Go hungry to the Cafe Milano Saturday brunch. Skip breakfast and save space. That’s the best advice we can offer you, because there is a lot of food.
It all starts with a high tea-style serving of pastries and sandwiches, alongside a medley of cold starters. You’ve got marinated salmon with orange and fennel, quinoa salad and raw tuna and cannellini beans with onions presented prettily in a small can. The star of this course is that tuna – pile all the ingredients on one fork and the flavours are subtle, slightly tart and refreshing.
That’s all followed by the hot starters – stewed cuttlefish, quiche, meatballs and a poached egg with toast and crisp beef bacon. Ingredients are top quality, but, in this course, the flavours are rather subdued.
By this point, you’ll start to fill up. We’re telling you now – don’t let this happen, because the best is yet to come.
Next up is a round of pasta and/or risotto. Our favourite is the latter, which is mixed tableside in a giant wheel of parmesan. It’s creamy, salty and sweet; the risotto rice has bite to it, and the mushrooms add a much-needed earthiness.
Don’t think you’re done just yet, though. Even better is yet to come.
At this point, however, you’ll be asked how much time you would like to leave between courses. We suggest you leave as much as possible – you’ll need it in order to digest. While you do this, you’ll have time to appreciate your surroundings, which are quintessentially
Mediterranean. Tables are scattered around an elegantly designed room, with a number of them on the outdoor terrace (in cooler weather, the floor-to-ceiling windows are drawn back so this is possible – enjoy dining there before it gets too hot). From this vantage point, you can look out over the modern Al Maryah Island and enjoy the smooth jazz tunes that play in the background.
The final round of savoury dishes are the à la carte mains, which you will have chosen at the beginning of the feast. We go for the sea bream with sun choke purée, tenderstem broccoli and asparagus. This is exquisite. For a start, the flavours are well-balanced and everything is perfectly cooked, right down to the vegetables which often suffer from being over-done. Not in this case. The fish, too, is prepared so well. The flesh is juicy, and the skin is on the right side of crispy.
Then there’s the desserts, of which there are many, and of which you must try them all. The options do change, but it’s clear this restaurant has a pastry chef who really understands their craft. You won’t be disappointed.
Dhs190 (soft drinks), Dhs250 (house beverages), Dhs60 (kids 12 and under). Sat noon-4pm. Four Seasons Hotel Abu Dhabi, Al Maryah Island (02 333 2630).
The bottom line
A relaxed, sophisticated afternoon that you need to save room for.