August 14, 2015 by marksetchfield
I love food. If I’m not cooking it, eating it or putting pictures of me eating or cooking it on Instagram, I’m thinking about it or planning where to eat out next. So the offer of a weekend stay at the Le Royal Méridien, Abu Dhabi, was one I couldn’t resist.
Located minutes from the city’s business district and shopping malls, it’s a perfect weekend getaway and has six restaurants for me to work my way around.
But before I could take a bite of food I was wowed by the beautiful sculptures in the hotel lobby. They looked like giant origami figures sitting on beautiful marble plinths, and based on first impressions I knew this was my kind of hotel.
I checked into my junior suite and did the usual room check: widescreen TV, fluffy towels and most importantly a walk-in shower. There was just time to try it out before dinner – and yes it was bigger than my entire bathroom back home.
We were going to the Market Kitchen on the ground floor, which is inspired by world-famous chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s concept of a hotel at home. So it should have all the comforts and luxuries you would normally expect with the service of a hotel. The decor reminded me of New York’s Meat Packing district with exposed brickwork, double height walls and floor-to-ceiling metal shelving, reminiscent of an old storage warehouse. Nothing like my home, but I loved it already.
The menu is a modern international fusion with dishes such as Hamachi sashumi with shiitake mushrooms, a Japanese delicacy consisting of fresh raw fish and meat, and glazed spare ribs, with an apple-jalapeño purée and rosemary crumbs. As the dishes arrived my friend and I fell silent, our conversation suddenly forgotten by the beautiful food being laid out on our table. Every mouthful was delicious and by the end I knew this was a foodie haven.
Afterwards I headed back to my suite. Diving between the crisp sheets it was only moments before I was asleep.
Up early the next morning I headed down for my breakfast at whEAT, the hotel bakery that serves pastries, fresh coffee and cooked breakfasts. I ordered a strong black Americano and a full fry-up. The food was delicious, with perfect eggs and freshly baked bread. I tried not to overdo the breakfast as part of this foodie weekend was brunch, so I went back to my room and relaxed.
My brunch buddy arrived at midday and we headed to Fizz Factory Royale, which had a pleasant and tranquil vibe with DJ Froid playing some relaxing music.
I went to look at the live cooking stations and stopped at my favourite – seafood. There were fresh shrimps, prawns, and oysters and I piled my plate high.
There were also other stations with traditional roasts, endless salads and beautiful handmade desserts.
I made my way around most of them, and it was all delicious. But as I jumped in my car to head back to Dubai I was worried that the seat belt might be a bit tight.
This had been a foodie’s dream getaway, but I had no idea how many calories I had consumed. I’m already on a diet though – ready for my next visit.