Yeni Lokanta

Turkish cuisine is much more than just kebab, meze or Lachmacun, as we could witness in our last trip to Istanbul, where the mix of ingredients, spices and textures rendered us speechless. A world of new flavours and almost limitless discoveries, paving the way for new restaurants to appear, as well as new chefs willing to take the Turkish cuisine back to older, more relevant times.

One of those restaurants is Yeni Lokanta – just as its name suggests, “new restaurant” – that opened its doors in 2013 through Civan Er, who was looking to stand out in a world of a more informal and sharing cuisine inspired by tradition, taking a more personal approach on the new Anatolian cuisine.

Cocktails with a nice, simple presentation and well-balanced flavours

As soon as we arrived at the restaurant, we could easily understand why the restaurant was so popular for both locals and visitors. The simple and somewhat rustic decoration, with a dimly lit environment, provides a unique ambience to a place where we could stay and enjoy for hours.

Comfortable, and after having decided on the cocktails, we chose the tasting menu for 2, an interesting new way to make its sharing cuisine idea known.

Manti, Antiochian yoghurt

First, one of the most memorable moments of this trip (so much that we ended up visiting another one of this chef’s restaurants just because of it), Manti, ravioli’s Turkish cousin. In this case, with meat filling, a superb yoghurt sauce, as well as pepper and herb oils. An explosion of flavours and sensations where everything comes together in perfection – I could easily eat this every single week.

Köfte tartare, potatoes, sumac and egg yolk.

Tartare inspired by the traditional Turkish meatballs, nicely plated and well-seasoned. On top, a kind of crispy Scottish egg of potato with liquid egg yolk on the inside.

Also noteworthy is the “sauce”, a type of molasses made with sumac (Turkish spice with an acidic flavour that can easily replace lemon).

The sourdough bread garnish is also pretty great!

Beetroot, sour cherry, almond and kaymak

A vegetarian dish, where the main highlights are the textures, as well as the connection between spice, herb oils and sumac. Everything goes along perfectly with kaymak (a thicker and fatter cream, traditionally used in Turkish deserts). A fine dish, even for those who are not so keen on beetroot, such as me.

Öcce, fresh herb fritters, sour cherry ice cream

Herbs instead of the classic zucchini, creating small crunchy balls with ice cream (actually, it was more of a sauce than a sour cherry ice cream). Despite being fresh and with some flavour nuances, it did not live up to the standards set by the dishes we had previously tasted.

Goat cheese, chards, chilli honey, hazelnuts and tamarind

A terrific dish! A rich and creamy cheese, medium grilled that created an interesting crispy top, chards with a nice texture blending perfectly with dried fruits and the balance between the different flavours of the sauces used.

Shrimp and vine leaves tempura

A traditionally Turkish tempura, with classic vine leaves, wrapped shrimps, fried on a crispy, thin batter. As a garnish, a fresh sauce made of yoghurt, chards and ginger. An interesting, simple and successful dish!

Lamb sausage, walnuts, borlotti bean and cucumber

The way the Turkish cuisine includes lamb on its dishes is second-to-none, and the Lamb Sausage is the proof – an explosion of flavours! A fantastic medium grilled lamb sausage, a flavoured cream of beans and nuts, and the contrasting freshness of the cucumber. Again, a simple yet delicious delicacy, well-balanced altogether from the flavour to the combination of different textures.

Octopus, yoghurt and bottarga

The Turkish octopus was never one of my favourite dishes and the one I tried was not an exception. The quality difference between this one and the Portuguese or Spanish octopus gives me mixed feelings, especially regarding its texture. Nevertheless, the freshness and lightness of the garnish, as well as the new dimension brought by the bottarga’s flavour, ended up being a nice addition to the less exciting protein.

Baked Alaska (Turkish version)

Raspberries, meringue, clotted cream and walnut are the ingredients to a well-balanced Turkish version of Baked Alaska.

Mahlep, salted caramel, hazelnut and pumpkin

Or better put, a Turkish panna cotta with salty caramel, Mahlep (a traditional seed used in Turkish bakeries), hazelnut and pumpkin sauce. Great balance on the sugar, nice texture – without the usual surplus of jelly – and excellent combination of flavours. A nice surprise indeed.

We ended up pairing every dish with cocktails, but you cannot go wrong within a wide variety of Turkish wines with plenty to offer.

Final remarks

Turkish cuisine and the traditions of all Anatolia are constantly changing. In a country where traditions try to remain intact, there are more and more young chefs such as Civan Er who try to write and define the future of this country’s cuisine. Not only by being faithful to its tradition, but also by opening the door to the world, to new techniques and more modern plating ideas.

That is exactly what we found at Yeni. Dishes with strong flavours, some of them unknown, a great blend of textures and a lot of freshness. Everything within a very modern and cosmopolitan setting that captivates both the locals and visitors. Well, as for ourselves, we will certainly come back. Especially because, even after several months after this trip, we just cannot forget the Mantis that jump-started this dinner.

Yeni Lokanta
Prices from 40€ – (without wines)
Tomtom, Kumbaracı Ykş. No:66, 34433 Beyoğlu – İstanbul
+90 212 292 25 50

Versão Portuguesa

Photos: Flavors & Senses

Posted in Restaurants | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Lai’Tcha

For those passionate about the pleasures of the table, Adeline Grattard doesn’t need presentations, mostly for her restaurant Yam’Tcha and her presence at the famous Netflix show “Chef’s Table”. Briefly speaking, she studied at the famous Parisian school Ferrandi,  and developed her technique alongside Pascal Barbot at L’Astrance,  and there met her husband Chi Wah Chan, a specialist in tea. Together they embarked on an adventure to Hong Kong, Chi Wah Chan’s hometown, where she discovered a whole new world of flavours, techniques and spices, and learned with the most prestigious chefs in the region.

