Sunday, December 14, 2014

RESTAURANT REVIEW: Stratos, Abu Dhabi

Posted at  6:43 AM  |  in  Restaurant

Stratos at Le Royal Méridien Abu Dhabi is the only rotating restaurant in the UAE capitalWith so many restaurants opening in Abu Dhabi over the past year, it’s never been more important to stand out from the crowd. However, consumers are becoming more and more demanding, and they are starting to lose interest in the usual innovations, such as being associated with a celebrity chef, achieving Michelin-star status, or selecting an off-the-beat theme. So, what’s next?

Although rotating restaurants are not a new concept, they have a fantastic track-record across the world, with famous examples in Los Vegas, Seattle, Tokyo and Cape Town, amongst others. The concept arrived in the UAE capital some time back with Al Fanar, a European restaurant located at the top of Le Royal Méridien Abu Dhabi. And following a major one-year revamp, it was re-launched with much fanfare in September 2014 under a brand new name, Stratos.

Each dish is created with seasonal produce sourced from the finest global suppliersEager to find out more, AroundTheUAE.com decided to visit the upscale lounge bar and grill for our latest review. As you might remember from our recent lunch at Amalfi – dubbed the best business lunch in Abu Dhabi (read the review here) - we’re already fans of Le Royal Méridien Abu Dhabi, so expectations were high!

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After being seated at our table for dinner, we took a few minutes to admire the stylish décor. Stratos combines its black and gold colour scheme with modern and comfortable furnishing to create an ultra-luxurious setting, almost like the private members clubs that are popular with the rich and successful in Europe.

Stratos combines its black and gold colour scheme with modern and comfortable furnishingOn the one side, dinners can watch the open kitchen as dishes from the menu are prepared under the watchful guidance of Executive Head Chef Justin Galea and Chef De Cuisine Grant Ballinger. However, the real highlight is the exquisite revolving view of Abu Dhabi’s cityscape on the opposite side of the restaurant.

In total, it takes around an hour for the restaurant to complete its 360-degree rotation, with a variety of different settings to be enjoyed along the way, from downtown Abu Dhabi and the corniche, to Lulu Island and the Arabian Gulf. Apparently different speeds have been tested out and this was found to be the optimal for enjoying the views and avoiding the feeling of motion sickness.

ALSO READ: IS INAKAYA THE MOST AUTHENTIC JAPANESE RESTAURANT IN ABU DHABI?

The Strawberry Posset consists of strawberry granola, meringues, lemon sorbet and 20-year-old balsamicAnd let’s not forget about the food! Each dish is created with seasonal produce sourced from the finest global suppliers. For starters, there are around seven options in the a la carte menu, and we tried a little bit of everything, from the yellow fin tuna and parmesan gnocchi, to the lobster mac and cheese. YUM!

The mains are essentially a grill selection and if you’re not sure where the start, the helpful staff will be more than happy to provide guidance. Between us, we tried the John Stone Grass Fed Rib Eye with Green Peppercorn Sauce and the Wagyu Tenderloin with Stratos Original BBQ Sauce. These were accompanied by a delicious range of sides, including Paris Mash, Creamed Sweet Corn, Hand Cut Chips, and our personal favourite, the Slow Braised Carrots with Mandarin Oil.

Stratos transforms into a trendy after-dark venue with various DJs playing music until the early hoursAbu Dhabi has some amazing grills, which still give Stratos a run for their money, but on the whole we were left feeling satisfied and extremely full. If fact, we almost passed on dessert (most unlike us!), but were eventually convinced to try the Strawberry Posset, which consists of strawberry granola, meringues, lemon sorbet and 20-year-old balsamic. We were informed this is lighter on the stomach and provides the perfect ending to a meal… we couldn’t agree more!

All-in-all, we recommend a visit to Stratos for the unique 360-degree views it offers over Abu Dhabi. And even if you don’t fancy a dinner there, other options include a gourmet afternoon tea, a sunset during cocktail hour, and a trendy after-dark atmosphere with various DJs playing music until the early hours.

MORE RESTAURANT REVIEWS: Amalfi, Le Royal Méridien Abu Dhabi

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