While my inner feminist cringes slightly at the name of the evening (I get ‘Boss Bitches’ or #GirlBoss is probably not going to be successful in the capital of the UAE, let alone on point with the St. Regis branding, but the term ‘Ladylike’ is just a bit too overtly feminine for me). Additionally, for my third outing to 55 and 5th (or 5th and 55th as my dyslexic brain likes to autocorrect to), I’m going to admit that my expectations were rather low. I’ve had one absolutely terrible outing and one of the best nights in Abu Dhabi at this establishment, so I wasn’t sure where to set my calibration.
Thus, when we turned up at 6:50, anticipating a drink in the lounge before dinner and the doors weren’t quite opened, I wasn’t sure what to think. Sure enough, service at the venue begins promptly at 7 PM, which in my mind would be frustrating for hotel guests (and visiting locals). Our best guess was that they wanted the sundowners crowd to remain at Turqoiz and leave this establishment well alone. After a bit of a back and forth about my missing reservation, we took a seat at the bar, which was strangely absent of any staff. After a larger amount of effort than seemed necessary, we were served our cocktails (one thing the St. Regis does quite nicely is a G&T).
We were seated in the dining room at one of my least favorite tables. In the middle of what feels like a dance floor, very close to the jazz trio, guests are sort of awkwardly spaced to listen to the band and carry on a conversation. If dining at the restaurant, my suggestion would be to request one of the intimate booths lining the walls, or outside to avoid this situation altogether.
A glance at the menu shows two options one healthy
(ladies be eating salads, amirite?) and one ‘guilty’ version (pasta and red meat, oh my!). To cover everything, my dining partner and I decided to order one of each set menu. In addition to the three courses, we also received a selection of fresh bread and an amuse bouche (a bit too similar to my pasta course, TBH). The courses were beautifully presented, well portioned and evenly paced (sounds easy, but all of the above together are difficult to pull off).
For AED300 (including a 3-course meal + one glass of prosecco), this is certainly not the cheapest ladies night in the city. The value for money is there, but if the guests decide to enjoy a bottle of wine or additional drinks, the cost could go up quite quickly.
Would I go back? I’m still super torn about this restaurant. While I can’t put my finger on it, there is some missing element I have yet to define. Perhaps it is the weird mix of clientele (kids! tourists!) or the too large space. Or maybe the venue is just too formal for its own good (I would definitely choose Tamba, Butcher & Still, or Asia de Cuba for the vibe over 55 and 5th). While the food is above average and the jazz trio an absolute delight, I tend to look for the whole package when it comes to dining out.
Have you been to 55 and 5th? Am I missing something?