“Preserve the old, but know the new.” Chinese Proverb
This week we dined at the rather lovely Teatro located in the Park Rotana Hotel to sample their Chinese New Year menu ahead of its launch. You may be wondering why does a restaurant with a name meaning theatre in Italian and adorned with Venetian masks have a Chinese New Year celebration?
Teatro is all about East meets West, the menu is a fusion of dishes from around the globe with an emphasis on Far Eastern cuisine combining an incredible assortment of dishes, made from the freshest ingredients. To celebrate the Year of the Monkey Teatro’s Executive Chef Ted Espiritu has devised a special A La Carte menu of Asian dishes available until 12th February, that can be perfectly paired with some of the restaurant’s signature Asian-inspired cocktails.
The menu offers a selection of appetizers along with mains of seafood, beef, duck and chicken accompanied with a choice of noodle and rice dishes. The other half selected Chicken Lettuce Wraps for his appetizer, minced chicken in a rich sweet sauce is served with large crisp lettuce leaves to make wraps at the table. You can also select from three other appetizers, crystal skin shrimp dumpling, crispy bean curd roll or five spiced crispy squid. I ate vegetarian spring rolls with mango-dijo dip from a specially prepared vegetarian selection.
For his main course the other half selected seafood, Hunan Steamed Fish With Tofu In Tou Ban Jan Sauce, perfectly slow-cooked sea bass with firm tofu, red chilies, black beans and garlic dust which he devoured rather quickly. I enjoyed vegetable fried rice served with mixed steamed vegetables and a separate baby bok choy dish. The seafood section also offers sweet and sour prawns with peppers, water chestnut, cucumber, pineapple and cucumber, Shiitake, button and black ear mushrooms combined with seafood in oyster sauce and Pineapple style crispy fried fish with Tau Si in black pepper sauce flavoured with spring onion, ginger and cilantro.
Chicken, beef and duck dishes are also available for the main course. Traditional Kung Pao Chicken, Crispy roast aromatic duck with green beans in ginger sauce with crispy garlic chips, Marinated beef with broccoli in Xo Sauce and Marinated beef with ginger and spring onion in Oyster Sauce. Noodle and rice dishes include Lobster Chow Mein, Chicken BBQ Fried Rice, Yang Chow Fried Rice with shrimp, mixed vegetables, egg and oyster-soya sauce and steamed jasmine rice.
As designated driver the other half had a non-alcoholic version of Teatro’s popular Downtown Tokyo cocktail usually made with a combination of sake and vodka infused with ginger. His mocktail was served like the cocktail in a sake jar placed on a bed of ice in an authentic wooden sake box along with a garnish of lime leaves and an infused cherry, ten out of ten for presentation and originality. I enjoyed an Asian style Pina Colada with malibu, dark rum, coconut, orgeat (almond syrup), green tea and pineapple followed by some delicious Merlot as selected by our server.
While the Chinese New Year menu does not have a dessert option you can select one from the A La Carte menu. We shared banana wontons with dulce de leche sauce as recommended by our server and they were really good, if you have a sweet tooth like me I suggest you give them a try.
The Year of the Red Fire Monkey begins on Monday 8th February and lasts until 27th January 2017. As someone born in the Year of the Monkey (many years ago) I was curious to read about the characteristics of the people born in this sign which are summarised as being quick-witted, curious, innovative and mischievous but in bad news it’s also believed to be one of the most unlucky signs in the Chinese calendar. Traditionally it’s customary for Chinese people to give red envelopes or packets known as hongbao (Mandarin) or lai see (Cantonese) as New Year gifts. The colour red is regarded as a symbol of happiness and good luck, so red envelopes filled with money are given to intermediate family and good friends to bestow happiness and good fortune on them for the forthcoming year. At Teatro they have honoured this tradition and wish diners Gong Xi Fa Cai (Happy New Year) with a red envelope at the end of the meal, this particular gift is not money but instead a generous discount voucher to dine again at Teatro.
Teatro has a very pleasant ambiance, the staff are courteous and knowledgeable and the food is excellent. The low-lit red-hued venue has a well-stocked bar, an interesting Asian infused cocktail selection and two kitchen areas, a centralised dedicated sushi preparation area and an open-kitchen where you can watch the chefs busy at work. Vintage masks, oversized vases of flowers and bold patterned wallpapered ceilings are offset by Japanese and Chinese elements, including traditional artefacts and accessories that are inherent to the restaurant’s Far Eastern influences. The bar and lounge areas are perfect for pre-dinner drinks or to relax with a final nightcap should you so desire. If you are looking for a special venue to toast Chinese New Year I can vouch for Teatro, the elegant and dramatic theatrical decor will entice you in and the flavoursome dishes will affirm you made the right decision.
Location: Park Rotana Hotel near Khalifa Park, Abu Dhabi
Telephone: 02 657 3333
The Teatro Chinese New Year menu is available from 3rd – 12th February inclusive (see full menu here)
Teatro is open daily from 6:00pm till 1:30 am.
Read my previous post Review: Teatro, Park Rotana Abu Dhabi
I was invited to attend this event. All the views are my own, Unless otherwise stated, all photos on this page © Jo Brett 2016. All rights reserved.