When returning to Paris, they decided to open their own restaurant, Yam’Tcha, where tea and wine fight for the spotlight alongside their signature dishes, and quickly they won their first Michelin star and became one of the most interesting tables in Paris.

Among several projects, Lai’Tcha is the lastest one, inspired in the typical street drink that combines black tea with condensed milk – a not at all Parisian coffee, full of Hong Kong spirit, with Asian inspired dishes, take out, coffee and the obvious teas, carefully chosen by Chi Wah Chan.

The name would be enough to justify the first visit, however, what took us to Les Halles was an even greater reason. Unable to make a reservation and visit the restaurant during a short stay in Paris, and knowing on Tuesdays the couple is at the kitchen of Lai’Tcha, we went on to a unique tasting of the most relaxed combinations by Adeline Grattard.

King Crab Spring Roll and scallops with spices 
The start of this tasting anticipates a lucky dinner… Starting with the spring roll, with a moist and full of flavour crab, and obviously homemade, well-paired with a barbecue-like sauce, Chinese homemade version. The scallops, cooked with spices, vegetables and the freshness of the coriander to contrast. Great!

Eggplant, seafood and rice 
Followed a comfortable dish of eggplant, stewed with seafood, vegetables and Asian seasonings, served over rice. A light dish, but at the same time with several dimensions of flavours and textures. While not being a great fan of eggplant I could’ve easily eaten two or three bowls, and that says everything about the dish…

Polpette, China vs Italy
An adaptation of the famous Italian meatballs, to the Chinese recipe book, quickly transporting us to a dim sum filling, full of flavour and well balanced by the fuyu and mushroom sauce. The picture does not live up to the taste of the dish!

Grapefruit, Passion fruit and Shiso and Mocchi
The freshness any ending asks for, with a simple but well-executed grapefruit salad, with passion fruit and shiso. Nicely prepared Mochi, with a delicate and soft dough, as it should! Beautiful ending!

The service was simple and discrete, in a calm and super serene environment – it seems not a lot of people know about the chef’s dinners at the restaurant… And for us that turned out great!

Final Remarks

It could be a neighbourhood coffee shop or restaurant, but the food, the concept, and of course the people behind it, make Lai’Tcha a unique experience! For the almost exclusive experience offer, for the most exclusive offer of Hong Kong dishes and food, and for the quality of the produce – Adeline Grattard is proud to keep the same suppliers and producers from her gastronomic restaurant – the visit is more than worthy, as it was at the small Boutique Yam’Tcha. The Tuesday menus with the chef’s signature are the cherry on top of the cake, in one of the best experiences of Chinese influence in the city of light. Oh, and it is said to also have one of the best Brunch in town…

To repeat!

Lai’Tcha
Prices from 33€ – (without wines)
7 rue du Jour – Paris
+33 1 40 26 05 05

Versão Portuguesa

Photos: Flavors & Senses

Posted in Restaurants | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

La Table D’Eugène

Montmartre is a mandatory neighbourhood to visit when in Paris! Besides the hills, the Sacre-Coeur Basilica, the unique view over the rooftops of Paris, the overflow of artists at Place du Tetre, the historical constructions and of course, the bohemian vibe from the 20s or 30s that is still possible to feel in its narrow and sloping streets.

As in any other touristy place, the best option is to flee from spaces with tons of people, feel the atmosphere of the area and its architecture, wandering around its streets while picturing yourselves in the company of Hemingway, Picasso, Monet and many others.

And there is located the La Table D’Eugène, considered by many the best restaurant in this area. Open since 2008, by the hands of Geoffroy Maillard, it started has a classic bistro, but Geoffroy’s schooling –  Le Nôtre, Plaza Athénée with Éric Briffard, and the Epicure at Hotel Le Bristol with Éric Frechon – took him to fine dining, and in 2015 he won his first Michelin start, that he keeps ’till today.

Arriving at the restaurant and after the long curtain, we are surprised by a small, well decorated, and cosy dining room, without the apparent ceremony of a classic Michelin. Warmly welcomed and quickly accompanied to our table, we soon get a small explanation about the concept and menus.

In good French manners, the initial toast is made with Champagne Pierre Gimonnet & Fils 1er Cru, while the first snacks arrived at the table.

Dashi, foie gras and horseradish ravioli

Corn tartelete with salmon roe    

Vegetable tempura with veggie charcoal and spices

We didn’t come with pre-conceived ideas or expectations, but right here we knew we were in for something good in this lunch. Excellent Dashi and tempura!

Scallop Ceviche, radish, meringue and roe 
“Leche” served in a shaker like a cocktail, a dish full of fresh elements and textures, demonstrating the great technical skills of the team. A light and fresh start, with a noteworthy elegance.

Mackerel Gravlax, beetroot aguachile, dashi and hibiscus  
A dish worked from a colour, and from the combination of the interesting mackerel gravlax with more earthy flavours. Technically perfect, with an excellent combination of flavours, I could only acknowledge the gravlax that ends up losing a bit of protagonism, among so many and good elements, textures and flavours.

By the hand of the charming Catherine, at our glasses arrived a Pouilly-Fumé Les Cris 2018 from Domaine A. Cailbourdin, a pure Sauvignon Blanc, fruity and mineral. Went well the cure of the fish and the earthy notes of the dish.

