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.
An Angel Ladies' Night at Courture - Marriott Hotel Al Forsan, Abu Dhabi
As with brunches, Abu Dhabi is awash with Ladies' Nights. It is a concept I am not thrilled with because it reinforces certain gender stereotypes. Gender politics aside, they generally lack creativity - free drinks for ladies. It is hoped that the promise of a room filled with ladies will attract men who will then spend big. Some hotels have become a bit smarter by limiting the drinks that women get free. Still, I have avoided ladies' nights because conceptually there was nothing interesting for me. Until now, that is.
Courture, the high end Lounge at Marriott Hotel Al Forsan, recently launched its Ladies' Night. The venue is stunning, with style and elegance not in short supply. There is probably no more a dramatic entrance moment than this - a hostess dressed in a simple black one piece and tasteful heels greets guests at the door. Oh, and she has angel wings. Why? Every lady gets a glass of the exclusive Angel NV Champagne and also two glasses of Prosecco. I love the use of the angel motif and how it connects to the champagne. That is the creativity and thinking outside the box that is missing at these nights. How exclusive is the champagne? Marriott Hotel Al Forsan is the only venue that serves this, the new bubbly of celebrity Hollywood.
Feeling hungry, I try trio of starters made as a tasting platter. Myers Lemon Salmon and Foie gras mousse are two cold dishes that stand out. With cold dishes priced between 40AED and 65AED for full portions, this represents great value. The salmon, punctuated by contrasting flavours of fennel and blood orange is fresh, while the foie gras has a super silky texture and beautifully complemented by dry fig and dark berry compote.
Finally, and still hungry, I go for something more substantial. I have a tasting plate of Harissa Lamb Chops and the Wagyu striploin. These are priced at 55AED and 65AED respectively. it makes me reflect on the very fair pricing at Courture, notwithstanding its high end ambitions as avenue. Both dishes are worthy of a main dish in a restaurant and have a perfect place on the menu for those feeling more than peckish. The wagyu, for example, is served on a bed of rice.
It is still early days and there remains some tweaking to be done, something staff are well aware of. I pointed out that the lighting needs to be adjusted to create an ambiance fitting of the venue. Also, I think the name Ladies' night needs to go. There are just too many negative connotations attached to it. However, one thing does not need tweaking is the acoustics. The resident DJ's set was brilliantly helped by very good sound system.
As I finish off my evening with a last sip of Angel, I realise how spoilt we have become in Abu Dhabi where there is such a strong 2 for 1 culture and where women have a choice of free flowing ladies' nights with snacks. It is concepts such as this night at Courture where hotels are trying to re-educate guests and bring back respect for a glass of champagne again.There is something about a qualitative approach to a ladies night - less is always more.
Courture is a beautiful space and based on the guests I saw, is already attracting a certain type of crowd that should make women feel more comfortable than a few other venues, safe away from the typical predatory eyes of a certain profile of man who frequents ladies' nights. Courture and Angel champagne at The Marriott Hotel Al Forsan will ensure that Tuesday nights and more importantly, "ladies' nights' will not be the same again.