Frankie’s @ Fairmont, Bab Al Bahr

Perhaps the name is a bit too casual?

If you’re looking to experience a succulent Italian dinner, gourmet style and in a posh ambience you must head to the beautiful hotel of Fairmont, located between the bridges. The opulent works at the grand entrance will surely engage you into exploring the premises, especially at day when the pristine waters of the pool and sea will behest you to stay.

Beyond the lobby, a descending staircase will lead you to several doorways – restaurants, cafes, nightclubs and hangouts, from which Frankie’s was one of them in the corridor to the right. The name, is a collaboration between the horse jockey – Frankie Dettori and Marco Pierre, the latter of which is well known and respected in the culinary world. The entrance is plush, and well-mannered attendees present you with their assiduous service. I do not know how they manage to boast of an open pizza kitchen while maintaining a well air conditioned restaurant. The pizza premise is an open invitation for all those who would swap their pastas for a mouth-full of pizza I suppose. Either way, it was fun to watch, with the chef meticulously rolling out his dough, glazing it with sauce and toppings, only to put it in the oven for few minutes and pronto! you have a steaming aroma of goodness among bubbling hot mozarella. Hungry yet?

Organ music promptly followed midway through our meal. Clearly, as we surveyed the customers, this was a quiet place for lovers, young and old romantic couples alike. Our order was Fried Calamari for appetizers, followed by Seafood Platter for the main course – the special for the day.

Fresh bread was served along with our starters with three of our favorite dips – olive, pesto and tomato. Calamari Fritti was served with tartar sauce and salad cream.

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Our main course was a generous spread of Grilled Calamari, Jumbo Shrimps, a cube of Grilled Salmon and some Scallops, along with steamed asparagus and some fried potato wedges. The taste was as excellent as the service.

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As I always say, never exit an Italian place without tasting the true essence of Italy – Tiramisu. I have heard much about its famed preparation: The Tiramisu Trio as it is known, and has three glassed servings of awesomeness – Amaretti, Classic (for chocolate lovers) and Amarena (rum lovers). The experience was ever fulfilling.

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It is recommended to reserve a table in day in advance, as the place can get crowded on weekends, and definitely you do not wish to miss this dessert. The Seafood platter is AED 225 excluding service tax and tourism fee (16%). Wine and spirits are also served at the restaurant.

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De Thali Restaurant & Peppermill

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For the love of Indian dishes:

Indian food is eaten from thalis or large plates, whereupon portions of the prepared dishes are served. A typical thali may include two or more gravies (one of which may be lentils), either rice or flat bread called roti (thin) or chapati (thick) or puri (fried); curds and optionally a sweet dish. Conventionally, the steward is required to serve the portions into the thalis as soon as it has been prepared, and that may be precisely why I did not have the fortune of taking the fresh shots as they arrived.

With limited photographs, I decided to combine two popular Indian restaurants, both of which graciously satisfy the curry appetite:

De Thali Restaurant:

Located at the food court of Madinat Zayed Shopping Centre, the menu is inspired from popular Indian must-haves – snacks and main course. We chose two favorites: Jhinga Nisha (Tandoor cooked Jumbo Prawns with a mint chutney); and Babhi Murgh (a kind of chicken gravy). Total cost inclusive of drinks came to AED 100 for 2 persons.

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Peppermill Restaurant:

The restaurant has two outlets in Abu Dhabi: one at Al Wahdah Mall extension and the other at the exotic Eastern Mangroves Promenade. This fine dining ambiance allows you to explore contemporary gourmet dishes within ornately decorated surroundings. It’s Raj style service is impressive and meticulously executed. They were able to cater to my mother’s request for special dietary requirements as well as recommended the most congenial dishes in line with the rest of our palettes. I managed to get a picture of some mouth watering starters, and I would recommend any of the ‘dum’ biryanis (slow cooked) for main courses. Featured are:

Calamari Gymkhana: – pictured at the top.

Karare Palak Chaat: (crispy batter fried spinach)

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The total cost for 5 persons, inclusive of drinks and condiments was AED 735.00. This place is recommended for its outdoor view, serene surroundings and commendable service.

Romano’s Macaroni Grill

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Italian delights at the WTC

For those who have not yet ventured into Abu Dhabi’s own World Trade Centre, you have aptly missed the next big thing of the Emirate. The building or rather structure has been beautifully constructed in contemporary style stretching over Hamdan and Khalifa Street. A magnificent foray of international stores with infinitesimal brands line the insides of this place. There’s a dedicated dining floor catering to various cuisines, and we have been intently waiting for the opening of Romano’s Macaroni Grill for some Italian delightful presentations.

So what’s different about the restaurant?
After you have been escorted to your table, you will observe it has been topped with blank chart paper. Your attendant will introduce him/herself by inscribing her name on it with crayons. Feel free to write / draw or even comment upon it.

