24
Aug

Caramel Abu Dhabi

While I have not done food reviews for quite a time, I cannot let this moment pass not to announce that we have found another superstar restaurant in Abu Dhabi — that’s Caramel Abu Dhabi.

TNT (dynamite shrimps)
TNT (dynamite shrimps)

Being a superstar restaurant to me is tantamount to being able to satisfy a diner/ visitor at all levels – food is worth each dirham/ dollar, more than being an inviting place (not necessarily posh), it actually encourages you to stay longer, that you have not left the restaurant yet but you were already planning a revisit, that on your next visit you will not be forced to keep ordering that ‘tried and tested’ item because everything on the menu screams exploration with satisfaction, and the superstar restaurant makes you feel special because they regard you as one not because of how you look or being a repeat customer, but there is sort of a culture that the moment you stepped in their premises, their objective the whole time is to make you feel special.

Caramel Abu Dhabi, St. Regis Hotel

Caramel Abu Dhabi
Tomahawk ribeye steak

We intentionally tried dining during and post- Ramadan to discern discrepancies, if any. Well, Caramel Abu Dhabi is pleasantly consistent with one exception – there was no DJ during Ramadan. The cultural awareness is a plus factor, of course.

Caramel Abu Dhabi

I initially surmised that it will not be family friendly or it would be discouraging to bring youngsters due to the lounge-like/ purely nightlife impression because of the DJ. But no, the restaurant was well-structured that there were designated spots depending on your agenda – marriage proposal, candid/ loud dine in, chit chat, buddy drink (apparently, there is a bar).

Caramel Abu Dhabi
Marinated grilled chicken with baby spinach and parsnip puree

I suggest though for families with younger children to visit at lunch time, unless the youngsters are ripe enough to embrace the jive of night music. We have tried dining both at day and night times and the environment was always appropriate. As a side note, the playlists are consistently cool-superb.

Caramel Abu Dhabi
Vanilla bean creme brûlée

Caramel Abu Dhabi offers American cuisine. Our top picks are the TNT (dynamite shrimps) for starter, tomahawk steak, seabass with risotto and grilled chicken for main courses, and everything in the desserts list are a must try – but I am biased towards crème brulee and brownie.

Caramel Abu Dhabi, St. Regis Hotel

It is worth mentioning that I always receive a snail mail (yeah, in this era!) few weeks after dining. That is their simple way (I think that is huge) of extending their appreciation for the visit.

Caramel Abu Dhabi
St. Regis Hotel, Saadiyat Island, Abu Dhabi
Landline: 02 678 3344
Website: http://caramelgroup.com/caramel-restaurant-lounge-abu-dhabi
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CaramelAbuDhabi
Twitter: @CaramelAbuDhabi
Instagram: @caramelgroup

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27
May

If cats can do selfies
She thinks that’s hers but she doesn’t eat chocolates though.

If cats can do selfies
Cats do selfies, too!

Winello and Perdita are naturally calm, playful, crazy, curious — with no specific order in a given day. We discovered another means though on how to get their full attention at once. Well, aside from the sound of the kibbles (feeding frenzy!)… just let them hear the song “Crickets Sing For Ana Maria”. The Very Best of Astrud Gilberto was on last night  and as they heard the crickets in the intro their ears went straight and eyes bewildered like Mr. Bean’s.

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26
May

So I feel so extra sad today. I have just paid my traffic violation fines. I feel so extra, extra stupid because I have a high regard for hard earned money. I could have used that sum to help the needy. The Abu Dhabi Government doesn’t really need that money.

The other painful part is when pride is taken into account especially when human nature of not wanting to be slapped on by my mistakes kicks in. And of course, I am striving to have a clean file ever. Yeah, I may be cool but there’s a soft spot for arrogance for most of the drivers.

Naive mistakes and plain stupidity.

It is a humbling experience to learn my lesson(s) the hard way.

By the way, I unintentionally (of course) jumped on the red light on that quiet weekend morning in Abu Dhabi Corniche. Camera captured me. Amber is my new most favorite color. Lol.

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11
Mar

Nando's Abu Dhabi, World Trade Center Mall
(The event started with a South African tune which fueled the mascot to dance, twerk — yeah, that’s right, wiggle and all sorts of ecstatic move.)

My most favorite chicken has finally arrived in Abu Dhabi!

I am not exaggerating when I say that I prayed much for a Nando’s branch to open in Abu Dhabi. Looking back, it takes me at least 3 hours drive (back and forth) when craving attacks just to get a bite in Nando’s – Dubai Mall. As an adage says, good things come to the patient tummy, errr, to those who declare their purest intentions to the universe. Now, not only that Nando’s is so rock-bottom and accessible as it opened in a rather rustic-vintage style World Trade Centre Mall (one of the newest malls in the Emirate aside from The Galleria in Al Maryah Island) but it is also spacious at 6,000 square feet area. It also maximizes the mall’s tone as it offers an al fresco dining area shaded by olive trees (reminded me instantly of their spicy mixed olives appetizer!).

Nando's Abu Dhabi, World Trade Center Mall
(The mild peri-peri chicken, spicy rice and grilled veggies never fail to satisfy me. The caramel cheesecake and chocolate cake are always the best way to cap the delicious meal.)

I am a big Nando’s fan that one of our gadgets was even named “Fernando Duarte” (one of the brains behind Nando’s humble beginnings apart from Robbie Brozin), so you must imagine how high I floated when I received an invitation to the VIP evening for the opening of the first Nando’s restaurant in Abu Dhabi.

Nando's Abu Dhabi, World Trade Center Mall
(Nando’s peri-peri flame grilled chicken will always be legendary for me, the same way that Jollibee is for the Filipinos.)

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