Posts for the 'Tunisia' Category

Mezzaluna, Emirates Palace, Abu Dhabi


Emirates Palace Abu Dhabi is a landmark hotel located on the West Corniche of Abu Dhabi, overlooking the Arabian Gulf and occupying a stretch of private beach about 1.3km long. The hotel was built in the style of an Arabian Palace and its aim is to provide guests with the ultimate luxury experience, comparable to the kind that royalty receive. In fact, the hotel is particularly popular with reigning royalty. The top floor of the hotel is made up entirely of ‘Rulers Suites’, suites specifically reserved for use by Heads of States. But other dignitaries and celebrities also flock to the Emirates Palace and it counts notable figures such as Bill Clinton and Robert de Niro as its past guests.

Like Jumeirah at Etihad Towers, Emirates Palace also featured in the blockbuster movie Fast & Furious 7, and in 2010, the Emirates Palace made headlines with a £7m Christmas tree draped in diamonds. Little wonder then that it makes for a great tourist attraction, with TripAdvisor ranking Emirates Palace as one of the top tourist spots in Abu Dhabi. Even if you’re not staying at the Emirates Palace it is well worth a visit just to take in the grandeur and opulence of its interior bejeweled with silver, gold, marble and Swarovski crystal chandeliers.

We had dinner at Mezzaluna, an Italian restaurant which is one of nine restaurants at the Emirates Palace. The menu serves a range of classic Italian dishes with antipastas, pastas and risottos, and also extends to pizzas as well. The décor of the restaurant is formal and every bit as opulent as the rest of the hotel.

We began our meal with veal tenderloin slow cooked with a creamy tuna sauce (AED120 – £20.80). This was delicious as the veal was wonderfully tender and flavoursome and had a creamy, almost milk-like flavour to it. The tuna sauce was also delicious. Creamy and tasty, yet not overpowering, it paired perfectly with the veal. The dish was a little cold, but otherwise it was an outstanding plate of food.

Mezzaluna Emirates Palace - London Food Blog - Veal tenderloin

Mezzaluna Emirates Palace – Veal tenderloin

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Dar Belhadj – Tunis, Tunisia

It was hard to know what to expect of Tunis following the Arab Spring, but I found it to be a city oozing old-world charm. There was a dash of the European (the French influence) thrown in with the Arabic, and the locals were altogether friendly and welcoming. A good measure of nice hot weather also played a part in rounding of a lovely long weekend away.

So what are some of the places that you can visit in Tunis? A short, hop and a skip away on the local TGM train (about 30 minutes) takes you to Carthage. A posh neighbourhood with white-washed fanciful buildings and a view of the beautiful coastline, it plays home to dignitaries and Roman ruins which date back some 3,000 years. Interestingly, the deposed ex-president Ben Ali also had his home here, and it is possible to see the remains of his mansion which has now been ransacked by the people.

Then there is the more traditional stuff, like the ancient medina. It’s narrow and windy, and easy to get lost in. But with its clever design that allows it to stay cool during hot weather, it can offer much needed cool relief. Then there’s also the matter of the colourful wares and Tunisian goods on offer should you be in the mood to shop. And if not, it still offers the visitor a great taste of Tunisan culture as the medina has pride of place as the heart of Tunis.

Tunisian sweets found in the medina - filled with dates

Tunisian sweets found in the medina - filled with dates

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