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Next, somewhere in between the entire staff get together and break into a pleasant song!

It’s simply inadequate for us to get into a restaurant and avoid ordering Calamari Fritti (pictured above) from the menu. We thus indulged ourselves into a generous serving of the crispy snack served crackling hot with tomato salsa.
For main courses, we were recommended pasta Farfalle and Grilled Chicken with spaghetti.

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And of course the Tiramisu, which my sister marveled upon. It was prepared very conventionally,  which made it more hard to resist and we scraped the dish clean in no time.

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The Noodle House: Menu Change

I’ve blogged before about my experience at the popular Noodle House, and there seems to be an announcement for all fans starting from today!

I was at the Noodle House last weekend as my sister had the usual appetite for Salt & Pepper Calamari, and while there, the attendants informed us of the menu change. The new additions can be view on their website: The Noodle House and is available for take away and delivery as well.

What’s more is the welcome addition of cooked rice to some of the main course dishes, so make sure to try these at your nearest outlet.

Thai Curry Laksa with Chicken & Shrimps @ The Noodle House

Thai Curry Laksa with Chicken & Shrimps @ The Noodle House

Thai Cashew Chicken @ The Noodle House

Thai Cashew Chicken @ The Noodle House

Nasi Goreng with Chicken Satay @ The Noodle House

Nasi Goreng with Chicken Satay @ The Noodle House

Salt & Pepper Calamari @ The Noodle House

Salt & Pepper Calamari @ The Noodle House

Outlet branches in Abu Dhabi located at:

Al Wahdah Mall: Ground Floor besides Costa Cafe

Souk Qaryat Al Beri: First Floor (Indoor and Outdoor sea view seating).

18 degrees @ Hyatt Capital Gate Hotel

18 degrees @ Hyatt Capital Gate

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We have stayed at the hotel a few months ago, and enjoyed a beautiful experience at the well architectured Capital Gate Hyatt boasting of an inclination of 18º, therefore leaning more than the Tower of Pisa at Italy. The design is urban chic, and to coincide with its standing feature, the restaurant is located at the 18th floor, and is named 18 º. The view hereafter from any restaurant or room is splendid, placing the whole of the Abu Dhabi city in a showcase. Each visit has been a worthwhile experience.

We had a dining voucher, which included a complimentary 3 course meal for 2 persons, plus adding an Entertainer® Voucher which would render one free main course for one, left us eating the best gourmet dishes at the price of just one.

With regard to taste, I’ll be as brief as possible here, and let the food pictures do the talking.

Oven Fresh Bread

Oven Fresh Bread

Appetizers: Grilled Stuffed Calamari

Appetizers: Grilled Stuffed Calamari

Grilled Tiger Prawns with Sumac Tomato Salad & Olive Aioli

Grilled Tiger Prawns with Sumac Tomato Salad & Olive Aioli

Spaghetti with Shrimp & sundried tomatoes

Spaghetti with Shrimp & sundried tomatoes

Grilled Salmon Fillet with dill in white sauce

Grilled Salmon Fillet with dill in white sauce

Desserts: Chocolate Fondant with Ice cream

Desserts: Chocolate Fondant with Ice cream

Desserts: Painter's Pallette

Desserts: Painter’s Pallette

In my opinion, the Painter’s Palette of petit-fours was one of the best surprises this restaurant could offer. It had a little bit of everything: a slice of chocolate cake, Madeleines, berries, mousse, fruit and more. A total delight for the senses.

Overall the staff was very friendly, they checked to make sure we had a fabulous time and that everything in our spread was perfect; and very accommodating (they packed us an extra loaf of the oven baked bread when my Dad requested for it). The portions were gracious, and we had to pack the extras. The desserts however were too seductive to resist and we managed to gorge them all. The restaurant was well lit, perfect ambiance, great music, prompt service, and had customers enjoying themselves until late into midnight. This place is really worth it for the view, great food and impeccable service.

Dress Code: Smart Casuals

Price for 4 persons: AED 2500 – 3000. [With vouchers just AED 240.00]

Indoor & Outdoor seating available.

La Mer @ Sofitel Hotel

Seafood Platter for 2 @ La Mer

Seafood Platter for 2 @ La Mer

Sofitel Hotel is located by the Corniche, one of the newest properties to feature the coastline, and adjacent to the Sheikh Khalifa Energy Complex. Getting there can be slightly complicated, but the best route is by taking the road to Al Ain Palace Hotel (everyone in Abu Dhabi knows where this is!), and then following the ‘Brown Board’ directions.