Celery root, pecorino cheese, and smoked butter
The vegetarian dish of the menu was also the most challenging in terms of flavours and textures. The cooking of the root moulded its intensity while giving it a pleasant texture and a flavour that worked perfectly with the smoked notes of the butter and the greasiness of the cheese foam.

To go with, an Arbois Cuvée d’Automne do Domaine de la Pinte, a classic from Jura, in which the complex notes of the Savagnin, moulded by the Chardonnay, resulted in a complex and fresh wine, with the confit and dried fruits notes working very well with the dish.

 Monkfish, cabbage, kale and beetroot
Looking at the plate it was beautiful, and the tasting was amazing! Perfectly cooked monkfish – very rare – well paired with earthy flavours and spicy notes of the pepper used on the fish. A great, great dish!

Pintades, vegetable puree, leek, peanut and mole
Beautiful, full of textures and flavours elevating the pintades to a great level. Another dish where the high level of cuisine practised here was noticeable. And yes, that sauce you see in the picture forced me to keep eating bread (good bread, by the way).

Well paired with a red Languedoc full of red fruits and good structure, a Corbières Rozeta 2017 by Maxime Magnon.

Goats cheese, olives and whisky caramel – a pre-dessert that was also a challenge to taste by the flavours combined. Great! 

Pear, lemon, white chocolate, ginger, lychees and geranium
The dessert was at the same high level of the previous dishes, with the chef once again working well with textures, in a light and fresh ending, as I love.

Chocolate Sphere
When we thought it was over, at our table arrives a classic of the restaurant. The chocolate sphere, covered in chocolate sauce, chocolate ice cream, tonka bean and dentelle crêpes. A piece of sin to those who can’t resist a chocolate dessert. We can’t, at all!

We ended with a Gaillac DouxLoin de L’Oeil du Domaine Plageoles 2016, with its sweetness and aromas working very well with the pear.

The service was flawless throughout lunch, with the dishes well-explained, without rush or pretentiousness.

Final Remarks 
A neighbourhood restaurant, that is much more than that! In a few years, Geoffroy Maillard transformed his small bistro in what he does best, fine dining! Without palatial decorations, or pompous tables like in many other great restaurants in town. The chef accomplished a nice balance between the informal and the refinement, allied to the haute cuisine. The dishes have technical knowledge above average, as well as a surprising capacity for matching flavours.

It was for sure one of the tables that surprised me the most in our last trips to Paris, I’ll gladly return!

La Table D’Eugène
Prices from 38€ – lunch menu (without wines) 
18 rue Eugène Sue – Paris
+33 1 42 55 61 64

Portuguese Version

Photos: Flavors & Senses

Posted in Restaurants | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Maison Favart

At Rue de Marivaux, in the historic square next to Opéra Comique and in the heart of the 2nd district of Paris, is located the elegant Boutique Hotel Maison Favart.
Not being my favorite neighborhood in the eternal City of Light, it is for sure an area that has bohemian energy. It is the neighborhood of the Grands Boulevards, effusive, where music, cinema, and gastronomy lovers come together. As you know, gastronomy is of great importance to us, so we couldn’t miss a visit to the Passage des Panoramas, some restaurants, and wine bars in the area.

Very close, it’s possible to find some of the most iconic places in the city, the Ópera Garnier, the Galeries Lafayette, the Le Printemps, and the Vendôme square.

Maison Favart is full of history, the name comes from the famous Favart couple, responsible for the birth of Opéra Comique in the city.

As we arrive at the hotel, even before entering, the sensation is that we are in front of a dollhouse, elegant and a bit magical with its touches of pink and gray. The facade transports us back in time to a history immersed in the beauty of the XVIII century. When entering, the feeling is of surprise, almost like we’re inside a jewelry case with classical music as ambiance. The entire decor is refined, with velvety fabrics and pastels, grays and pinks as colors.

Comfort and a feeling of well-being are key, but the elegance is constant. An authentic XVIII century style revisited.

We are welcomed by a team with warm smiles, while being served coffee by the fire, waiting for our check-in. From my armchair, I can see the Winter garden located right by the reception. Each corner of the hotel is unique and takes us traveling into the memories of the Favart’s.

Maison Favart has 39 bedrooms, of different types, from the Classic to the Deluxe, the Duplex, or Suite, to the La Petite Maison.

We stayed in a Classic bedroom.

The strong colors of pink contrasted with the serenity of the light coming in from the Place Boieldieu. The decoration was contemporary with some inspiration in the XVIII century. Cozy, comfortable, and similarly to the rest of the hotel, as elegant as a dollhouse.

After a few hours enjoying our room, we went exploring the honesty bar of Maison Favart. Right by the reception, in the same room where breakfast is served, we have a bar space, honesty concept! Where the guests can serve themselves and take note of what they spent. An evening well spent, an idleness moment, and of noble behaviour.

Honesty bar

And speaking of this room, the breakfast is served in a typical Parisian style, and the decoration is the perfect picture of what I’ve saying: this hotel is a jewelry case or a dollhouse. See for yourselves and tell me I’m right about the description?

Another service the hotel provides is the well-being area, with a warm pool with a waterfall, and “mirror cloud”, a sauna and a massage room, with an excellent water bed that provides a true refuge of the Parisian bustle in this time of the year.

Here we can also find a small gym to help with the huge consumption of food and wine form our stay!!

