Thursday, December 27, 2012

Today in Yum-yums: Fauchon Le Cafe, The Meat Company and more

Going out in Abu Dhabi is not always that great. You know what I am talking about. You settle in to a pricey restaurant and pretty soon, something disappoints you. Whether is screwed-up service - I won't go into the litany of ways that service can be well-meaning, but terrible, but you can just check my martini diaries for a quick affirmation - or lacklustre food, I find the return is often not worth the exorbitant prices involved in dining in five-star restaurants. We usually opt to order shawarma and fresh juice from the corner shop than be disappointed again. 

There are really only a couple of dining/going out experiences that stand out for me this year, in Abu Dhabi anyway. And I want very much to pass them along to you.

The unbelievably amazing brekkie at Fauchon Le Cafe.
I was checking out Avenue at Etihad Towers when I spotted this Paris-born patisserie; hungry, I quickly figured eating there would be about the only thing I could afford at the luxury shopping destination. It was one of those situations where I said cost be-damned - I am here, and I am hungry, and I'd like to try something new. What a pleasant surprise! A full breakfast including fresh-squeezed juice and your choice of coffee, eggs, sausage, toast, bacon, delish sauteed grape tomatoes, mushrooms, hash browns and delicious preserves? Just Dh45. About Dh30 less than if you'd gone to that other high-end breakfast joint across town. (I am not naming any names, but it may rhyme with PHONES THE LOBBER). I can't believe I am waxing poetic about such a (still quite) expensive breakfast, but as we all know, there aren't any diners here. And the best part? The food was absolutely scrumptious. Everything - parfait. I can't wait to go back.

*Brunch at Pearls&Caviar, Shangri-La, Qaryat Al Beri. I love this brunch. First off, it's only Dh250, but stylish, upscale, put on in a beautiful setting with really good food. The seafood alone would bring me back, but then there is the chi-chi mac&cheese and an amazing raspberry pie thingy on the dessert table to consider. They also have caviar, which you don't get every day. But I think my favourite thing about it is the sense that you are not a bunch of disparate tables, but all part of a larger, fun group who is all in on this brunch thing together. The atmosphere continues in the upstairs outdoor lounge, one of the most beautiful settings in the whole city. Up there it feels welcoming, with normal music and people of all ages and backgrounds. 

*The Meat Company at Qaryat Al Beri. A simple Saturday night recently turned into one of the best meals I've ever had in the city. Sitting outside on the balcony made all the difference - again, the water settings really make meals for me. But it would have been nothing without the food: a dangling skewer of lamb for him; a 200-gram Australian grass-fed New York for me. Mashed potatoes and a side order of spicy broccoli topped it off perfectly. (We also loved the warm bread to start - one grows weary of hard-as-a-rock buns in this city). With a couple of glasses of Cap de Fleur in my belly, I was going to call it a night - but then noted the chocolate peanut butter pie on the menu. The waiter assured me it was good and worth the calories, but immediately after ordering it I was seized with regret. In my opinion desserts are rarely worth the calories here, something that is proved to me over and over and over again. Not at The Meat Company. Ahhhmazing. 

Some other faves:

The one-bite wonders over at Grandma's Cheesecake 

And the genius that is Emirati business woman Rasha Al Danhani for bringing PappaRoti to the UAE. 

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