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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Russo’s New York Pizzeria

Pizza. Pasta. Tiramisu

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This would be my standard definition for typical Italian cuisine, and very rarely does a restaurant manage to surpass this combination amongst the existing Italian dining options in the city.

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A month ago I had been awestruck by the sheer size of a pizza being delivered from this restaurant, in a fairly gigantic box right across myself and a group of friends after having enjoyed a movie. The size did arouse my curiosity then, and after a great vacation this was the first restaurant I had to try. As seen before, Russo’s New York Pizzeria is all about sheer size! The gigantic masterpiece I was referring to is a 28″ pizza, with topping options catering to all kinds of preferences.

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The restaurant is part of the Gourmet Republic food plaza located in the extension of Al Wahdah Mall, and true to its promise, this place does not fail to seduce. The staff are very friendly and prompt in assisting with your seating and orders. The tables by the window offer you a view of the Al Wahdah Football lawns and stadium, a good entertainment seat if there were a match in progress for the sports connoisseurs.

Coming straight to the order, we selected Pesto Chicken Pizza (gluten free options also available), along with a fabulous Shrimp Tortellini Pasta. If it hadn’t been for just the two of us at the pizzeria that day, I would have loved to try several picks from their great menu options, but perhaps I’d have to save it for another definite visit.

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We were well attended to, and service was impressively prompt. Complimentary bread with pesto and tomato dips were also served. The food was profoundly delicious, and attendees made sure our order was satisfactory and enjoyable. I trust my pictures are ostensible enough for your judgement.

As always, the Italian trilogy is never complete without the Tiramisu, which was a delightful combination of mascarpone cheese and coffee dipped fingers. (Yet again) we were offered a generous portion, good enough to be shared by 4 persons. One doesn’t need to go too far in Abu Dhabi for worthwhile Italian cuisine, when it’s right at the heart of the city.

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While you enjoy the dining experience, do take a good look around the restaurant with it’s graceful lamp shades and pictures of New York and Italy that ornate the walls. My compliments to the efficient staff for making our experiences always momentous and looking forward to more visits soon.

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Branches also located at Dubai (Jumeirah Centre) and Sharjah (Sahara Centre Extension).

Cost of Pizza (Medium) – AED 55

Cost of Pasta – AED 55

Tiramisu – AED 28

Tiramisu (*A) Recipe

Tiramisu

Tiramisu

Awesome Eid holidays…perfectly home alone…5 days of the week!

I actually planned to cook a lot more than just this, but figured it would be a waste for simply one single person, not to mention the insane calories I would have to put up with. So for now I decided to keep it to a couple of dishes – the Tiramisu and maybe my version of Chicken curry for later.

Its hard to find an original version of Italian Tiramisu when there are millions of recipes out there, and in particular I fell in love with it at Olivella Restaurant. Anyways I figured out why not “wordpress” it? There are brilliant bloggers out there with a choice of recipes to choose from and I came across “projectmasterchef“. His recipes are awesome, precise and meticulous presentation techniques, I should think its worth a visit.

*A: This version contains alcohol.

I used half the contents as I wanted to try a little, and I did not have the wine, but the rest of it is followed from his recipe and it goes like this:

180 ml of double shot espresso (I made it using 180 ml water with 3 tsp of Bru coffee powder)

4 tbsp Dark Rum

Finger Biscuits – 10 fingers

130 g Mascarpone Cheese

3 eggs

8 tbsp Brown Sugar

Cocoa powder for dusting

In a separate bowl make coffee liqueur by mixing coffee espresso, rum and 2 tbsp of brown sugar. Soak the fingers in this for few minutes until all the liquid is absorbed.

Separate egg yolks from egg whites, and beat them individually. The egg whites to be beaten till they form firm peaks, after which add the remainder sugar and mascarpone cheese. Whisk again, and finally incorporate the beaten egg yolks. The final mixture should have a thick creamy consistency.

In a glass or serving dish, layer the soaked fingers with the creme pudding, and allow to set for 8 hours in the refrigerator. Dust with cocoa powder before serving.

Pizzeria Olivella @ Fotouh Al Khair

Tiramisu @ Pizzeria Olivella

Coffee Liqueur Soaked Fingers surrounded by Mascarpone heaven: The Tiramisu

 

Its been a while since I had Italian cuisine; ever since its opening, Pizzeria Olivella has never failed to seduce your taste buds with flavorsome hits from Italy. This place deserves publicity as everything on the menu is authentic, fresh, generous and economical.