Another activity that Maison Favart promotes is viticulture – the Domaine de la Soucherie  – that can welcome guests for a stay at its Maison des Amis, and its four elegantly decorated rooms, or just for a visit to the property and a wine tasting, with an astonishing view over the valley, just 2h30 away from Paris.

Maison Favart is a small and magical place in the center of Paris. A boutique hotel that takes us back to childhood and that safe space.

A house with the glamour of another Era, where smiles and reminders from other centuries fill our souls!


Maison Favart
Bedrooms from 270€
5, rue de Marivaux – Paris
+33 1 42 97 59 83
contact@lamaisonfavart.com

Portuguese Version

Photos: Flavors & Senses

Posted in Hotels | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Zuma Dubai

Trendy, trendy, trendy! Many are the restaurants where “to see and be seen” are the motto, few or none are able to keep the high standards of Zuma – there are more than 10 restaurants across the world, thousands of clients, thousands of dishes and an always high standard.

Zuma Dubai is the standard-bearer of the group, founded in 2002 by Reiner Becker and Arjun Waney, so we couldn’t miss a visit on our first trip to Dubai. An accomplishment no one can take away from Zuma is being the most celebrated restaurant in Dubai, and that’s huge! Even more in a city where everything happens and new high-quality restaurants open all the time.

Getting a table is not easy, but a good concierge is the half away through and they were able to fit us on the first lunch hour! We arrived 5min before the opening and could see at a distance the entire team’s briefing, a mix of demand with a motivation and energy session, quickly each element went to their position and we were quickly accompanied to our table.

The space is divided into different floors and lives of natural light and a cosmopolitan decoration where comfort is king and long balconies, where we can follow their work, both at the robata and the sushi bar.

Comfortably seated and flawlessly served, we started by the cocktails as mandatory, being the bar one of the strengths of the restaurant.

Rikka tonic

 Hamachi usuzukuri, ponzu and truffle oil 
The most famous dish at Zuma, and the most copied one – thin slices of Hamachi covered with a ponzu sauce, prepared with truffle oil. Opposite from what we usually taste in the “copies” the false aroma of the oil is not overpowering, letting the fish shine and the freshness of ponzu gives it a bit more complexity.

Scallops, Umeboshi and mentaiko
Hokkaido scallops, prepared on the Robata, served on point with a bit of umeboshi and mentaiko roe. Tasty and delicate!

Chicken Karaage
Boneless chicken tights, breaded and fried with a slightly spicy sauce. A nice snack, from the texture to the succulence and the flavor. Addictive!


Geshi smash

Sashimi
Different fish slices, with highlight to the presentation and the quality of the tuna. Nicely sliced fish, but not surprising.

Nigiri premium
A selection of the best nigiri created at the restaurant, with highlight to the tuna toro with sea urchin, the prawn with summer truffle, the eel, and of course, the fresh wasabi, and real, that for those who never tasted it before makes all the difference! Perfectly cooked rice and nicely sliced fish.

More cocktails – I didn’t even want them! 

Passionfruit souffle, Sesame ice cream 
Masterfully prepared souffle, with a hot and creamy filling, contrasting really well with the temperature and taste of the ice cream. A delicate and delicious ending!

The service was perfect, from the recommendations to the mise en scène, everything went by quickly and with a contagious good mood, especially if you take into account the number of guests they serve daily.

Final Remarks
Zuma is, for more than 10 years now, the busiest restaurant in Dubai, becoming almost like a ritual for the expacts that go there. Being trendy and hype is something relatively easy to accomplish these days, you need good taste and money to invest, the hard part is getting all this with the resource to good quality products, above-average consistency, both in the service and the food.

It’s far from being unforgettable, or a unique experience for experienced guests, especially taking the prices into account, however, the entire experience is high level and it’s a mandatory visit for those going to Dubai.

Zuma Dubai
Prices from 50€ – Lunch Menu (without wines)
Dubai Mall Fashion Avenue Ground Floor nº203
+971 4 32 00 477

Portuguese Version

Photos: Flavors & Senses

Posted in Restaurants | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Leonardo

Seeing a restaurant inside a museum is something we are all used to, but if, suddenly, the idea was to put a museum inside a restaurant? So thought the minds behind the Egyptian group Stella di Mare, when deciding the theme for their first restaurant in Dubai.

And the theme for the museum? Who other than Leonardo da Vinci, as the name states right away, Leonardo!

Located in the incredible Dubai Marina, with direct entrance from the street, we are just a short elevator trip from the grand dining room, of nicely worked details, warm and romantic ambiance and full of different da Vincci works.

Warmly welcomed, with several Italians in the team. The trip to the table is not easy, because we can’t take our eyes away from all the replicas of the Renaissance master. You know about our love for the Renaissance, right?

 Comfortably seated, everything is pristine, from the chairs to the towel, glasses and the funny position of the napkins. In the meantime, a great variety of bread quickly arrives at the table.

Basket with different slices of bread, with highlight to the great Foccacia and the amuse bouche – a delicious lamb Agnolotti with mushroom sauce

Salmon, tuna sauce and coriander powder 
A version of the Vitello Tonnato where the meat is replaced by a mi-cuit of cold salmon – I don’t know if that was the intention, but in my opinion, warm would be more interesting! Nice combo with the sauce and the salty notes of the capers.

Zucchini sformatino, fresh tomato soup
A good version of a classic, making me travel for a moment to the hands of Fabio Picci, the Florentine master at Cibrèo. Excellent texture and a simple and delicate flavor!

