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.
A celebration of New Orleans: Nola Week - St Regis Hotel, Abu Dhabi
There are not many hotels with an F&B product that is exciting right now as St Regis Abu Dhabi on the corniche. It has been a phenomenal year for them with innovation after innovation. They have taken brunch into the clouds with a unique offering that turned out to be my brunch of 2016. They have introduced a helipad supper for 20 guests, once a month. Also, they have turned their Terrace on the Corniche brunch into something very special. The list goes on.
This week they are hosting their second New Orleans Week, or Nola for short, in the St Regis Bar, again showing why it is THE hotel to visit for inspired restaurant and bar options. On Wednesday I had the opportunity to go along and experience music from and inspired by the New Orleans created by the Ptah Brown Duo.
The food is all New Orleans and I have the Jambalaya chicken chorizo and seafood, part of a succinct bar menu that brings the taste of New Orleans to guests. How often does one get the chance to try food like this in Abu Dhabi? To wash it down, I have a glass of cava, although the bar also offers a specially created selection of New Orleans cocktails.
Ptah Brown is all heart. There is a simplicity about her as she connects with guests. She belts out some standard jazz tunes and much to the joy of the guests in attendance, does a few Nina Simone tunes, including my favourite, Feeling Good. But she takes us through so many notable songs from Duke Ellington, Ella Fitzgerlad and Miles Davis - my personal favourite on the night is her interpretation of Miles Davis' Green Dolphin Street - wonderful stuff. Meanwhile, Bobby on keyboards has a few solo moments himself that I quite enjoy. He has a bit of a Michael Bubble thing going on - love his voice.
Nola Week is something you should experience because it is so unique in the context of where we live. I often lament that we are starved of culture here and while we wait for the opening of some art projects like The Louvre, events like Nola Week go a long way to filling the void. The venue has so much potential, but don't forget it is a bar and not a theatre, so you will still have normal chatter and the odd impolite guest talking at the top of his voice, but overall it works well. I would like to see more of Pta Brown at this venue- in fact I would love to see her as a resident performer somewhere in the city because she has a lot of stories to tell, and indeed sing about. Now, in a perfect world, I would not have to wait until the next Nola Week to hear her perform. Hint hint!
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, …
Abu Dhabi's dining scene is one of extremes. It is either very casual or very high end. There is a big void in the middle. On another note, the last year has seen a proliferation of sushi outlets or restaurants changing their concepts to include sushi. The food has become extremely popular. Welcome now to Sushisan, another sushi addition to the dining scene. What Holiday Inn off airport road tries to do is to bring this popular dish to people but to house it in a fairly stylish, minimalist space and price it in the mid-range bracket.
The restaurant is relaxed and casual, but clearly more high end than some of the fancy sushi outlets in malls. Very cool lounge style beats, waitresses in jeans and Converse sneakers and bold use of red throughout the restaurant make it a very nice option for those who want to have a beer with their sushi but do not want to go to a 5-star hotel and drop too much money. Also, the restaurant is quite small, catering for around 50 people making it anoth…
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…