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.

Orient Treasures Restaurant

“What do you prefer to eat?”

Two years ago, when she asked me the question, I hesitated to answer. I knew that if I had said fish…or soup…or chicken, she would make that phone call, and voila! I would have a dish in front of me. Back then, I had just relocated to the office where my senior management were all present. Getting lunch was a challenge I thought, as I was used to the restaurants around the old office. My senior colleague, was a co-owner of a newly opened Filipino restaurant, that was the nearest from where I was. Being calorie conscious, I held an ignorant doubt that like most Asian platters, pinoy food too would contain either too much oil or too much spice. She pressed the question again, adamant that I should try.

“Do you have anything light?”, I finally asked back,

“What do you mean by light?”, she asked, resounding the vagueness of my question;

“Light…non-greasy, and non-spicy..?”

“All of our foods are light in that context, spice is an option ofcourse.”

Finally I said “chicken”, and waited till the dish came. It was a silog dish – Chiksilog. Silogs are dishes served with garlic rice, fried egg and pickled papaya strips called achara. Not only was this dish light, it was delicious. The chicken was cooked perfectly, the rice was portioned just right, and together with a fried sunny side up the meal was simply beautiful. With a dish so simple, and so conveniently available I was confident that the other dishes were as awesome as this. Of course, I had Filipina colleagues who gave me suggestions from time to time, and guided me across the food names. A guide through the silog list would be:

Chiksilog – Chicken, fried rice, fried egg

Longsilog – Sausages, fried rice, fried egg

Daingsilog – Fried fish (milkfish), fried rice, fried egg

Tapsilog – Cured beef, fried rice, fried egg

Tocilog – Honey barbeque sauced chicken, fried rice, fried egg (my personal favorite)

Cornsilog – Corned beef, fried rice, fried egg

Clockwise from Top Left: Tocilog, Chiksilog, Daingsilog, Tapsilog

Clockwise from Top Left: Tocilog, Chiksilog, Daingsilog, Tapsilog

Chicken Mamee with Fried Tofu

Chicken Mamee with fried Tofu

Chopsuey

Chopsuey

Orient Treasures by now has gained a reputed name all over Najda Street for their home-style cooked dishes, delivery service and new innovative additions to their menu. The restaurant manager – Ms. Relly is an over all talented lady both in and out of the kitchen. Whether its food presentation, delivery and even menu design and photography, she’s the best to rely on. The kitchen also has a team of efficient cooks behind the counter. It is preferred to enjoy the casual ambiance of the restaurant, but free delivery service is also provided for the sake of customer convenience. The restaurant is located at the heart of Najda Street, near to National Hospital. One of its best features is the budget meal service, which is available on a monthly contract basis, and has affordable hot meals served at your office desk. This restaurant is guaranteed to satisfy any nationality or varied foodie types with their choice of food. Just name your favorite, and like me you will get it hot on a platter.

Assorted Condiments

Assorted Condiments – Self Service

The restaurant has come up with Daily Buffet starting from today, and priced at AED 30. Combo meals are also available for AED 12. I recommend that one should check what this restaurant has to offer and meet the talented staff. I was also fortunate today to have tasted their ‘Taho’ – a light dessert made from soya milk custard, sugar, and tapioca. Its a specialty and a must-eat!

Fresh steaming Taho

Fresh steaming Taho

I’m looking forward for Orient Treasures to become the next big name in Abu Dhabi when it comes to daily meals / budget meals as they have been the only enterprise so far to have managed this so successfully and beautifully. Watch out for their progress on Orient Treasures Facebook page.

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Sucre @ St. Regis Sadiyat Island Resort

Mogador Cake

Mogador Cake @ Sucre

And the trip around Sadiyat Island continues….

Actually there’s not much to the island owing to just 2 super luxurious resorts, while there are several plot pockets still under construction with upcoming 5 star accommodations from Rotana, Shangri-La, etc. All the same, the 2 resorts have built a niche around them with their own space of villas, cafes, ballroom halls etc.

