MY LUNCH AT THE FLAMINGO COLLECTION ABU DHABI
On arrival, your first port of call, after the African Collection retail space is African Lounge. This luxurious, plush, African-eque space is home to the lounge where you can enjoy afternoon tea, mocktails and a huge selection of teas, as well as a spacious terrace overlooking the blue water of the Abu Dhabi harbour. There's so much detail in the decor, it's hard to choose where to look next and on my next visit here, I plan to spend time taking it all in.
Book: 02 675 9302 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Down in the most hilariously cool lift ever, I headed to the Flamingo Room itself. My first impression is that it's large with pearly peach and flamingo pink walls alongside a lengthy green bar, gold embellishments, artfully placed zebra walls and chic, comfortable banquettes. There are tables of different sizes, and an elevated section which gets the primo sea views.
My first glance at the menu made me realise that this wasn't going to be an everyday place for too many of us: it's fairly punchy. Ok, very punchy.
I wanted lunch, but decided to ditch the business lunch in favour of a couple of menu items. Given that the lunch set menu runs at AED135 for 2 courses, it seemed slightly profligate to choose to spend a whole lot more, but my interest had been piqued by a single item on the starters menu: the steak Diane (AED124)! I can't even remember the last time I saw this on any menu anywhere and I just had to have it.
I also chose a sea bass carpaccio (AED106) because ... well because I think this is a dish that separates the men from the boys: it can be a world of average or extraordinary. A test, if you will.
First came the bread which was fluffy and filling, with a slightly over-salted butter and then the sea bass carpaccio was served.
After taking a second to pay homage to the plating, I dug in.
The flavour combinations were superb with the basil and herb oil giving pesto feels and the outstanding citrus vinaigrette adding the lightness and piquancy that the fish deserved. In amongst all this, was a generous serving of pearly white cous-cous which made it a very filling plateful. I could easily have stopped at that point and considered myself replete.
The steak Diane was, quite simply, superb.
The bite-sized slivers of perfectly prepared steak, complemented by beech mushrooms that look so pretty and give a nice nutty crunch are gorgeous, and coupled with the sauce, make for the eye-closing swoon. This creamy sauce with Worcestershire and mustard for a hint of sharpness, is incredibly good. The crispy parmesan shards on top add to the flavour but don't make the dish too rich.
This portion was large - in fact, large enough for me to consider it as a main course and at AED126, I felt this was actually great value.
Because I'm me, I ordered dessert in the form of Lizel's lemon meringue tart. What an absolute show-stopper.
In my mind, I'm imagining Lizel as a fabulous home baker who produced patisserie chef worthy dishes as a matter of course. This tart reminded me so much of something my own mother baked, in terms of the consistency of the lemon custard and meringue with just the right height of peak which gave Zulu headdress vibes, but the lotus base really elevated it to a dessert 'for the ages'.
You must go and you must order this and I promise you won't be able to look at any other lemon meringue the same way.
DRINKS AND SUNDRIES
The bar in Flamingo Room is well-stocked and they give a load of cocktail and 3 mocktail options. Mine was excellent, and although I know straws are a hopeless waste of everything, every time I sipped, I felt like that ice block was going to end up all over me!
The rest of the menu is, for me, untried, and pricing is fairly steep. There are loads of options for sharing mains including a Sunday roast for AED780, Dover sole (AED648) and rib-eye (AED550) but if the quality is anything as good as what I expect it to be based on my lunch, it'll be worth every fil.
Time: 12PM - 4PM, 7PM - 11:45PM
Book: 02 675 9301 or email@example.com
What some might consider to be the pièce de resistance, suitably hidden away around the corner is Perlage. Sashay your way down corridors festooned with slate grey silk curtains, an enticing French accented voiceover echoing as you walk, and enter this intimate space, this 'members club without a membership'.
It's très perlage.
The strong cerise interiors, the lights reflecting the perlage when bubbles are released from a bottle of Champagne, the crushed velvet everything, the intimate seating ... this is the lounge Abu Dhabi has been waiting for. The kind of place you go for a seriously good drink with a select couple of friends, a second date as opposed to a first. It's a black dress and heels, red lipstick and coiffed hair.
It feel Parisian. It feels chic and very, very cool. And we're going to love it.
Book: 058 288 8164 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Location: between the Rosewood carpark entrance and Zuma, Al Maryah Island