Blue Grill Wine Dinner with Jacob's Creek - Yas Island Rotana, Abu Dhabi

With wine dinners so ubiquitous in the city, there are hardly any exciting concepts left. The standard wine dinner is now a 3 or 4 course menu paired with wine. That is pretty much it. I recently accepted an invitation to a Jacobs Creek Wine dinner hosted by Blue Grill at Yas Island Rotana. Having never tried their wine dinners, I thought I would give it a try. 

Blue Grill looking to regain its early glory days

You just need to visit the Rotana Times website and see what is happening at Blue Grill, the hotel's signature steakhouse. Blue Grill finds itself trying to make up for a lull in the last few years and it is launching very exciting promotions. The steakhouse market is incredibly competitive. Their wine dinner concept is unique and offers immense value for money at the same time. It is simple enough - order  a  steaks for you and your guest and enjoy a complimentary bottle of wine. But it is not wines that are not moving or are passed their sell by date. The evening some new wines that the restaurant wants to introduce or from a supplier who has the wine maker's agent in town. On this occasion, it is premium Australian wines by Jacob's Creek and one of the agents for the wine, Alex, goes around to each table and chats to guests about the wines. I like this personal touch as opposed to having someone stand in the middle of the room and try to talk to guests who are not all listening. Personal attention. 

So, on two levels, I like the concept here at the Blue Grill Wine dinner. 

Very strong line up of starters

I have eaten here 3 times in the last 9 months and each time it is hard to make a decision with the starters. When you look at their options, it will be hard not to empathise with me. On the night though, I revisit my favourite foie gras dish in the city,  Pan seared duck foie gras, and while I notice they have reduced the size of the foie gras, I am not disappointed. In fairness, at 68AED, I believe it to be the cheapest foie gras dish at a steakhouse. Three words: Granola. Parsnip puree. This is a must starter for you. But, the Black Angus beef tartare is just as highly recommended. Finally, with Cumbreau oysters at 80AED for 6, I am really challenged to find oysters cheaper than that at a steakhouse!

Wide range of main options

My main is the Australian Master Kobe, at 280AED this has to be the best priced 200g cut I have seen in the city. If you enjoy marbled beef, this is for you, with a high score marbling of 9. I do recommend this for someone who likes  a buttery taste to beef; someone with a higher appreciation of beef than simply a tenderloin. Go on, be bold next time!  The 200g is a good place to start because highly marbled beef can be a bit overwhelming if you are not used to it. But, overall, there are 18 beef options to get your complimentary bottle of wine and no minimum spend on a cut required! As is customary at Blue grill, I am offered a  selection of mustard and also salt. These little extras are what differentiates one steakhouse from another. 

My wine,  Jacob's Creek Reserve Shiraz 2015, is medium bodied but with so many qualities of a beautiful wine that goes well with beef. It has a deep red purple colour with notes of berries and coffee. It is quite smooth and has a long finish. It changes my impression of Jacob's Creek wines - I tend to indulge in more South African and Spanish wines. Also, Jacob's Creek entry level wines are just ok, but the Reserve wines are on a different level. 

I am often excited when I come across a waiter with that sparkle in his eyes. You know what I mean - someone young and fresh who already possesses  a natural knack for engaging with guests. At the same time, he endeavours to say a bit about a prosecco I want to have by the glass. He is still raw with abundant energy and enthusiasm. Kelvin is such a young man. What a pleasure to be waited on by him. 

Blue Grill's Signature petit fours at the end of dinner

I quite like the way wine dinners are done at Blue Grill. I understand this is how they do all their wine dinners here. And guests seem to like it. The restaurant was quite busy and what I noticed is how guests seemed so relaxed, very unlike a normal wine dinner where people are kitted out in their best. Ultimately this is one of Blue Grill's major strengths - along with one other high end steakhouse in the city, it is probably the most casual and relaxed; just regular people like you and me out to get a nice evening of beef paired with wine. Also, a choice of wine to go with your steak is nce touch, a bit empowering. 

The Essentials

Blue Grill,

Yas Rotana,
Abu Dhabi
+971 2 6564000


Brandon Stoltenkamp


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