We had 2 Groupon©s for La Mer Restaurant – the seafood fine dining restaurant which offered us a Seafood Platter for 2 persons. The voucher stated an inclusion of Grilled Lobster, Grilled Tiger Prawns, Grilled Fish Fillet & some cooked calamari. The original seafood platter however, has a few more items like grilled Crabs, and some mussels, priced at AED 450.00

We were greeted well at the entrance, and shown our way to the Mezzanine Floor where the restaurant was located precisely opposite the pool bar. An attendant promptly showed us our seats (I had specified my reservation to include the sea-view, which was well arranged).

Now, to the food: we wasted no time in presenting our vouchers and getting the dishes onto our plates. The service was good, we had a dedicated attendant, who brought us assorted bread baskets with 2 kinds of butter – the regular, and butter with sea-weed. What followed was an Amuse bouche: steamed shrimp with salsa. Finally the Seafood platter served with mashed potatoes and saffron aioli, as above.

What I liked most: The fine dining service was perfect – right from the refresher towels at the beginning of the meal, to the hot towels at the end, the Amuse bouche, the bread, the taste, all was perfect.

What disappointed me: To a certain extent, we were downplayed on the seafood platter, so to say the seafood platter was not exactly enough for two seafood lovers, unless you decide to share a piece each of lobster, prawn, fish, etc. The original pricing according to me and Time Out Magazine is overpriced. The ambiance was quite and dim, owing to no other customers even though it was the weekend. The sea-view was unfortunately the dark, yet to be constructed site of the corniche (not the fault of the hotel / restaurant though) and so there was nothing to attract us for another visit in the future. However, the attendant said that they would soon introduce brunches and business lunches for the restaurant (currently it operates during dinner hours only), which might brighten up the place hopefully.

As of now, its not something I would recommend for a fab seafood experience.

Dress: Smart Casuals

Tip: Maybe you would enjoy some good ambiance in the adjoining pool bar.

Jimmy’s Killer Prawns

Yippee…weekend again!

Been a long and stressed filled week…was supposed to be at a night club last night, but couldn’t find the energy to move after returning home from and putting down my bags…so I just tossed myself to sleep.

Didn’t have much household chores for today & besides, did not have any part-time either, and…oh yea! forgot to mention…yesterday my folks purchased The Entertainer Abu Dhabi edition, where each of us as family members had to contribute equally. I think for all of you foodies out there in Abu Dhabi, The Entertainer is a brilliant saver for AED 395. It gives you and your accompanied companion a chance to afford food ranging from high class gourmet spreads, to the simple hamburgers for the price of one. And this year’s edition comes with an awesomely fantastic offer for one night’s complimentary stay at Ten selected 5 star hotels / resorts, with the purchase of one night’s booking! The book is available at all leading bookstores. I recommend you get your copy from Borders, as you will earn a AED 60 voucher on further purchases.

Anyways, making best use of the offers and vouchers we selected a place to dine out tonight and shortlisted another seafood delight…Jimmy’s Killer Prawns @ Mushrif Mall.

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Often we have past this place, and have been very tempted to get inside, but I’ll be frank…I couldn’t afford those platters for me and my sis. Today’s voucher made a huge difference to our wallets as we shared the price of one platter 😀

I underestimated the crowd at the mall! It was like the entire city was right there. After thorough searching we managed to squeeze our car into one of the slots in the basement parking. My mind suddenly dreaded the thought of not finding seats at the place, but my sis assured me we’d find a table for two easily. She was right.

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The ambience was perfect. Plush and clean interiors & the aroma of cooked shrimps filled the zone as soon as you entered. The staff were very professional in seating, waiting and recommending the best – promptly. So no limitations where service was concerned.

As usual we couldn’t possibly miss the Calamari for our appetisers. We had a choice of grilled or fried. Other similar first courses included garlic bread, seafood salads, soups, etc. I must mention the freshness of the calamari as both the fish as well as the batter melted in your mouth promptly.

My sis chose the Prawn & Calamari platter for her main course, which included grilled calamari and grilled prawns with some rice that tasted like paella.

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Mine was a similar platter with grilled fish & prawns, served with rice, french fries and fried veggies.

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As you can notice, the portions were large making it absolutely worth its price. Each of these platters ranged between AED 70 – 150 depending on ingredients. We were also served with sauces – spicy tobasco, butter & mustard. A waste bowl was also placed on the table for ridding your prawn shells, etc.

The entire set up was fantastic. Non-seafood eaters who wish to treat your seafood-eater-counterpart could also enjoy traditional steakhouse dishes like rib-eye steaks and grilled chicken. We were too full to manage any desserts, but yes they were available.

Overall experience was good, though I must advise to take your own mouth freshners (unless its not date night or it doesn’t make any difference to you), as well as your own wet tissues in case you have used your hands to shell your prawns. Bon Appetite.