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.
Breakfast with Dom Perignon 2002 - Hyatt Capital Gate, Abu Dhabi
Abu Dhabi may not be on the level of associated superlatives as its better-known sister emirate Dubai, but there are enough special elements to warrant a head turn. Hyatt Capital Gate Hotel, housed in the truly iconic building that leans 18 degrees to one side, is one. As I stand in my Executive Suite on the 25th floor, I am ensconced in that feeling of luxe and take in the panoramic view as the sun rises on Abu Dhabi.
The room, with its muted and earthy tones, is in many ways a metaphor for the 5 year old property; while its striking design stands out on the Abu Dhabi skyline, its understated style and elegance sets it apart in a city where outlandish, opulent designs and often over-the-top finishing is more the norm than the exception.
I walk over to the ice bucket with its bottle of bubbly. What creates that feeling of luxury more than a bottle of champagne which itself is an icon – Dom Perignon.This morning I greet the sunrise with a glass from the vintage year 2002, while the hotel’s Executive sous Chef Michele Muller and her team lay out our breakfast. Huge floor to ceiling windows allow me to take in the expanse of Abu Dhabi. It is quite spectacular.
Dom Perignon is one of the most alluring and sought after champagnes. It certainly has history behind it, dating back to 1868 when a Benedictine monk, Dom Pierre Perignon, unbeknown to himself, would create a legacy that is even stronger today. What makes it so special? Firstly, it is never produced in years regarded as poor harvest years and secondly; a vintage year is a genuine vintage year, with all grapes from that particular year used.
I sit down, glass in hand, as my daughter has a glass of orange juice and a pancake topped with berry compote.My eye falls on a plate of Fine de Claire Number 2 oysters, freshly shucked. Oysters for breakfast and with Dom – oh live a little. Why not? The oysters are perfectly shucked, and I forgo the accompanying vinaigrette and opt for a slice of lemon. Soon after, I cast my attention to the bowl of berries – raspberries, blueberries, strawberries and blackberries. A sip of the Dom reveals a crispness, leading me to continue this indulgent pairing.Another sip has me dwelling on the thought that something as functional and basic as breakfast can be elevated to an occasion fit for the gods. Of course, the setting needs to be worthy of the gods, and Hyatt Capital Gate certainly is.
However, I decide to round off my Hyatt Capital Gate suite experience with another glass of Dom Perignon 2002. While I cannot deny the feeling of luxury that warms me as I look out the windows, sipping on this glass of champagne, it is the latter that ultimately is what elevates my thoughts, spirit and general being. Again it is champagne, and in this case the magnificent Dom Perignon 2002 that with its mystical power, passed on through a few hundred years by an unassuming monk is now able to transform a simple morning in Abu Dhabi into something magical.
Champagne just after sunrise? I am sure Dom himself would have approved!
There are those things we aspire to in life and the luxury of first class travel will be on many mortals’ bucket list. It is an almost hallowed space on the plane, separated by that dreaded curtain, and in today’s changing flying climate, it is even more sought after as airlines cut down on first class routes.For those who love champagne, it might be a fabled label that has attained almost mythical status in your life as one to be enjoyed. Now bring together first class travel and champagne on one of the world’s finest airlines, and you have something pretty special. My recent flight on Qatar Airways’ ultra luxurious A380 in First Class to Bangkok showed that bucket lists are there to be realized. More than that, it allowed me to have some of the best champagnes available in the sky right now.
The cabin is indeed luxurious, but it is understated, calmingand soothing on the eyes. There is none of the bling that is often associated with airlines in the region. Amenities are functional, …
Brunch. We all know what a big part of expat culture it is in Abu Dhabi. Last year I had the opportunity to try a lot of brunches with the aim of honing in on the top brunches in the city. People ask how one judges a brunch because they are so diverse and it is impossible to compare a family brunch to one that is more geared towards adults. That is true to some extent, but not entirely because there are certain criteria which cross all concepts. Nowadays, value for money is a very important factor. This doe snot mean a brunch has to be cheap though! Excellent Service is one of those things that you want at a brunch regardless of the concept. Also, remember that a brunch without atmosphere is just a lunch - a big difference. Quality of ingredients and dishes and drinks are crucial too. Finally, the most important factor for me is the concept. With so many brunches morphing into one another, I looked for a brunch that will be memorable; a brunch where the concept tries to break the mo…
There is something about Q's Bar & Lounge as my guest and I walk in. There is a sophistication about the venue that also has, in the same breath, a decidedly relaxed feel. It is small and intimate, and therein lies the beauty of this place. People are gathered around the bar, while some are seated at small tables. Cool. Chic. Trendy. Chilled. These are my first impressions of Quincy Jones' bar at the luxurious Palazzo Versace Hotel in Dubai. We start off with a glass of the hotel's house champagne, the Ruinart 'R de Ruinart' Brut Champagne. It is, after all, one of those occasions that I feel I will not forget. The anticipation builds as we await the arrival on stage of multi-talented American performer Sheléa.
I remark to my guest that the bar is really a great equaliser. You have the overt opulenece that is the hotel, from the moment we walked in. But now we find ourselves in a space, while still having Versace touches like the signature cushions, just has ex…