Monday, October 21, 2013

RESTAURANT REVIEW: Rhodes 44, St. Regis Abu Dhabi

Posted at  1:29 AM  |  in  Restaurant

Rhodes 44 is located in St Regis Abu Dhabi (Nations Tower)
As one of Britain’s most celebrated chefs, the name ‘Gary Rhodes’ carries a lot of weight – not only in his home country, but throughout the world.

Here in the United Arab Emirates, for example, Rhodes has three signature restaurants. The first two - Rhodes Mezzanine and Rhodes Twenty10 – are located in Starwood hotels in Dubai, while the third was recently opened at The St. Regis Abu Dhabi.

The sleek new eatery, named ‘Rhodes 44’, has been described in a press release as “the perfect setting for Rhodes’ masterful reinventions of classic British and European dishes, complemented by Arabian influences”.

Rhodes seems to mirror those thoughts as well. “We’re eager to cater to Abu Dhabi’s diverse guests who have sophisticated tastes, from the large British community who want to savour favourite dishes from home, to the Middle Eastern guests who want to experience a European twist on the culinary traditions from this region,” he explained.

Sounds good so far, right? Initial reviews from the public have been quite favourable, with Rhodes 44 already cracking Tripadvisor’s list of best restaurants in Abu Dhabi. Based on seven initial reviews, it has accumulated a total score of 4.5 out of 5 (which places the restaurant at number 80 in the Tripadvisor list).

Rhodes 44 has been scored 4.5 out of 5 on Trip AdvisorAroundTheUAE.com was eager to find out more and ventured over to Rhodes 44 last week. Our first impressions of the venue itself were very positive. The St. Regis Abu Dhabi, located in the Corniche area, offers a picture-perfect setting for a memorable meal, from the undeniable grandeur of its interiors, to the superb views over Abu Dhabi.

After entering the restaurant, guests can choose to dine inside the tastefully decorated restaurant or al fresco in the spacious garden terrace. For private celebrations or corporate affairs, Rhodes44 also offers two private dining rooms, featuring ample lounge space for entertaining.

The head chef is Paul Lupton, who has worked for Rhodes since 2002 and moves over from Rhodes Mezzanine in Dubai. Highlights from his menu includes Watermelon, Feta and Almond Salad; Asian-inspired Seared Sumac and Pistachio King Prawns; and Pan-Fried Salmon with Flageolet Beans.

Guests can also choose from an exclusive Executive Menu, and “The Daily British Classic” menu that features British staples such as steak-and-kidney pudding, and decadent desserts like Sticky Toffee Pudding and Strawberry Eton Mess.

UK celebrity chef Gary RhodesSurprisingly, the restaurant was fairly empty during our visit, perhaps because we dined quite early, or maybe people are still finding out about the opening. We initially struggled to order drinks, due to language issues with the waitress failing to understand ‘Diet Coke’ and ‘Sprite’ (despite her best efforts).

The restaurant gets bonus points for bringing out a nice kid’s pack to keep our three-year-old daughter entertained, with crayons and different drawings to colour. The waiting staff was also helpful in explaining more about the menu options.

We ate light and while the end result was fairly satisfying, we honestly weren’t blown away. Maybe our expectations were too high, given the ‘Gary Rhodes’ name, but the overall quality of food wasn’t quite good enough to keep us coming back for more.

Have you been to Rhodes 44 yet? We would love to hear your views! Leave your comments below and visit our Facebook page for more reviews on attractions throughout the UAE.

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