St. Regis Resort – which opens into a complex structure of apartments, residences, a golf course, beach and the hotel is the first of its kind in UAE, with its second branch in the heart of Abu Dhabi City. The Hotel and this structure is on a slope, and if you miss one direction you could land on the other side of the complex, so make sure to notice all the boards from the entrance. We made an entrance on a friday afternoon, and what was most welcoming in comparison to other 5 star super luxury hotels is the splash of loud music. It seems a ‘Jazz Brunch’ was in progress, who’s restaurant is located perfectly below the entrance lobby. Contrary to other dull, lonely, often whisper-silent lobbies, this was a refresher. The music was extraordinary, and I managed to have a great look at the jazz guitarist cum singer, and her equally good organist. The ambiance was relaxed, contemporary and bright. Ofcourse this lobby too boasted of the crystal interiors and chandeliers, but the visit will leave enthralled. A Yemeni host stood at the centre welcoming guests, and pouring a cup of kaava tea, to which my Dad very enthusiastically helped himself to. I never knew him to drink kaava actually, but he seemed to enjoy sipping it and gazing into the beach view at the distance.

Lobby @ St. Regis Resort, Sadiyat Island - Kaava Man

Lobby @ St. Regis Resort, Sadiyat Island – Kaava Man

Jazz Brunch @ St Regis Sadiyat Resort

Jazz Brunch Below

We had gone to Sucre – A pastry and coffee shop to the left of the entrance. The patissiere clarified that her showcase area is Sucre, whereas the lounge lobby in front of it, which had sofa seats opening out into the golf course view is The Drawing Room (we were confused as we could not see any indication of Sucre on the restaurant lists of the hotel). The place is smaller than most coffee lounges, but charming all the same. I managed to take a few pictures of the gourmet pastries, handmade chocolates and cakes (they prepare custom cakes as well).

Gourmet Pastries

Gourmet Pastries @ Sucre

Handmade Hazelnut Chocolates @ Sucre

Handmade Hazelnut Chocolates @ Sucre

Cake @ Sucre

Cake @ Sucre

 

Price for 2 pastries, 4 cafe lattes and a couple of freshly baked croissants is AED 187.87.

(Above price includes 10% service charge plus 6% tourism fee). The place is worthwhile for its ambiance, view spots and friendly service.

View from The Drawing Room @ St Regis Hotel

View from The Drawing Room @ St Regis Hotel

Paul @ Al Wahdah Mall

Tartelette du Chocolat

Tartelette du Chocolat

As usual after a good dinner and feeling very down about being at the end of a weekend, I looked for Opera Cake, but could not find one so easily. I dropped over at Paul – The restaurant at the entrance of Al Wahdah Mall, first seen on the left. Thinking it would be a classic french restaurant (I’ve been to the original store at Madeleine Street, Paris), I was a little disappointed to find there wasn’t any there. However, the other cakes did manage to seduce me and my sister, and I promptly ordered for a chocolate layered cake, while my sister ordered for a Mille-Feuille pastry (my french is bad and I had trouble trying to tell the waiter what I wanted from the pastry showcase).

Mille-Feuille

Mille-Feuille

The Mille-Feuille was sweet, suited my sister’s tastes buds I believe, and the wafers were crispy and perfect. Make sure to cut out good squares at first, or it may turn out too messy once the cream filling oozes out. I, on the other hand prefer dark chocolate, and my pastry had the right number of its layers topped by perfectly velvet dark ganache. Absolutely delightful with a cup of your favorite coffee.

Paul has a lot to offer, as we browsed through the menu for appetizers, soups and main course, however this is typical bustling french cafe is located right at the entrance and hence the ambiance is forever busy with entrants and departing shoppers. In my opinion, a little too noisy for the quiet sipping solo reader. Nevertheless, the service is good, staff is friendly, and taste deserves full marks.

