While staying at the Edition Abu Dhabi, I couldn’t pass up an opportunity to enjoy a meal at Oak Room. Having already heard fabulous things from other foodie friends in Abu Dhabi, I was delighted to check out one of the newest steakhouses in the city, a menu which includes oversight from a well-lauded and internationally known chef, Tom Aikens.
After a quick drink at the beautiful Library (located just across the way – plan to have a quick cocktail here if you can), we were warmly greeted and shown inside. The interior of Oak Room immediately passes with the highest of marks. I’m not sure where the contract was signed to say that steakhouses should be done in dark paneling and low lighting, but in the Edition, the concept works. The design is modern and doesn’t feel outdated in any way (as many steakhouses tend towards). Instead, the fit out is romantic, intimate, and seamlessly integrated with the hotel. Having visited numerous steakhouses in the UAE (Ruth’s Chris, Graze, Beefbar, The Hide, and Prime 68, just to name a few), Oak Room really stands apart in its design. Even better? An upbeat soundtrack that is one of the best in the country — hit after hit, cool cover after cool cover, it’s the type of place where the Shazam app stays open. Although the music was just a touch too loud for my dining partner and me, overall, we both commented on how engaging it was.
Service was an immediate high point at Oak Room, with Charlie Grainger, the meat sommelier (yes, this is a real job, and yes, I asked for his business card, and yes it actually says meat sommelier). Charlie comes from a background in butchery and is responsible for getting some rare cuts into the country, including the gorgeous Spanish Rubia Striploin. We also spoke with a regular sommelier (y’know, the wine kind) and while he didn’t specifically upsell the insane amount of wines available through the Coravin system (my guess is this is one of the most extensive by the glass menus in the country), we were able to find a nice bottle that worked for us.
So, what did we order? I started with Caesars Salad, AED70 for me (anchovies galore, for you purists), and my dining partner had to try the Homemade Ricotta, AED50. My salad was a bit unwieldy (I’d personally like it a bit more chopped – same for the whole anchovies). However, it was as a Caesar should be, same for the ricotta, which disappeared just as quickly. I’ll also take a moment to mention the house-made bread and the heavenly accompaniment – marmite infused butter – which I could literally eat on any product.
After our initial discussion, we had already indicated to Charlie we wanted the last available Flank Steak, AED100 (yes, as Americans this is one of our favorite cuts and nearly IMPOSSIBLE to find in the UAE). We also ordered the Black Onyx Tenderloin, 250g, a bargain at AED260 (the smaller version of this sells for only AED160). It’s also worth noting that the kitchen/Charlie were happy to serve up the steaks Medium Rare on my behalf, then take back to the grill for another amount of time, so my friend’s portion could be served at her preferred Medium. Wins for everyone, and happy to see a place where customers are so well looked after. To accompany our steaks (which were accompanied by a selection of mustards and salts – !), we received Green beans with shallots, AED30, Wagyu Fat Chips (!), AED50, and Green Salad, AED30. There are sauces available, and I took advantage of the homemade Bernaise, AED20, while my dining partner asked for and received a freshly made chimichurri (not even on the menu). Do you need to order sides? Not necessarily, but it’s good to see an offer of traditional accompaniments as one would expect at a steakhouse of this caliber.
For dessert, we opted to split the traditional Sticky Toffee Pudding, which delivered as per the tin (neither my guest and I are typical sweets people, bar the amazing homemade caramels which turned up with our final glass of wine, enjoyed outside).
Were there any additional changes I would suggest? Honestly, the only dish we didn’t care for was the Mac and Cheese, AED90. With two Americans at the table, the mac and cheese was a no go for us (especially for the current price point). However, this is a minor (and subjective) comment. Service, as you might have already guessed, is a highlight here – personable and not the cookie cutter ‘ma’am/sir’ we find so often in the country. Attention to detail puts the restaurant further ahead, and after commenting on how much we loved the marmite infused butter, at the end of the meal, we were presented with our own little containers to take home (which I am trying my best to ration out, and not succeeding).
So, in a face-off between my old favorite Butcher and Still, and Oak Room, who wins? Let me be the food nerd who says, ‘Both.’ Honestly, given how far apart the two are and the completely different vibes they offer up, I would really say they aren’t even competing against each other. Both restaurants ensure a fantastic night out.
Would I go back to Oak Room? Yes, without a doubt.
Who is Oak Room best for? Anyone in Abu Dhabi looking for something new, or an excuse to go out and celebrate.
What’s your favorite steakhouse in Abu Dhabi?
And also – mea culpa – my sincere apologies for a lack of better photography of the Oak Room! I have no excuses and should’ve taken more time to carefully document our meal, but I was having such a great time. I’ll do better next time.
A must visit steakhouse in Abu Dhabi.