“And he, like many jaded people, had few pleasures left in life save good food and drink.” Honoré de Balzac
It’s impossible for me to eat healthily when I’m consistently being tempted with fantastic food and my sweet tooth tantalised by delicious desserts. Last week was a good week in terms of invitations to a variety of events which translates into being not so good for my calorie intake or waistline. Truffle dinners, steaks (veggie option for me of course) and desserts, pub style grub and a poolside barbecue threw me into a food coma. What should I do? Say no to events, buy bigger clothes or turn down the dessert option (unthinkable), first world problems over here in the dessert!
It’s truffle season and to celebrate this fabulous fungi, Cipriani located at Yas Marina held a four-course ‘Diamond of the Kitchen‘ dinner showcasing some of their signature dishes garnished with shaved fragrant white truffle from Alba in the Piedmont region of Italy. ‘The Truffle Man’ aka Massimo Vidoni, presented us with the fresh and fabulous aromatic rare mushrooms, the precious white truffle which is only harvested for a limited period during Autumn in his native Italy. We then enjoyed the distinguished and flavoursome jewel of Italian cuisine for ourselves in the dinner prepared by Chef Stefano Mason.
From now until mid-November, Cipriani is offering a menu of fourteen signature dishes topped with the luxury truffle alongside its regular extensive menu. We sampled some of the aromatic truffle enhanced dishes including appetizers of fresh creamy Mediterranean burrata cheese ‘Burratina’ and Carpaccio ‘all Cipriano’, both served family sharing style. Homemade ‘Uovo in Ravioli’ was the middle course and Veal ‘Piccatine’ with mashed truffle potato was served for the main course (I had tagliolini with shaved truffle).
We finished our experience with Vanilla Ice Cream freshly whipped ‘a la minute’ and served with a rich chocolate sauce, miniature shortcake biscuits and caramelised nuts. With a backdrop of Yas Marina, this elegant restaurant is the perfect spot for a romantic dinner or celebration, I would thoroughly recommend the ‘Burratina’ with truffle, as a regular consumer of Burrata cheese this Cipriani dish is up there with the best I’ve ever eaten. I’m pleased to report the service has improved greatly since my last visit too. See the full Ciprani truffle inspired menu alongside all their regular dishes here.
Cipriani, Building 1, Yas Marina, Yas Island, Abu Dhabi. UAE
Telephone: 02 657 5400. Website: www.ciprianiyasisland.com
Choice Cut Steakhouse
Novotel Al Bustan, a modern four-star hotel here in the capital has a steakhouse tucked away in the corner of its vast lobby. This was my first visit to this hotel located on Airport Road, which opened last year and it was a refreshing change from the sprawling five-star affair that we usually gravitate towards. When I received the invitation to dine at Choice Cut Steakhouse, I was unsure what would be on offer for vegetarians like myself but I can confirm that alongside the array of steaks there is an above-average salad bar for starters and some veggie mains too, so don’t be put off by the steakhouse in the title as there are plenty of options for non-meat eaters too.
While I tucked into a veggie asparagus dish the other half tried the restaurant’s forte, steak. This restaurant is a meat-eaters heaven with juicy steaks prepared from the finest prime beef cuts chargrilled to perfection according to individual diner’s preference, paired with sommeliers choice of premium red wines. A range of steaks from America, Australia and Ireland as well as French chicken were served sharing style on a wooden board with onions and tomatoes, various sauces and the option of mash or chunky fries. Seafood lovers will not be disappointed either with sea bass, prawns, salmon and surf and turf with steak and lobster to choose from.
A gooey hot chocolate fondant cake was the finale of the evening, perfectly presented to look extra appetising, always a winner in my book regardless of how many times I’ve eaten it before! If you fancy a good quality and reasonably priced dinner with well cooked quality steaks and fresh salads then pop down to the modern and airy Choice Cut steakhouse and remember to leave room the chocolate cake for dessert.
Choice Cuts offers a 4 Cuts, 4 Countries, 1 Destination sharing experience for only AED 295 for 2 people.
Choice Cut Steakhouse, Novotel Al Bustan, Airport Road, Al Maqtaa, Abu Dhabi. Telephone: 02 5016083
The Sportsman’s Arms
There’s a new American-Irish gastro pub in Abu Dhabi that’s located right in the centre of Zayed Sports City. You may not expect to find good hearty pub grub complimented by a wide range of hop and grape beverages in the centre of a sports complex in a bar above the tennis courts, but believe me it’s well worth a visit. The family friendly Sportsman Arms opened in the former Clubhouse back in September on the first floor of the International Tennis Stadium offering a large menu packed with quality food, also the only venue in the UAE to offer Samuel Adams beer from Boston.
Tasty pub favourites such as mac n cheese, seafood, steaks, burgers, pies and fish and chips are available all week-long, the butternut squash risotto is a great option for vegetarians, believe me I’ve had it twice already! The Sportsman’s Arms has also introduced Saturday and Sunday roasts and will be celebrating the American holiday of Thanksgiving by serving a traditional brunch with a twist on Thursday, 26 November. For those American football fans, the venue will be showing the NFL live on large screens along with Thanksgiving-themed bar snacks and late night platters from 9pm.
Open everyday from 8am until late, The Sportsman Arms serves breakfast, lunch and dinner as well as the weekend roasts. This new eatery is the perfect spot to grab a bite to eat with friends and family, after-work drinks and watch international sporting events. The soon to be opened terraces will offer alfresco dining to maximise the fabulous weather we are now enjoying. Click here to find out about the latest events, see the menu and book online. All up to date information can be found on the Facebook page too.
The Sportsman Arms, International Tennis Centre, Zayed Sports City, Abu Dhabi. Telephone: 02 403 4235. Website: www.sportsmanszsc.com
The Pool Deck BBQ at Anantara Eastern Mangroves
Thursday night is definitely barbecue night now the weather has hit that perfect temperature and Eastern Mangroves Hotel & Spa by Anantara is offering a bbq meat feast at their fab pool deck overlooking the mangroves. Al fresco dining at its best, the team of chefs will cater to your every whim with an abundance of fresh grilled seafood and meat cooked over bonfires filling the air with a wonderful charred grilled aroma. The piece de resistance is the flattened skewered salmon tethered to vertical poles cooked by the flames and a huge chunk of beef roasting on the open fire, it’s all very Ray Mears but in a five-star setting.
Think Friday brunch on a Thursday evening, as the vast amount of food on offer will definitely rival some the brunches I’ve been too. We tucked into some delicious dim sum and seafood to start our night before filling our plates with the flavourful barbecue grilled meat and fish accompanied by delicious sauces and condiments, fresh salads and vegetables.
The sweet treat laden dessert buffet was full of irresistible International and Arabic favourites, the tiramisu served in small glass jars was a definite winner. Sit back and relax with a nice glass of red or a cold beer, enjoy the view of the city skyline and mangroves while listening to the house band. A perfect Thursday evening to end the working week and start the weekend early, I’ve added it to my list as an excellent place to take visitors too.
The BBQ is available with soft drinks (AED 230) or house hops, grape and blends (AED 289)
I was invited to attend all these event but the views are all my own. Unless otherwise stated all photos © Jo Brett 2015. All rights reserved.