Cacio e Pepe
One of my favorite Roman classics, Cacio & Pepe, that lives of the mix of cheese and pepper, as the name indicates. In this version, accompanied by two crunchy bacon slices. Good spaghettoni, perfectly cooked, while the flavor was somewhat amiss, lacking more pepper and a creamier sauce with the pasta.

Hare Tortelli, cannellini bean cream and rosemary sauce 
Super high level, with the pasta on point and the right amount of filling to the portion of pasta. Nicely connected with the cream and the aromatic sauce. A beautiful dish!

Duck Magret, sprouts, mango, and grapefruit sauce
Nicely pink duck, as it should, tender and tasty, and weirdly going very well with the mango sauce, mostly because of the less sweet link of the grapefruit with the bitterness of the sprouts. A good dish.

Coffee Slush, chocolate mousse, vanilla cream, and crunchy rice and Hazelnut Semifreddo with vanilla cream 
Positive notes to the desserts as well, with highlight to the nice combination of textures and flavors of the coffee and chocolate dessert, as well as the dried fruit and seeds crisp, accompanying the well-accomplished semifreddo.

On the glass, we opted for Italian wines, namely the white Sicilian Ca’di Ponti Catarratto, a dry white of a less known caste, resulting in a simple wine with a good aromatic side, and a red, the Piemonte Barbera 2018 Araldica, an easy wine, unpretentiousan everyday Piemonte.

The service went along with the greatest of the professionalisms, technically correct and with a good environment.

Final Remarks
In a city with a bit of everything, another Italian restaurant is not immediately the recipe for success, so here was created a unique room, with a romantic atmosphere, and where the work of a great name of our history is displayed.

The room and the quality of the service are the great highlights of this restaurant, and the cuisine complements the entire environment and scenario created.

 

Leonardo Dubai
Prices from 50€ (without wines)
Stella Di Mare Hotels & Resorts
Al Mattla’ee Street – Dubai
leonardo.dubai@stelladimare.com

Versão Portuguesa 

Photos: Flavors & Senses

Posted in Restaurants | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Park Hyatt Dubai

In my mind, Dubai was like a science fiction movie, where I would feel a part of a world from 2100! I thought of it as a bustling, chaotic and crazy city, as well as ultra-expensive and without interest for a possible trip!

Oh, I was so wrong!!! Not about everything, it is for sure a science-fiction scenario!

Arriving in Dubai, coming from the calm and paradise-like Abu Dhabi creates an impact that is as exciting, as it is weird! Impossible to calculate the height of the gray skyscrapers! Dubai is around an hour away from Abu Dhabi by taxi, and the taxis are very affordable, even on longer trips.

As soon as we arrived in Dubai we immediately realize the city is constantly mutating! I believe when I return there will be a few more skyscrapers!

We booked this trip in order to get some rest, 2019 was being a very chaotic year and all I needed was to calm down a bit, and I managed that (for me, calming down is a true miracle!) in Abu Dhabi, but arriving in crazy Dubai I didn’t think that would continue! And again… I was completely wrong! And the big responsible for that was Park Hyatt Dubai, a true oasis in the center of this bustling city.

I can start by telling you about our first day with our cicerone, our long time friend, Nelson Catanho, who lives in Dubai for a long time now, and who took us to brunch. It seems that Fridays in Dubai are like our Sundays, for Brunch day and dolce far niente!

And if you think there’s no alcohol in Dubai…Well… You’re wrong! You can drink, and a lot!!! But let’s leave those stories and on to what matters! Our “little” refuge – Park Hyatt Dubai!

First Impression
We arrived at the hotel already at night, and it was superimposing even without a lot of light.

Located in the complex of Dubai Creek Golf & Yacht Club, Park Hyatt Dubai is the true meaning of a luxury escape in the most idyllic location. We are near the bustle of the city, but almost hidden in a different world, where serenity reigns1

Arriving at the lobby was like entering a One thousand and one night’s movie, with a mostly Arabic decoration and rich details.

The check-in was quick, and we were accompanied right away to our bedroom, and in a car! As the hotel is very big, and in order for the guest to rest, we are taken by car to our room, and what a room!!!

Bedrooms
The hotel has 223 bedrooms and 34 suites, all of them with an amazing view for the Dubai Creek.

Our room, with a small garden and direct access to the Marina, became the perfect refuge in the morning, with nature sounds as background.

Huge, with the perfect decoration, combining Arabic details with a modern style, the bathroom was the perfect place for me. A bathtub in the center, surrounded by mirrors making the perfect barrier with the rest of the room, a roomy shower and a closet next to the mirrors.

The bedroom was perfectly set for a calm wake up, with the bed facing the garden and the Marina.

The subtle orange, brown and beige tones led us to relaxation.

Brasserie du Park

Restaurants
Quality gastronomy, elegant decoration, and amazing views are all features of the bars and restaurants of Park Hyatt Dubai. Here we can find western, Thai and French gastronomy. Let’s start with the Brasserie du Park – with a touch of French cuisine, here we delighted ourselves every day with an amazing breakfast.

At Noépe, we are graced with the best views over the elegant marina and enjoy a summer vibe, easily taking us to Ibiza or Mykonos, where the white and blue make part of the decoration and where we can relax protected from the bustle of the city.

Noépe

Here we had a nice dinner and tasted a series of snacks highlighting the seafood.

Seafood dish at Noépe

The highlight of the dinner goes to the seafood dish, full of clams mussels, shrimp, oysters, and lobster. Then a nice combo of snacks, like tuna ceviche, shrimp. fried squid and to finish a nice slow roasted rib.

My mandatory dose of sugar!

One of the places I loved the most was the Seventyseventy!

