Monday, 13 October 2008

Veal Revisited

During my visit to Abu Dhabi, my sister Vicky and her boyfriend Richard (who you may be able to see in the reflection in the picture above) took me to a rotating restaurant. It was on the 19th floor, and happily enough it wasn't travelling at super speed, but rather a revolution an hour or so giving us the perfect opportunity to view all of Abu Dhabi. Much discussion ensued as to how the waiters knew which table was which; we decided in the end they must make notes: "Table full of sun burned Brits - 1 x fish main" etc. Maybe.

To start, my eye was drawn by the mention of oysters (possibly called 'Guillard'? I'd had a bit of gin by this point...). These, as you can see, were big meaty beasts and were incredibly sweet, full of umami and flavoursome of the sea. I had a good ol' chew on them, as I don't believe in swallowing them whole and only getting a hint of flavour. I do believe these may have been the best oysters I've had so far - perhaps a toss-up between those of Kinsale.

However, I was a touch jealous of Richard's beef cheek galette with wild mushroom risotto. He let me have a taste and it was meaty.

Moving on, I opted for the 'Rack of Veal with Balsamic Glaze'. I tend to suffer from chronic indecisiveness when ordering food, as I have an almost pathological fear of food envy. As soon as I spoke my order, I regretted it. I was expecting piddly little rounds of meat, truth be told.

I couldn't have been further from the truth and I was gobsmacked when they brought me this beast. It was huge, larger than the size of my outstreched hand. My dining companions looked on enviously as I dug in with abandon and it was cooked perfectly to medium rare, as requested. It had a rich and beefy flavour to it, but was also very tender. A strange cube of jellied mushrooms accompanied it and was fine, but the balsamic sauce with a hint of rosemary were perfect companions. Simplicity at it's best.

I was much too full for dessert, but I had a sneaky taste of everyone elses. The Selection of Chocolate was just that - chocolatey. It consisted of a sorbet, a ganache, a truffle and a millefeuile. Very rich indeed. Contrasted with this was a light and delicately sweet upside down apple tart.

The service was inobtrusive and discreet. There was a lady singing with a piano accompaniment which at best provided us with some giggles, and at worst was a bit loud when we swung past, but quite inoffensive overall.

Al Fanar

Le Royal Méridien Abu Dhabi
Sheikh Khalifa Street
PO Box 45505
Abu Dhabi
United Arab Emirates

Tel: (971)(2) 674 2020


Anonymous said...

That veal looks rather like the veal version of a rib of beef which is rather large and serves two and makes both of you feel rather full afterwards!

Anonymous said...

Blimey! Beasty oysters indeed, I couldn't agree more about the chewing - it's a must, otherwise what's the point? I'll pass on the jellied mushrooms though, that's a bit weird isn't it? I never eat dessert myself either but I thought you had hollow legs?!

Douglas Blyde said...

More flag poles, please, Lizzie...