“Hot can be cool, and cool can be hot, and each can be both. But hot or cool, man, jazz is jazz.” Louis Armstrong
Last week JazzArabia, the Middle East’s first jazz radio station went live and we were there to witness this exciting and memorable moment in Abu Dhabi’s entertainment history which took place at P&C by Sergi Arola, the standalone two-storey venue at the Shangri-La Hotel, Qaryat Al Beri.
So as if P&C wasn’t cool enough already with its flamboyant rhythm guitar playing, sometime DJ and acclaimed two-Michelin star executive Chef Sergi Arola, a funky gin bar and gourmet tapas it now offers guests the relaxing and uplifting tones of Jazz from the region’s first 24-hour international jazz music station. There’s no doubt that you need a certain special something to establish a reputation on the incredibly competitive Abu Dhabi gastronomy scene and that’s even more essential when rebranding an existing venue (P&C was previously Pearls and Caviar), so this restaurant has gone the extra mile installing its own state-of-the art custom built radio station studio.
JazzArabia is not just available to Jazz fans on air but the smooth chilled out classics also adds the perfect atmospheric background to the refined dining experience in the restaurant itself. The music enhances the overall ambiance of the tapas sharing concept and unconventional gin infusions. Presenters are streaming a live blend of mainstream music from artists far and wide including Latin and Arabic Jazz and rather than having separate programmes for each genre the different music styles are being combined. JazzArabia can be streamed live or via the soon to be released JazzArabia app, which will be available for download from the app store on all smart devices.
Jazz legends and all-time greats such as Ella Fitzgerald, Louis Armstrong, Miles Davis and Frank Sinatra will feature alongside more contemporary jazz stars such as Michael Bublé, Diana Krall and Natalie Cole. Crossover artists Amy Winehouse and Sade will air with Latin greats Gilberto Gil, Tito Puente, Astrud Gilberto and Chick Corea and Arabic jazz will be represented by artists such as Ahmed Abdul-Malik, Anouar Brahem and Rabih Abou-Khalil.
The project is the brainchild of the hotel’s general manager Thomas Guss and JazzRadio Managing Director Julian Allitt, who both identified that Abu Dhabi has the perfect audience profile for a jazz radio station and what better place to launch it than at the swanky P&C, the Shangri-La’s flagship culinary venue. Leslie Nachmann, a New York International Radio Awards gold medal winner will be chief presenter, a JazzRadio Berlin veteran who also appears on regional and national TV in Germany. Arola is based in Spain but he will be hands-on at P&C, visiting Abu Dhabi at least four times a year.
After the radio station went live on air we all sat down to celebrate its induction to the capital’s entertainment scene in this fabulous dining destination. We enjoyed a selection of flavoursome, colourful and well presented sharing tapas (Pica Pica) that included Arola’s signature spicy patatas bravas, mini Spanish omelettes topped with tiny quail egg yolks, three types of paella with a tasty vegetarian option and the most amazing dessert trio (I can’t even expalin how good the chocolate ganache was) all washed down with sangria, good wines and of course the gin-infused cocktails that the other half was quite partial too. I may have had a little play in the studio purely for social media purposes of course, don’t worry they didn’t actually let me loose on the airwaves.
This restaurant is full of firsts, the first Middle East venture for Chef Arola, the first dedicated gin bar and the first Jazz radio station. P&C is all about giving its guests an experience to remember and this sleek venue offers stunning views across the waterfront of Khor Maqta and the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque beyond, fanciful food and top quality beverages. The soft sound of uplifting jazz floats across the restaurant, perfectly setting the mood and complimenting Arola’s vision, it definitely requires a visit and of course, a listen online too.
P&C by Sergi Arola
Location: Shangri-La Hotel Qaryat Al Beri entrance or Villas entrance
Telephone: 02 509 8777
Operating Hours: Picas-Picas Brunch ~ Friday 1pm – 4pm, Dinner (Sat – Thurs) 7pm – 11.30pm (Fri) 8pm – 11.30pm
Facebook: P&C by Sergi Arola Twitter/Instagram: pncbysergiarola
Read more about P&C by Sergi Arola in my previous post P&C by Sergi Arola Launch Party
I was invited to attend this event but all the views are all my own. Unless otherwise stated, all photos on this page © Jo Brett 2015. All rights reserved.