The Grill is one of Abu Dhabi’s foremost steakhouses, hosted at The Marriott Al Forsan, and offering an excellent venue for a fine-dining experience.
It’s truly a splendid restaurant – with the interior design really setting the mood.
Whether your group requires a long table for hoots and laughter,
or you may prefer to sit shoulder to shoulder in a quiet private corner.
Also a fabulous boardroom dining room is available.
But wherever you choose to sit, you will be fully served!
From hand-crafted mocktails to the finest of wines, The Grill caters to every taste with sophistication in selection and presentation.
But let’s get down to business!
The kitchen is an open-plan grill-house, with a large live cooking area and exceptional aspirators removing the smoke and cooking aromas.
And from the kitchens, a tight yet comprehensive menu will cater to your every preference.
The appetizers were extravagant in their complexity and detailed plating, soliciting wows both from the eyes and the palate.
The sauteed scallops were exalted with an excellent pairing of green pea puree – contributing an earthiness that maximized the delicate flavors of the shellfish; and the partnership with the white espuma added a winning texture – a masterful introduction to the evening meal!
At the same time, the spectacular octopus entree was accompanied by carefully curated fresh tomatoes of numerous varieties, each of them different in their tastes, from sweet and suave to wild and sour – a collection which at every bite gave a surprise and which perfectly matched and elevated the exterior crunchiness of the octopus and then melted with the soft interior.
A freshly-baked soft bread and delicious tapanades kept the starters company.
And then it was time for the mains!
The mains surprised in a different way: in their devotion to simplicity and straightforward grilling with minimal seasoning.
It’s true that a good selection of 14 sides and 11 sauces were presented with the menu, but the Chef’s intention was clearly to minimize any intervention that would detract from the direct grilling.
The understated presentation should not fool you, though, as the ingredients are of top quality, and you have the choice of Argentinian, U.S., or Australian beef cuts, as well as lamb, chicken, fish, and live Canadian lobster.
In retrospect, I wish I had gone for the “For Two or More” section, as not only they are finished at your table, adding some welcome theatrics to the main dishes, but I’m still dreaming of the 1.2 kg USDA Fox River Beef Tomahawk!
Dessert reverted back to impressive creativity, with a play on hard exterior vs. soft interior – and a lemon-lookalike that for a moment I thought perhaps really was a lemon!
Of equal satisfaction, the chocolate creation, presented with incredible braised pineapple slices shaved thinly:
All in all, The Grill is at the top of the evening dining pyramid in Abu Dhabi, with a delightful atmosphere and impeccable service, and a drinks selection second to none.
As well as a wide variety of beef cuts ready for the grilling in front of your very eyes!
Firstly, a disclaimer – I’m not a vegan. I do like animals, also on my plate.
I know that’s not what Dubai Vegan Days organizers want to hear, but it’s the truth.
But I also love food, especially tasty food that makes me close my eyes and hum in delight as the flavors – and the aroma! – fire up the nerve receptors on my tongue and my palate, and then rush the electrical impulses to my brain: Oh my! THAT is amazing!
And so I accepted the invite to the Vegan Brunch, thinking to myself, if isn’t good, I just won’t write about it. It does happen…
But since you’re reading it, I guess you already know that that I loved it!
The Rove Hotel is a nice and cheery place, and their all-day dining restaurant is called The Daily – and it was serving as host for the Dubai Vegan Days brunch.
It’s an interesting set-up, whereby Dubai Vegan Days liaises with various venues in Dubai, and also coordinates with well-known vegan chefs, and then offers a very reasonable weekend brunch based purely on plant-based ingredients.
In this edition, renown vegan Chef, Zendy Marsam, was at the helm of the menu creation – as a reflection of her Indonesian heritage, but with a modern, international approach.
I was certainly intrigued!
As expected, lots of raw veggies to welcome us on arrival.
But I wasn’t impressed.
I mean, sure, I love fresh salad, and I did enjoy the creativity of the various dressings on offer, and the crunchiness was supremely fresh, but anyone can chop up veggies and lay them out on a long table.
Not even the two delicious healthy juices made me smile, and I must admit I was getting a little hungry – I hope there’s more to this vegan brunch?
The place was packed with happy, laughing, “alternative”-looking people, and I was probably the oldest and the grumpiest person there!
I do regret my attitude, though.
You see, Dubai Vegan Days has a loyal following, and groups of friends eagerly wait for the next installment, and then the news spreads quickly among the healthy community, and they all converge on the weekend not only for the meal but also for the human connection.
And then there was me, scraggly beard, overweight and hunched shoulders, among these youthful, and actually really healthy-looking people, who were scarfing down raw carrots and plain beans as if they were the best thing on earth.
Except, you see, it’s because they are “the best thing on Earth”…
The health benefits of a plant-based diet are inescapable.
Although intellectually I do detest the exploitation of animals, and the suffering our factory farms impose on them, and the sheer cruelty of raising animals from birth to death in horrible captive conditions, I was holding onto a feeble reasoning that it is all a necessity, as we do have to eat, and eating well is such a pleasure…
But Chef Zendy blew away even that line of defense.
She presented a set menu – yes, all plant-based – which was absolutely on-par with any delicious weekend brunch on offer in Dubai; and probably better than many of them!
Check this out.
You see this morsel?
Apparently, it is a large fruit grown in the tropics, from India to Indonesia.
