case with my guest's main course, is huge. The veal is what you would like in a piece of meat like this - tender. Finally, potato gratin, homely in character, by the way, ensure that I get through only half my dish.
For dessert, it has to be Tiramisu of course - a faithful rendering of this dessert is what I end up having. Expect a rich layer of mascarpone and a generous sprinkling of cocoa powder.
Spaccanapoli proved to be honest and satisfying once again. However, with so many Italian restaurants around innovating and reworking concepts, I would like to see a bit more in terms of refining certain aspects of the restaurant, like the menu. More importantly, I would like to see the direction it takes as it redefines its identity. In the meantime, you can still enjoy some well-priced dishes, a wine menu that offers a balance between variety and price, and service that has come on significantly since my last visit.
The Essentials Spaccanapoli Crowne Plaza Hotel, Hamdan Street, Abu Dhabi Crowne Plaza Dining +971 2 6166166
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