Dhs250 (soft drinks), Dhs400 (house beverages), Dhs500 (bubbly). Fri 12.30pm-4.30pm. The Abu Dhabi EDITION, Al Bateen Marina (02 208 0000).
From New York to Shanghai, London to Los Angeles, The EDITION hotels all ooze understated glamour and undisputed levels of class.
The Abu Dhabi EDITION opened in October, and it boasts three restaurants by renowned British chef Tom Aikens.
We’re here on a Friday afternoon to try the Rose Brunch at Mediterranean restaurant Alba Terrace, and to say we are quite excited about it is very much an understatement.
This hotel is so cool. There’s just no other word for it. While many other resorts in the capital aim to impress with huge crystal chandeliers, gold ornaments and decadent furnishings, the EDITION has a retro, classic look that speaks for itself.
The lobby is filled with muted tones like brown, beige and cream. The vintage look is completed with a classic car and numerous white candles dotted around the place.
Outside the furnishings are clean and simple, and we love that some of the tables are sunk down into the pool and surrounded by water. The staff are all trendy and hipster looking, but the service is still super efficient. We’re even presented with a blanket in case we get chilly.
The three-course menu is served to the table, and we have a chance to try everything.
We get started with a refreshing welcome drink and a lighter-than-air piece of focaccia bread dipped in fig-infused balsamic vinegar and oil. It’s delicious, but luckily the starters soon appear to stop us filling up on bread.
Spread in front of us they look vibrant and fresh, and despite our worries that it might be a bit bland, the courgette, basil and goat’s cheese tart is our clear favourite. We also adore the sharp taste and contrasting textures of the prawns with grapefruit and almonds.
There’s also plenty of cheese. We can’t stop ourselves going back for more of the creamy burrata with lemon and olives, while the ricotta-stuffed tomatoes are immaculately presented. There’s more juicy Italian tomatoes with the buffalo mozzarella as well.
With the band playing in the background (also on another level of cool), and the breeze coming in from the Gulf, it certainly feels like we have been transported to an Italian island.
The small venue has an exclusive, intimate feel, and as we tuck into the mains we quickly realise that these are just as well made as the starters.
The lamb with polenta is better than we ever imagined, while the crab linguine still feels fresh and light despite the considerable carb content. We finish off the colourful courgettes, aubergines and tomatoes in the vegetable tatin with ease, and our only slight quibble is that the veal and lamb meatballs are a bit on the dry side. But with wonderful flavours coming through in the accompanying orzo rice, it hardly matters at all.
After taking a break for a few more drinks and some selfies in front of the stunning backdrop, we move on to desserts.
There are four to choose from. A predictably incredible crème brûlée, a smooth hazelnut praline mousse, some homemade ice cream filled with vanilla pods, and best of all, a decadent dessert featuring layers of vanilla custard, fresh berries and crispy pastry. It’s all lovely, and clearly carefully chosen to provide a light and sweetly satisfying end to the meal.
We stay on to watch the end of the band’s set (the servers are dancing along, too), and leave feeling very relaxed and happy.
WHAT IS IT...
Three courses of Mediterranean-inspired plates, served in a stylish poolside venue
For exceptional, high-quality food that won’t leave you broke for the rest of the month. Plus the cool live band and incredible courgette tart