A refined space, inspired by the elegant design of the early ’70s.

Seventyseventy

The fashion, design and position make of this space a place for clients looking for sophistication.

With signature cocktails, to fall in love with before dinner, or in the end of the night with music, marking our vacations with a unique moment.

Another space is The Thai Kitchen, that uses traditional ingredients directly imported from Thailand. We didn’t get the chance to visit.

The Shisha Lounge was one of my favorite spaces for the warm nights we had there. A lounge where comfort is the main concern, with sofas, pillows, candles, a coffee, and shisha Arab cuisine, and a view to the picturesque marina and Dubai Creek.

One of the places we made the most of was the pool and the Pool Bar, located in the calm environment of the pool.

Elegant decoration with Arab details, the scenario was set to end our days in total relaxation!

For those staying for long periods at the hotel and wishes to have even more variety in terms of food, there are more options around the extense complex of the Dubai Creek Golf & Yacht Club – the Casa de Tapas, the Boardwalk, the Cielo Sky Lounge, and the QD’s Bar & Grill.

The Lagoon
Services

I’m not gonna elongate about the services of any five-star hotel, mainly being a Hyatt group hotel. Those following the blog already know the luxury to which the Hyatt group has gotten us used to.

Here at Park Hyatt Dubai we really have to mention a space – The Lagoon! An authentic oasis in the heart of the hotel. Located in the margins of the Dubai Creek, this majestic lagoon with an infinity pool effect also includes a beautiful private beach.

A refuge of white sand and warm water, where we can almost feel the bustle of the frantic Dubai from afar. The private spots along the lagoon are the perfect place for a memorable sunset.

It was for sure my spot this vacation!

The pool surrounded by the garden the Amara Spa are also of hightlight, and delights the youngest and the families, but he lagoon is easily the favorite spot for couples, as it is more intimate and calm.

Park Hyatt Dubai is also the perfect place for golf lovers, being inserted in a golf complex.

Service
The Hotel has what I call a perfect balance in terms of service. Feeling all the privacy in the world, but whenever you need something there’s someone with you right away.

One of my favorite spots 

For example, spending the day at the lagoon and suddently thinking: “this heat deserved something refreshing12, you open your eyes and there’s staff handing out ice cream. That is the dynamic of the hotel. Always caring for the needs of its guests, without invading their privacy!

Imagine yourselves in a city that doesn’t seem to sleep and a city that enters our mind like it’s going to own us… that city is Dubai!

But imagine you can be in such a place and be protected in a paradise like place – that place is Park Hyatt Dubai!

Park Hyatt Dubai
Bedrooms from 170€
PO Box 2822, Dubai – United Arab Emirates
+971 4 602 1234
dubai.park@hyatt.com

Versão Portuguesa

Photos: Flavors & Senses

Posted in Hotels | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Din Tai Fung Dubai

Din Tai Fung is well known for those who like gastronomy, famous for its xiao long bao and all the dim sum classics, handmade in each of their stores. Nowadays, this little Taiwanese restaurant, born in the ’70s, is one of the world’s biggest restaurant chains, present all around the globe, but always with the same focus from its beginning – good products, handmade food, freshly cooked, and a quick and caring service.

Taking my passion for Chinese food into account, and particularly for a good dim sum, I had to take this chance to visit one of its spaces during our stay in Dubai, more precisely the store at Dubai Mall. We visited during the Ramadan, so the affluence was made of tourists and foreigners, so we were quickly accompanied to our table.

Nothing to highlight the decoration, but that’s not why we’re there, although the view to the famous Dubai Mall fountain and to the Burj Khalifa are worthy of highlighting. That, and of course, the possibility to see the team hand preparing our dim sum.

The speed at which they prepare those small pieces of food is an attraction by itself 

Here there’s no pork, with respect to the locals, so the chicken and lamb take the spotlight in this adaptation of the Chinese cuisine classics.

Chicken and shrimp Shumai  
A nicely prepared classic, with juicy chicken, perfect dough and shrimp. A beautiful start!

Xiao long bao of chicken and crab 
These are the image of the house and we easily realize why! Delicate presentation, perfectly folded, and with a delicious filling, that when eaten by the xiao long bao rules, transforms into the ultimate comfort food.

Shrimp and chicken Jiaozi 
This traditional Chinese dish gave origin to the famous Japanese gyozas. I wish they could always be served like these, thin-crust, super crunchy, contrasting with the softness of the remaining dough and the juiciness and flavor of the filling. Perfect!

Wonton soup, of chicken and shrimp with noodles
Soup might not be the best dish when its 40ºC outside, but this perfect chicken broth, the texture of the noodles and the amazing wontons made it very worthwhile. Delicious!

Final Remarks
When Bing Yi-Yang and his wife decided to transform their oil store into a xiao long bao selling balcony, they were far from imagining the lengths the name of their little Taiwanese shop would travel. They’re everywhere these days, and even conquered the so desired Michelin star in Hong Kong, assuring that what they do, is really well made. In Dubai, the experience is quite unique, due to the pork substitution, usually more tasty and moist, by the chicken, but even so, the result is so positive we don’t even wish for a different filling.

Now I just have to anxiously wait to travel to a destination where there’s a Din Tai Fung around the corner for another comforting, tasty and pleasurable feast!

Din Tai Fung Dubai – The Dubai Mall
Prices from 25€ (without wine)
Dubai Mall Fashion Avenue Ground Floor nº203
+971 4 32 00 477

Versão Portuguesa

Photos: Flavors & Senses

Posted in Restaurants | Tagged , , , , , , | 1 Response

Park Hyatt Abu Dhabi

Sometimes all we need is to get away from reality, and to achieve that, what better than an authentic The Thousand and One Nights scenario?

