A bit lastminute.com, but I received an e-mail for ‘A Night in Piedmont’ at Aqua, located at the Rosewood Abu Dhabi late Sunday afternoon (for a Monday evening dinner). Now, I’ve had one amazing meal at this property (Spice Mela) and one less than satisfactory meal (also, Spice Mela, for the Kings and Queens menu offered in the fall). As we haven’t been
abusing our livers enough on a date night recently, I convinced Hubs we should go out on a school night.
Reservation? Calling the restaurant took a few rings through the front desk and we settled on the name Mr. White, but was easy enough.
Ambiance? As a property, I love the Rosewood – it is modern, classy and feels very private. While I question having a restaurant directly off where the pool is located, I can understand Aqua had no choice in the matter. Crystal chandeliers hang from the ceiling and Hubs and I were seated at one of the best tables in the restaurant (i.e. overlooking the
construction water). As with Spice Mela, the restrooms are located outside of the restaurant, causing a fairly long trip to visit the loo.
Service? Weird. While we were greeted by name (nice touch) and immediately escorted by the sommelier to view the bottles of wine we’d be tasting, with a rate I’ve never seen before, we were practically sprinted through the antipasti and appetizer. While the service staff was perfectly lovely and friendly, their timing was completely off throughout the night. Additionally, when possible, I think it’s nice to make a connection with one server, rather than a rotating amount of people. So, with no less than five people interacting with us, rather than savor the dishes and/or the the glass of wine, things kept trying to get taken from us or not refilled.
Additionally, if a restaurant goes to the trouble of employing a sommelier, shouldn’t that individual be around to share why exactly the pairing was made? After the antipasti, we were left completely to our own devices (a similar thing happened while dining at the Park Hyatt’s 5th and 55th,
a terrible experience for another day).
Food? Oh dear. If the antipasi is the star, then something is very wrong. Our scallops were a weird temperature and the texture of pasta. The risotto was nice enough, but as the wine was poured well after, the whole course seemed off. Our tenderloin was where the real issue came in – both Hubs and I requested medium rare (to me, pink in the center, warm at least). What we received was absolutely rare. Now, you would probably ask why we didn’t send these steaks back, but at this point I realized I wasn’t at a steakhouse and the A team certainly wasn’t on board, so it didn’t seem worth it. (Please believe me, if I have an issue with food, I will speak up about it and did mention to the waiter that my interpretation of medium rare was perhaps different than the blue steaks we received).
Cost? The total bill came to close to AED700. The meal was advertised as AED300 per person (not inclusive of the 10% and 6% tourism and other tax). Unlike the previous dinner where we ended up paying close to $30 for water, there was not a charge for the Voss that was poured. All things being equal this felt like a fair amount. I might have complained and knocked off some amount for the rare steak, but I just wasn’t in the mood.
Overall: While we were absolutely knocked out for the first trip to Spice Mela, nothing at the Rosewood has matched that experience since. I can’t imagine I’ll be returning (unless it’s to the Hidden Bar).
Parting comment from Hubs: Fool me once, shame on me. Fool me twice…