Cantina Restaurant – Vision Links Hotel Apartments

Alright this may sound a bit cliche cos its actually one of my company sponsored restaurants but I decided to visit all the same. Anyhow my brother and his wife were visiting & I never treated them to anything, especially his wife, whom I knew for several years now but never had the time to sit and enjoy some coffee. Plus, I was informed that I would be enjoying a nice flat 50% staff discount, so why not eh?

Prior to the visit, I must admit that the staff was aware of my arrival. My Operations manager went out of her way to make my reservation and to make sure that I would be attended to well, owing to her knowing that I was a keen food blogger. I’m not saying she arranged for any special services, but I did get a lot of attention.

The restaurant is located on the mezzanine floor of the Hotel, & were very accommodating despite us reaching late and placing such huge orders. My sister-in-law and myself went for the seafood option of Baked Hamoor and Ratatouille, while my brother settled for the attractive looking Chicken Escalope.

There are a few things I must mention about the restaurant –

There has been absolutely no publicity for the same – neither a website nor a Facebook page making it difficult for advertising.

Appetizers were dry stale bread served along with olive oil, dried Parmesan flakes, and soy sauce.

The restaurant shares its name with another popular Mexican restaurant in Khalidiyah Mall.

The ambiance was  quite, perhaps because we were the only customers in the restaurant. The main courses, to be frank took long for service – but once plated, they were flawless. The Hammour was succulent and fresh. The Chicken Escalope was crispy and served with French Fries and Tartar Sauce. The meal was indeed hearty. As a complimentary gesture, we were served fresh Garden Salad with Thousand Island dressing. On the whole the experience was satisfying but could definitely have been better. For starters they really need to work on their marketing, followed by some fresh bread baskets / hors d’ouvres. Full marks for cleanliness, hygiene, lighting, menu options and restrooms. My compliments to the chef for the food presentation!

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Baked Hamoor Fillet with Ratatouille

Baked Hamoor Fillet with Ratatouille

Price for 3 persons including cocktails and mineral water AED 250.00. Make sure to avail the valet parking facilities.

Sleep at 18 degrees: Hyatt Capital Gate Hotel, Abu Dhabi

We had a voucher from Groupon ® for a stay at an iconic hotel, once featured on National Geographic for its unique style and architecture: The Hyatt Capital Gate Hotel, at Abu Dhabi. The design and layout is so extraordinary, you feel the marvel of its construction and interiors right from the entrance.

Hyatt Capital Gate; Picture Source: Google

Hyatt Capital Gate; Picture Source: Google

We were greeted by the valet, who attended to us and our luggage immediately upon arrival, and then by a hostess, who told us that the Hotel starts from the 18th Floor upwards, which is where the Check-in Reception / Lobby was also located. The ground floor until the 17th were commercial spaces rented by various prestigious companies. Must be awesome having to go to work to that kind of address.

Its at the 18th Floor, that you feel the tilt, and true to its number, its inclined at perfectly 18° as well; also a restaurant with the same name is located right there.

The check-in is swift, and thoroughly well organised. The normal requirements for IDs were produced, and forms filled, and we were given our room cards (2 standard rooms, one for me and my sis, the other for my parents) on the 31st Floor. When the Receptionist mentioned the floor number, I wasn’t expecting the tower to be that tall, so I had a brief freeze moment at his desk, which was so embarassing now that I think of it.

Here again we were shown in by the hostess, and the room indeed was such a delight. Closet luggage room, mini refrigerator, espresso machine, and ofcourse the Flat screen were some of the amenities provided. Also there was a small desk table with dock stations for charging all of your possible gadgets, complimentary fruit, hair dryer, extra pillows, shoe accessories, iron with board and reading lamps.

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The bathroom was magnificently bright, royal and super clean. There was vanity area, immaculately clean bath tub, toilet area plus a rain shower for those who preferred so. Beautifully laid out were the hand towels, lotions and body gels / soaps for utmost comfort.

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And now, the star of the show: The view from your window:

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The breath-taking view from this height is simply worth coming here for. I could stare at this panoramic sight for hours. Do not especially miss the sunset, the sunrise, and the traffic post dark that resemble tiny neons on the unending road.

