Posts for the 'UAE' Category


Jumeirah at Etihad Towers, Abu Dhabi

JUMEIRAH AT ETIHAD TOWERS, ABU DHABI

Jumeirah at Etihad Towers - London Food Blog

Jumeirah at Etihad Towers

On my recent visit to Abu Dhabi I stayed at the iconic 5-star Jumeirah at Etihad Towers, a 280m tall luxury hotel located on the West Corniche in the exclusive Ras Al Akhdar area of Abu Dhabi overlooking the Arabian Gulf. The hotel is close to the central business district and adjacent to the famous Emirates Palace Hotel. Jumeirah at Etihad Towers is one of a group of five towers that includes a prestigious office tower and three towers housing apartments, premium boutiques and contemporary restaurants. The Etihad Towers are an integral part of the Abu Dhabi skyline and most famously featured in the blockbuster movie Fast & Furious 7.

The construction of the Etihad Towers was overseen by Australian architects DBI and began in 2006. The Towers are particularly dramatic for their staggering modernity and are beautiful on the eye. Inside, the hotel is no less beautiful, oozing with a cosmopolitan ‘city’ chic that is sublimely sophisticated. The lobby is wide, tall and deep, shining with natural light during the day, and dazzling from the glow of the handmade chandeliers at night. Much care has gone into the selection of the finishing touches which were awe-inspiring and which features a unique use of rare marbles, semi-precious stones and crystals.

Jumeirah at Etihad Towers - London Food Blog - The lobby

Jumeirah at Etihad Towers – The lobby

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Tomo Japanese Restaurant at Raffles Dubai

Tomo Japanese Restaurant is a stylishly elegant restaurant located on the 17th floor of the sumptuous Raffles Hotel Dubai. It has an outdoor terrace that offers wonderful views of downtown Dubai which is perfect for pre-dinner drinks. Tomo only opened earlier in 2013 and in that time it has managed to sweep Time Out Dubai’s Best Newcomer of The Year Award.

But while Tomo may be less than a year old, Executive Chef Chitoshi Takahashi has long been recognised as one of the best Japanese chefs in the Middle East having worked in the region for about 30 years. He has an established following, and was recently flown to Qatar to cook for the Prime Minister of Japan when he was there on a state visit. Recognition indeed.

We started with a summer roll salad with tuna and avocado (AED70 – about £11.70) which was fresh and tasty. The combination of the avocado and the tuna was a great match and the tuna was excellent. To complete the plate was a mixture of miso sauce and a balsamic vinegar dressing, both of which were nicely done. However less sauce was needed on the plate.

Tomo - tuna & avocado roll

Tuna & avocado roll

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360 Bar & Lounge Dubai

360 Bar & Lounge in Dubai has carved a niche for itself by offering some of the best club music in Dubai. It was voted Top 100 clubs in the world for three years running by DJ Magazine, and earlier in 2013, 360 also scooped the Time Out Dubai Nightlife Award for ‘Best Club’.

Cocktails at 360 Lounge & Bar

Cocktails at 360 Lounge & Bar

But for me, what makes 360 Bar & Lounge special are its views. It’s split over two floors – an indoor ground level and an alfresco upper deck where there are lounge seats dotted around its circumference. Its circular perspective means that you get spectacular views from wherever you sit, which were particularly impressive during our sunset visit. The music is every changing, but for our chill out it rotated between a DJ set and a live jazz band. It was all very cool, and the magic of sunset over Jumeirah Beach and Burj Al Arab made for an incredible experience.

Sunset at 360 Lounge & Bar Dubai

Sunset at 360 Lounge & Bar

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Sofitel Dubai Jumeirah Beach Hotel

After Doha I headed to Dubai, and this time I stayed for two nights at the Sofitel Dubai Jumeirah Beach Hotel. During my last visit to Dubai I was at the JA Ocean View Hotel, and it was then that I discovered the charms of the Jumeirah Beach Residence (JBR) ‘Walk’ with its cosmopolitan mix of restaurants and shops. The Sofitel Dubai Jumeirah Beach Hotel is similarly located on The ‘Walk’, and its location in Dubai Marina means that it is within easy reach of the Dubai’s new business hubs: Dubai Media City, Dubai Internet City and Jebel Ali Free Zone.

Sofitel Dubai Jumeriah Beach Hotel

Sofitel Dubai Jumeriah Beach Hotel

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Zheng He’s – Mina A’Salam, Dubai

Zheng He’s is a modern Chinese restaurant located in the Mina A’ Salam Hotel on Jumeirah Beach. The restaurant is gorgeous with its décor of dark woods and glowing red lanterns, and combines authentic traditional Oriental touches with a Western modernity. The restaurant opens out onto a terrace with outside tables that offers unsurpassed views of the Arabian Gulf and Burj al-Arab.