That’s why we chose Park Hyatt Abu Dhabi. Hyatt is always a synonym of luxury and of the welcoming art. It’s one of those groups that our followers know never disappoints us, and the idea of spending a few days at Park Hyatt Abu Dhabi was the promise of a refuge, exciting and relaxing at the same time!

And so it was! But we’ll get to that in a bit.

Location and first impression
Park Hyatt Abu Dhabi Hotel and Villas is conveniently located at Saadiyat beach and close to every important thing in this region. The airport, the main financial and commercial areas, the golf courses, main attractions and just a few minutes from the cultural district of Saadiyat.

Making it very easy to visit the most famous places, like the Sheikh Zayed Mosque and the iconic Louvre Abu Dhabi.

As soon as we arrive at the hotel, it’s greatness caused inevitable fascination.

A breathtaking lobby, simple decoration, with neutral colors mixed with warm colors, and ambiance music taking us to a scene of the famous movie.

The lobby, huge, thus less intimate, but with a very calm environment transmitting a sense of privacy.

The team, quite nice and effective during check-in, then accompanied us to the bedroom.

Bedrooms
The hotel has 306 bedrooms, some normal bedrooms, other suites, and some villas.

We stayed in a King Bed with sea views. Contemporary decoration with Arabic details making it as comfortable as luxurious.

Waiting for us were several types of fruit, dry fruits, and pastries. Small details that make all the difference, with the same being restocked every day and showcasing the several products of the region.

The bedroom, with around 50m2, had a marble bathroom, quite spacious, with a king-size bed, extremely comfortable, office space and a sofa giving more comfort to the room.

The ex-libris? A balcony with a breathtaking view over the beach and the Saadiyat beach, where I had one of the best experiences of this stay… on the first day I woke up at 6 am, and without disturbing a sleeping João, I decided to enjoy the perfect silence of the sunrise and the peace sensation the ocean transmits.

Restaurants
The hotel has four options, and one of those divides into two.

The Park Grill

The Park Bar & Grill is the awarded restaurant of Park Hyatt Abu Dhabi, going from the excellent charcoal-grilled meats to the tasty seafood, and Asian dishes.

We had an amazing dinner at the terrace, with the warm night of Abu Dhabi as our companion. Good product, worked with simplicity, as intended at a restaurant where the grill has the spotlight.

Tuna tartar

Grilled lobster

From the tuna tartar to the Wagyu beef, the grilled lobster or the black truffle pide, the cooking was on point, by the hands of a Brazilian chef passionate by the grill.

The night views of The Park Grill are halfway to an excellent meal

This restaurant has also an upstairs floor The Park Bar, with a great selection of cocktails and a vibrant ambiance. Here we tasted an Asian inspired menu, where Vietnamese and Thai cuisines stand out. Accompanying, a unique tasting of cocktails to celebrate our first Arabic evening!

The Park Bar

An Asian inspired negroni 

The meal was light, fresh and of great pleasure, as expected in this region. Highscore to the Pho, the Vietnamese tacos and the shrimp curry.

All delicious!

The hotel has also one of the most cosmopolitan terraces in Abu Dhabi – the Beach House.

Beach House

A space that conquered tourists and locals, for its astonishing views over the beach, the music, and of course, the Mediterranean cuisine where the Spanish flavors and the tapas are the main references.

We had the chance to have lunch here after an amazing morning of sun and sea. Starting with cocktails (you know me!) and ending with a great crema Catalana as dessert.

The great shrimp al ajillo at the Beach House

The breakfast spot, and one of the most important spaces for me (those who read my articles know my love for breakfasts), its The Café.

Open all day, serving Middle Eastern specialties and international cuisine.

The Café

As to breakfast itself, I couldn’t ask for more, from natural juices to pastries, from international classic cuisine to middle eastern cuisine, gluten-free, etc, nothing was left to chance.

  Last, but not least, we have The Library.

A contemporary tea room serving different coffees and teas, besides chocolates and homemade sweets.

With its orange leather details, black marble and fireplace, it invites us to unique idleness moments.

Services
The truth is that when you stay at a Hyatt hotel, there is almost nothing the guest can’t get because the most important is that the guest feels such complete happiness he wants to come back.

So, besides all the services that come with any luxury hotel, Park Hyatt Abu Dhabi has the privilege of being literally on the Saadiyat beach, allowing its guests to enjoy the thin sand beach and the warm sea.

One of the things that surprised me the most in this trip to UAE was to find a beach like Saadiyat, so serene, crystal clear water and perfect temperature, allowing me to relax and feel inside an authentic oasis, without having to go to the traditional beach paradises to enjoy a beach.

The several pools and jacuzzis along the hotel assure fun and relaxation, to the younger as well as the eldest.

And although liking the beach, I love pools! And there I spent most of my time during this stay, mostly because the pool complex was so big we were able to be alone for a great part of the day, and also because there were specific places and pools for children, the silence was a constant, and lastly, but most importantly, because it was closer to the bar, so the cocktails arrived quicker to me!!

Its gym and spa allow even more relaxation moments and the absence from the real world.

It’s important to mention that these days I already consider myself as a physical activity lover (not really, but I do exercise!) and so right on the first day  I was a client of the gym. The first and the only day!!