Breakfast was complimentary with the stay, and we were to enjoy the scrumptious buffet at 18° Restaurant between 6:30 – 10:30 am. The spread had every thing from a dedicated egg station: omelettes, eggs preps, waffles and pancakes, juices, veggies, fresh assorted breads, cheese, cereals, fresh fruit, fresh milk (hot, cold, skimmed, full fat and low fat), cold meats, sausages, foul madame, sauce beans, and arabic style breakfast of hommous and salads. This comes along with the view ofcourse.

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Plus points:

  • The view is extra ordinary, period.
  • Its one of those iconic hotels, you cannot miss especially if you’re a tourist or otherwise.
  • There are hardly any flaws
  • Excellent service from staff, very friendly, patient and accommodating with all your requests.
  • Quick service.
  • Gracious food helpings, fresh food.

What to do there:

  • The hotel is equipped with several restaurants as well as a club for your comfort and social activities.
  • A well defined 5 star spa for relaxing as well as express treatments are available.
  • Profiterole: A state of the art coffee shop is located at the entrance of the building, and caters to mini office lunches, sandwiches, pastries and light dinners.
  • A salon for ladies and gentlemen.
  • A swimming pool, and gymnasium are also available.

Location convenience:

Located very near to Aloft Hotel and Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre (ADNEC). The hotel is quite far from the next available super market or convenience store, so you better recheck all your requirements before checking in. However, it does make a very convenient location for those who have projects at ADNEC, for tourists wanting to experience the iconic structure, romantic getaways and honeymooners.

Please Note: I wouldn’t say that the place is completely child accident proof. Especially the bathrooms have a lot of stone designs, so you may want to supervise your kids at all times. Elevators need to be changed at the 18th Floor, therefore your children must be accompanied to avoid having them lost on the premises. Internet is chargeable at AED 35 for 1.4 mbps & at AED 55 for 4 mbps speed for 24 hours usage.

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The Noodle House

Nasi Goreng with Chicken Satay @ The Noodle House

Just completed a wonderful 3 day weekend on the occasion of Prophet Mohammed’s (p.b.u.h) birthday which was fortunately set upon Thursday. With the ongoing Dubai Shopping Festival in town, the malls and shopping centers were thronged with locals and tourists, especially the Electronics Showrooms.

I managed to keep some savings aside for a good meal as I enjoy fine dining with my sister. We shortlisted The Noodle House as we were in the mood for something oriental.

Even though we have been here before, it was our first time at the outdoor verandah, as the weather was wonderfully permitting. The ambience was serene, and the staff was swift with service. They provided us with a comfortable seating, precisely above the beach front.

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There are 2 branches in Abu Dhabi for this restaurant; while one is located at Al Wahdah Mall, on the ground floor of the shopping complex. The one we visited was located at Qaryat al Beri, away from the hub of the city at the creek precisely opposite the Great Zayed mosque. Alongside, you will also find Shangri La Hotel, Traders Hotel, and some distance further, The Fairmont.

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Opposite stands the Ritz Carlton – you could catch the glory of all its light works after sunset, with its magnificient reflection in the creek waters.

Anyways, back to the food. We ordered Salt and Pepper Calamari for starters (Oriental recipe or not, I leave you to be the judge of that) but we travel far and wide to savor this dish served with a spicy tangy & nutty sauce.

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Our main course orders were simple – Nasi Goreng: served with a mouth watering fried egg place above the rice, along with chicken satay and some prawn crackers.

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For the side was some Chinese styled Cashew Chicken, which was cooked to tender perfection and just enough spicy sauce. Specially recommended for all those Chinese / “Manchurian” food lovers.

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I particularly enjoyed the Curry Laksa – which is a noodle based coconut gravy soup served with steamed chicken and shrimps. The fresh herbs give it additional texture…it was marvelously awesome.

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There are a lot more exciting options provided on the menu, and if you are a first-timer, do not hesitate to ask your attendant, who would be happy to guide you based on your tastes. The total bill for 2 persons inclusive of beverages and service charges came to between AED 200-350.