Dim sum trolley

Dim sum trolley

A team of Chinese chefs oversees a menu that offers a wide variety of starters and mains, as well as a choice of live seafood cooked to order. There is also a dim sum section, and of interest were the two items in the dim sum ‘gold collection’ which were prepared and steamed in front of your eyes. These included the wagyu beef, truffle, foie gras and abalone siew mai (3 pieces, AED88 – about £15) and lobster, scallop and prawn har kaw finished with beluga caviar and gilded with golf leaf (3 pieces, AED88 – £15). Both were delicious and succulently juicy. There was great theatre in having the dim sum made in front of your eyes (the standard options are prepared in the kitchen). Moreover, having the dim sum cooked à la minute gave it a freshness and moistness that is usually lacking from a usual dim sum service.

Wagyu beef siew mai

Wagyu beef siew mai

Lobster, scallop & prawn har kaw

Lobster, scallop & prawn har kaw

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Ronda Locatelli by Giorgio Locatelli, Atlantis The Palm, Dubai

The Atlantis Resort on the famous man-made Palm Jumeirah island in Dubai evokes all of the sense of fantasy and adventure that has ever been written about the mystical island. The resort is truly extraordinary to look, and I must confess to being one of the ogling tourists who kept snapping away at it as I approached the hotel on the monorail. But security is tight and it’s difficult to wander around the resort. Therefore other than the exterior structure and the restaurant area there is little for non-hotel guests to see.

There are a number of dining options in Atlantis The Palm, one of which is Ronda Locatelli, the Dubai outpost of the famous London-based Michelin-starred Italian chef, Giorgio Locatelli. Unlike Locanda Locatelli, Ronda Locatelli steers away from the high-end fine-dining side of things to focus on something more casual. The centrepiece of the restaurant is a large round wood-fired brick pizza oven. It’s an arresting focal point for the restaurant that ensures a relaxed and uncontrived atmosphere, perfect for the many families which no doubt stay at the hotel. The Italian menu is traditional and rustic, with a strong emphasis on pizzas and pastas. But there’s also a good selection of starters, salads and mains with monthly promotional offers thrown in.

Ronda Locatelli

Ronda Locatelli

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Rhodes Twenty10 by Gary Rhodes, Dubai

Update on 12 November 2013: Chef Lee Adams has now left Rhodes Twenty10 to work with Gary Rhodes on his Grosvenor House venture.

With the closing of Rhodes 24 on 27 September 2013, the last of Gary Rhodes’s restaurants in London, the Michelin starred chef has officially said goodbye to London. It’s weird to think that after decades of him cooking in London that he no longer has a restaurant in the capital. But the chef continues to maintain a presence in the UK with his restaurant Rhodes at The Dome in Plymouth.

Rhodes’s sights are now set on the UAE with several outlets including the recently opened Rhodes 44 at the St Regis Hotel Abu Dhabi, Rhodes Twenty10 at Le Royal Meridien Beach Resort & Spa Hotel and Rhodes in Residence at the Grosvenor House Hotel, both of which are in Dubai. And his recently closed Rhodes Mezzanine, also at the Grosvenor House Hotel Dubai, is due to reopen again in December 2013 after a full refurbishment.

Rhodes Twenty10 scores a ten out of ten for glamour and chic. It’s intimate and seductively dark, but also soft from the hints of lilac that run throughout the décor. Gosh the restaurant was gorgeous, and it’s a perfect fit for the equally glamorous looking Le Royal Meridien Hotel.

A steak and grillroom, Rhodes Twenty10 offers an extensive range of prime-cuts of meat and seafood. There’s also a smaller range of mains that include some tried and true British classics such as steak and kidney pie and fish and chips. But the more inventive part of the menu revolves around the starters, which were designed as sharing plates for the table (typically with four portions per order).

All the sharing plates we tried proved to be excellent, but our favourite was the mouthwatering sesame seared tuna (AED55 – about £9.30) served with honey mustard green beans, red onions and radish. Beautifully seared, the tuna was delicious, and the acidity running through the dish was light and well judged.

Seared tuna

Seared tuna

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Fire & Ice, Raffles Hotel, Dubai

Most of the best restaurants in Dubai are located in the hotels, and Fire & Ice is no exception. A sophisticated grill situated in the Raffles Hotel, Dubai, its dark, earthy colours and brickwork décor gives the restaurant the look and feel of a big hitting New York steakhouse. Flickering flames guard the open kitchen and this adds to the sense of the restaurant’s drama. Raffles Hotel predominantly caters to a corporate clientele so the design of the restaurant suits its customers well. Fire & Ice specialises in a variety of quality cuts of meat prepared to your liking, although there is also a reasonable range of seafood choices.

Being part of the family that includes the famous Raffles Singapore, it would be remiss to not begin the meal with a Singapore Sling, or in this case, a Dubai Sling (AED70 – about £12), a delicious mix of Plymouth gin, coriander, chilli gomme, fig preserve, lemon soda and angostura bitters. Fire & Ice also has an extensive list of 700 wines, and was awarded the Wine Spectator’s 2013 Award of Excellence.

Our meal started with an amuse bouche of cured salmon perched on top of some pickles and bell peppers that had been fragranced with saffron and coriander seeds. It was delicious from the superb spicing, and the salmon was sweet and delicate.

Cured salmon

Cured salmon

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