The reception of Atarmia Spa The relaxing private pool of the Spa

There’s a lot of activities you can do through the hotel, for that, you just have to contact the concierge and do it all to your own liking. A boat tour, a walk around town, visiting any of the places of interest, or even the opportunity to enjoy other beaches or some of the famous amusement parks of Abu Dhabi. Everything is possible in this Park Hyatt!

During our stay in Abu Dhabi, we opted to visit two major places, the Sheik Zayed Mosque with its unpaired greatness and the Louvre Abu Dhabi with its baffling architecture.

The hotel is not only an amazing beach resort focused on leisure and relaxation, but it’s also the perfect place for conferences and congresses with its six rooms for the effect.

But these rooms are not only for work! Whatever you are celebrating, moment or date, Park Hyatt Abu Dhabi will help you prepare the happiest and most important day ever!

This space is truly the perfect place for a fantastic vacation, honeymoon, vacation with friends or with family. It really was everything I needed at the moment we went on this trip!

O Park Hyatt Abu Dhabi is an authentic oasis we don’t ever want to leave, and just want to be lost in a one thousand and one night’s mystical story.

From the dreamlike location to the nice staff and the diverse services, everything in this oasis makes us leave already wanting to come back soon.

And so,

See you soon Park Hyatt Abu Dhabi!

Park Hyatt Abu Dhabi
Bedrooms from 315€
PO Box 2822, Abu Dhabi – United Arab Emirates 
+971 2 407 1234
abudhabi.park@hyatt.com

Versão Portuguesa

Text: Cíntia Oliveira Photos: Flavors & Senses

Posted in Hotels | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Jòia par Hélène Darroze

Hélène Darroze is a very well known name, and if the majority of the French know her as jury of the famous Top Chef, gastronomers know her every step from birth. Born in a historic family of cooks, she graduated in management, and it was while managing the restaurant Louis XV of Alain Ducasse, that the famous chef incentivated her to turn to the stoves, and gladly he did, she went from Ducasse’s kitchen to win her first Michelin star in the “old” family restaurant, to her arrival in Paris, where she achieved the two Michelin stars, to arriving in London where nowadays has also two stars, and of course, to the award of best female chef in the world in 2015.

Hélène, as a celebrety should, decided to take her cuisine to a larger public, and democratize bistronomie, installing herself in the 8th neighborhood of Paris with the Jòia, a space far from the gastronomic line, where the goal is clearly taking to her guests a type of cuisine you usually cook at home for friends and family.

If the cuisine gets inspiration from Hélène’s origins, of Southwest France and the Basque country, the image of the restaurant gets the influence of the years passed in England. On the ground floor, the spotlight goes to the tall tables and the kitchen, on the upper floor it all changes. An elegant cocktail bar and a room filled with sofas, books and warm colors making us feel at home!

Already installed, there’s no way around the signature cocktails, an extensive menu carefully prepared and where the highlight goes to this Gioia with vodka Grey Goose, Martini Ambrato, bergamot, absinthe Larusée, grapefruit and soda. Very good!

Terrine with Sicilian pistachio 
The beginning couldn’t be more of an indicator of what we came here to taste and share. Nicely prepared terrine, good size, texture and flavor. Very well accompanied with good quality bread and pickles.

Landes Foie Gras, timut pepper 
Another product from her region worked with excellence, here with a great quality mi-cuit, both in texture and in flavor, and very well paired with the delicious chutney.

Egg and truffle 
Light, unctuous, and familiar, are three adjectives that very much describe this dish, with the perfectly cooked egg, the black truffle, the leaves, and the crunchy toast.

Landes chicken, Brioche and foie
The majority of the dishes is prepared for two people, and this one was no exception and couldn’t have been more “homy”! Perfectly cooked meat, benefiting from the brioche and the foie used under the skin to enhance the flavor. To go with we chose a leaf salad and crispy potatoes with brébis cheese, that fulfilled their purposes well!

Matcha mille fuille, yuzu cream
The most famous and “instagrammable” dessert of the restaurant, that lives of its looks, but the the lightness of the layers, with the creamy and rich mascarpone and yuzu cream, are a winning surprise.
Chocolate tart, buckwheat ice cream 
By far one of the best chocolate tarts I ever tasted… Perfect technique, thin dough, creamy filling, sweet enough, good quality chocolate. The unusual choice of buckwheat for pairing the chocolate was also very well-accomplished. A round of applause to the baker, please!

During this lunch, we drank a nice Chardonnay, Burgundy 2016, from Domaine de Béru. The wine list has the singularity of containing wines produced by women only, like the case of our Filipa Pato.

The service went accordingly to the expected, very diligent, quite effective and with the right combination of niceness and accuracy only the French can do.

Final Remarks 
With this Jòia, Hélène Darroze decided to play outside her usual game, bringing to the table her comfort food and memories, executed with rigor and products of great quality and, of course, the right prices for those. Jòia is one of those spaces that’ll live despite the name, and where we can find those enchanted with the tv star, the foodies and people who simply want to eat and enjoy the nice cocktail list. A cozy space where you want to stay and enjoy the small things of life, worked with mastery.

Ps: the lunch menu with options at 24€  and 29€ is usually a success!

Jòia par Hélène Darroze
Prices from 60€ (without wines)
39 rue des Jeuneurs – Paris
+33 (0) 1 40 20 06 06
reservation@joiahelenedarroze.com

Versão Portuguesa

Photos: Flavors & Senses

Posted in Restaurants | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment
  • FLAVORS & SENSES AWARDS

  • PARTNERS

    Seeing the World with

    Travelling with

    In the Company of




  • Meta