Marco Pierre White Steakhouse and Grill
The Michelin-starred chef has several Abu Dhabi restaurants, and a few more up the road in Dubai, and each has its merits. The Steakhouse & Grill, located in the Fairmont , is the original and, for many, remains the best articulation of his British classics cooked with Gallic knowhow.
There’s a maturity and drama to this place that is apparent from the first glimpse of the “flame wall”, a back-lit furnace feature that offers a centrepoint to the brown-and-gold décor. The dining area manages to be bother romantic with sleek, with elegant table settings and sophisticated, understated décor. It all reeks five star.
The steak is, of course, the main attraction here, and with good reason. No hardened carnivore will have much cause to regret ordering the Hawkes Bay Grass-fed Chateaubriand, which is easily enough for two, or the fall-off-the-fork Master Kobe, marble score 9+.
As with all steakhouses, the non-meat dishes have to work that bit harder to catch the diner’s eye, but there are several options that ought to be considered before picking up the steak knife. The curried Alaskan Black Cod, for example, is a gourmet take on the classic, fish and chips, this time accompanied by a minted pea puree in place of the customary mushy peas and crispy quinoa – a completely new addition. It’s packed with flavour and, though little resemblance can be made between this and the British original, it retains the satisfaction value that makes the combination such a staple in English pubs.
Another gem on the menu here is the plate of Kelly oysters. Not strictly British, but prepared in the best Irish manner, either with bacon cream and a baked herb crust or spiced up with a drizzle of lemon and tobasco, these delicacies come straight from Galway Bay. Back in English waters, Pierre White’s Dover Sole, served a la Meuniere, was beautifully cooked, although may have benefitted from more seasoning, which seemed to be a trend in most of the mains we sampled.
Sides are varied and plentiful with a creamed spinach that comes with tomatoes and pine nuts, onion rings boasting a crispy parmesan herb crust and asparagus poached in a rich butter sauce.
Ultimately, everything here is delicate and almost always successful balance between tradition and innovation. It remains at the upper end of the cost spectrum but you are paying for Pierre White’s best achievement in the UAE