Posted on Monday, 13th July 2015
MEZZALUNA, EMIRATES PALACE
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.
Beef carpaccio with girolles, parmesan and a lemon mustard sauce (AED125 – £21.70) was a pleasant dish. The beef was tender and fairly tasty and it worked with the girolles and the parmesan. The acidity of the sauce also served the beef well. This was another good starter but could not compete with the veal tenderloin in terms of flavour.
The signature dish was linguine from Gragnano with prawns, lobster, scallops, calamari, langoustines, clams, mussels and tomato sauce (AED140 – £24.30). The variety of seafood on the plate was thoroughly enjoyable and each element had been nicely cooked. There was fresh parsley running through it and this gave the pasta a great aroma. The pasta was reasonably al dente, but a little bit more bite to it would not have hurt either. The tomato sauce was tasty but I would have preferred a more reduced sauce with a punchier tomato flavour.
Beef tagliata from Certified U.S. Black Angus sirloin, served with rocket and parmesan shavings (AED195 – £33.80) was disappointing. I had requested medium rare and here the beef was overcooked, ranging from medium to well done depending on which end of the meat you ate. It was also a little chewy. The rocket salad was nicely dressed and there were also some delicious chips. These were nicely seasoned with a wonderfully fluffy centre.
A Mediterranean seafood grill with sea bass, prawns, octopus, scallops, lobster, calamari, grilled vegetables and potatoes (AED285 – £49.35) proved to be a much better dish that the tagliata. The octopus was a little bland and rubbery, but otherwise all the other pieces of seafood were nicely cooked, succulent and well-seasoned.
Chocolate fondant with pistachio sauce and vanilla ice cream (AED65 – £11.30) was tasty. But the fondant was under baked and as a result the centre was too runny. Nevertheless the fondant had a good chocolate flavour and the pistachio sauce went well with it. However I found the flavour of the ice cream a little odd.
Tiramisu (AED65 – £11.30) was decadently creamy. There was a good balance of flavours between the biscuit and the cream. In observance of local religious beliefs, there was no alcohol in the tiramisu.
Although the tagliata fell flat, the food was otherwise rustic, homely and tasty, and the portion sizes generous. The ambience was elegant yet relaxed and would suit a romantic occasion well. The service was friendly and accommodating, but not as polished and slick as I might have expected from a hotel at this level. Overall, Mezzaluna was a positive experience. The veal tenderloin with tuna sauce is not to be missed.
Things to do in Abu Dhabi:
I mentioned earlier in my blog post about Emirates Palace being a tourist destination. Other tourist spots in Abu Dhabi include the Observation Deck at 300, Ferrari World and, if you’re eco-friendly, Masdar City, a city designed to be the most eco-friend and sustainable city in the world. Otherwise, hanging out and chilling by the pool at the hotel is cool too! And there is of course the shopping…
1) The veal tenderloin starter.
1) The tagliata.
Food rating: 3.75/5
Service rating: 3.5/5
There are a huge range of options on the menu. You could eat as simply as pizza or have a full three-course menu. Taking the lower and upper ends, three courses is about AED230 to 420 (about £40 to £73).
Pizzas cost AED95 to AED110 (about £17 to £19).
Excludes drinks and service.