This place is not your regular pizza and pasta destination, but also hosts a variety of Italian main courses, served in gourmet style in a very casual ambiance.

Me and my sister are regulars at this place whenever we have a craving for this cuisine and the place seems to be conveniently located at the Fotouh Al Khair Centre (Marks & Spencer) on the ground floor.

For starters we ordered the freshly baked Garlic Bread drizzled with mozzarella cheese and herbs. The bread is so crisp and warm, you can feel the melting garlic in every morsel.

Garlic Bread @ Pizzeria Olivella

Garlic Bread @ Pizzeria Olivella

For main course, I normally take my ever-favorite: The Seafood Linguine. I can guarantee you that this dish is worth every penny, and wont be found even in a fine dining restaurant. The sauce is not too overwhelming, neither too rich nor floating in grease; there are generous helpings of scallops, mussels, calamari & shrimp, all fresh and cooked to perfection. I was surprised my sister ordered the same as she usually takes to the chicken dishes. Make sure to request for Parmesan cheese to compliment your pasta.

Seafood Linguine @ Pizzeria Olivella

Seafood Linguine @ Pizzeria Olivella

The star of the restaurant, and a must-have for all dessert lovers is the Tiramisu. I’d say: feel guiltless and gulp every helping of this coffee soaked fingers and mascarpone cheese. And I say it again: No one can make Tiramisu this perfect! There were times when we have come to the restaurant solely for this celebrity.

Price for 2 including drinks and beverages: AED 160.00 (Appetizers, main course, desserts, mineral water and coffee).

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The Cafe @ Park Hyatt Hotel, Saadiyat Island

Chili Prawns Linguine

Early morning..fresh breeze…pleasant weather conditions..beautiful drive to Saadiyat Island. I have many memories of this place as a kid. The only route to this island would be via motorized dhow, and reservations for the onboard hotel would need to be done in advance. I don’t remember it being on a 5 star level, and we would stay in chalets along the beach, but the hotel was overall great and a major tourist attraction back in 80s and 90s until it was closed for tourists.

Today the place is accessible by road, and we reached as quickly as 15 minutes with my sister’s car. The place is transformed into a beach paradise with 2 super luxury 5 star hotels and numerous villas for residents on lease / ownership basis in several pockets over the island. There seems to be still scope for more as we noticed many sites under construction and boards displaying upcoming hotels.

We had Entertainer Vouchers for The Cafe @ Park Hyatt Hotel, which is at the last end of the island. Getting there is easy as long as you follow the tourist directions on the side of the road. The entrance of the hotel looked simple and quiet and we almost thought we were the only customers venturing into the hotel, but we came upon more guests later at the restaurant.

The Hotel is beautifully designed in white marble, wood and metal colors, with quiet exquisite fountains in every corner. The central glass window is the first attraction you will see as soon as you enter which boasts with the full display of the pools and the beach beyond.

Pools and Beach: Park Hyatt Hotel

Pools and Beach: Park Hyatt Hotel

The restaurants: The Park & The Cafe are located on the ground floor, opposite each other.

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We went into The Cafe (we had seen the menu before hand in The Entertainer Book, and I was in the mood for some Italian food), The Park opens only for dinner. We were greeted by Mr. Patrick, who was very courteous and hospitable, and accommodated us on the pool view seats. I ordered the Chili Prawns Linguine, while my sister ordered the Fish & Chips with tartar sauce. Both dishes were perfect, and served within no time. The waiters checked on us from time to time and went out of their way to make our dishes an absolute delight.

Chili Prawns Linguine

Chili Prawns Linguine

Fish & Chips @ The Cafe

Fish & Chips @ The Cafe

Nasi Goreng

Nasi Goreng

Mee Goreng

Mee Goreng

We also ordered dessert, which was a little too tempting to miss – Tiramisu.

Tiramisu @ The Cafe

Tiramisu @ The Cafe

At the end of the fab lunch, we took a tour around the restaurant, which was a charming place with its numerous fountains, pools and the grandeur of the beach. My sister did not feel she was at Abu Dhabi as the island had restored its place as a tourist spot. This place is surely worth a visit on the weekends.

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Price for two people with Dessert & Mineral Water – AED 350.00 to AED 500.00

All items are subject to 10% Service Tax and 6% Tourism Fee.