Could have fooled me, because it has the texture of meat, and it absorbs and carries flavors like a good stew cube, and it is a ‘miracle’ food in terms of nutrition and low-impact environmental farming.
Here it is in tacos!
In all its glory – oh, I wish you could lick the screen and taste it! Just superb!
And served with delicious roasted potato wedges,
and a smashing mango- and chili-based salsa!
And it was accompanied by a black activated-charcoal burger,
filled with a beetroot patty!
As well as crispy crunchy delights, so as to contrast with the earthy beetroot patty,
and accompanied by a light and refreshing tomato sauce – a superlative homemade ketchup that will make you throw out the bottled stuff in disgust!
And then dessert waltzed up to our table, and crushed any remaining doubt that somehow a plant-based meal would be in any way lacking.
It is a fact that this vegan banquet did not come in second place to a meat brunch, not even in terms of deliciousness.
I enjoyed every bite.
And as I looked around, I absorbed the healthy vibes of the lovely people around me – from all walks of life, enjoying a wonderful weekend brunch together, and not missing for one instant that there were no animal products on their plates.
I did feel feel good about it. Even an old grump like me had to admit that there was a positive feeling that with this meal I had not contributed to a chicken being locked in a cage for all of its life, that no cow had gone through the slaughterhouse for me, and that no fish had been pulled out of water gasping until it died.
And there’s more to veganism than just my superficial experience at Rove – the negative impact of the animal food industry on our planet, for instance!
And so as a reasonable person, it’s now down to convenience, and habit.
All our supermarkets and restaurant menus are packed with meat products, capitalizing on our eating habits and laziness in seeking out wholesome alternatives.
One day, I think eating animals will be the exception, and I must say what a happy day that will be for all living beings.
An idyllic and peaceful setting by the gentle Gulf waters on Saadiyat Island, SPA Jumeirah is a modern and specialized full-care beauty and rejuvenation center – the UAE’s top-most destination for personal pampering!
And as you enter this oasis of calm, you know you have entered a universe of luxurious well-being.
Basically, you feel you have been transported into another galaxy, where the laws of gravity don’t apply, and you float around powered by contented sighs and happy gurgles of delight.
Yes, the experience is so powerful…
Everything has been perfectly prepared for you.
It is clear that SPA Jumeirah is at the top of its game, and second to none not only in UAE, but even on a world scale.
If spas were given a star ranking system like hotels, here you’d be at six!
Just look at the details.
And a reminder that these are our photos taken on location (as always), not the artificially posed pics of marketing brochures – no, this is the real thing, as it was.
SPA Jumeirah is a labyrinth of rooms, each one more special than the other, and each serving its own purpose. You may choose from an amazing selection of treatments and products.
An incredible variety of pre- or post- treatment rooms, with tender warm lights, ice, salts, scents, plunge pools, terrariums, and so many more that I confess were beyond my ability to understand – but I’ll be back! Many more times! And I will try them all and find out exactly what magic they each do!!
Fortunately the kind staff will guide you.
Even they were so relaxed, as if working in such beautifying environment had transformed them into enlightened monks and yoginis – totally professional, and so talented at what they do.
Their treatments are personalized, and their expertise is deep, such that you feel certain that you are in good hands.
And they even seem able to read your mind…
The highlight for me was this room:
And after your treatment, there’s no rush. You’ll need some time to come back down from that galaxy of pure bliss.
Take it easy.
Hang around a bit.
Have some refreshments.
Take your time.
Browse the products that you’ll want to take with you.
In fact, many of the treatments continue at home.
And when you feel ready, you float out, back into the real world.
But I promise you, the moment you set foot outside, your body will try to turn around and head directly back inside!
Shopping at The Galleria on Maryah Island in Abu Dhabi is an experience into itself – a destination worthy of the UAE’s capital city and a testament to this vibrant urban center.
And if that weren’t enough… it has expanded!
Besides the high fashion brand-names and astounding architecture, there’s something that is never missing on an adventurous shopping expedition: a quick place to grab a bite to eat!
Got to re-fuel, so’s that the search for the perfect [insert favorite outfit / handbag / jewelry / perfume / make-up / suit / shoes / mustache wax…] can continue.
Tucked away deep into The Galleria Expansion, but eagerly hunted down for its juicy burgers and creamy shakes, is the trendy Shake Shack.
Yeah, it’s a fast-food joint – so what?
In fact, it fits in perfectly…
And it was born in Madison Square Park, in Manhattan, New York, so this is home for Shake Shack, and exactly where it belongs – because you may shop brand-names for clothes, and then go for a brand-name burger, too!
In fact, Shake Shack is famous not only for its burgers – and here is what caught my fancy the most:
A superb hot dog!
This is the Gucci of hot dogs!
This dog is 100% all-natural Vienna beef with no hormones and no antibiotics ever, served on a non-GMO Martin’s Potato Roll, and fancied up with delicious crisps of halal bacon, then smothered in the creamiest cheese ever – it was truly a delight!
Just look at those crispy bits!
I will not hesitate to say this is the most delicious hot dog I have tried in 20 years of visiting Abu Dhabi.
The menu plays a similar tune.
The burger patties are freshly ground and 100% all-natural Angus beef – no hormones or antibiotics ever – and the chicken all-natural cage free.
And the meals have you covered for a quick snack, or a full-on lunch.
Desserts, lemonades, and shakes, just go find out for yourself…
Overall, for a shopping intermission at The Galleria, when the hunger calls for a break, make your way over to the expansion and let Shake Shack take care of you for a while.