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55&5th, The Grill, The St. Regis Saadiyat Island Resort, Abu Dhabi

55&5th, The Grill, is the signature venue at The St. Regis Saadiyat Island Resort, Abu Dhabi. Inspired by the address of the original St. Regis New York, this classic grill and lounge offers fine dining steakhouse-style.

As a venue, 55&5th has presence in abundance. With its grand and lofty interior making an impactful first impression, one immediately feels a sense of occasion upon arrival. Dark wood and leather provide the perfect backdrop for the traditional fare that is served here, but the glamorous contemporary backlighting and marble cladding on the walls hint that one is to expect something far more theatrical and creative than your average cut of meat.

We are given a warm welcome from the chicly clad hostess who guides us to the grand marble bar where the resident Mixologist offers us a mouth-watering array of signature cocktails and aperitifs. Knowing that we have a gastronomic feast to look forward to, we opt for a simple welcome drink to whet the appetite and as we sit back, relax and enjoy, an impeccably dressed waiter serves us homemade potato chips – still warm from the oven – and some chili popcorn.

Once we are ready to move to the table, we are led through to the grand central atrium of the main restaurant and up some steps to a gallery-style area boasting cosy romantic booths for a more intimate dining experience. As we are handed the a la carte menu, the charismatic Chef de Cuisine, Kreaton Cutajar, joins us at our table to offer us the spoiling option of creating our own tasting menu from the a la carte dishes, or choosing the tasting menu currently on offer to diners, which was designed by Kreaton himself in order to showcase the restaurant’s signature dishes. One look at the latter and we are sold! We also opt for the grape pairing as the reputation of the resident Sommelier and her team suggests that doing so will compliment the flavours of the food and enhance the gastronomic experience still further – we are not disappointed.

To start with, we are treated to an amuse-bouche of Boudeuse Oyster with Sweet corn Royale, tempura oyster and Sturia caviar, which offered a combination of textures with the crunchiness of the tempora juxtaposed with the creaminess of the Sweet corn Royale. Next, we are served a Classic Tartare of Wagyu Striploin 9+ artistically presented with gherkin, shallots, Dijon mustard, Worcestershire sauce and caviar garnish. This was a favourite dish for us as the tartar was packed full of flavour and the meatiness of the high grade Wagyu in the tartare was truly satisfying. A lighter dish of Loch Fyne Scallops with Tonka bean muesli, pickled topinambour and foie gras pudding followed, which provided light relief before the main dish of Wagyu, 150 Grams: Wagyu striploin grade 9+ garnished with smoked organic egg yolk, truffles and a pomme Berny accompaniment. The Wagyu steak was the pièce de resistance and the highlight of our meal. The world-class steak knife sliced through the soft pink meat as though it was butter and the shallots and garnishes were the perfect accompaniment. Despite feeling almost defeated by the generous portions thus far, we couldn’t resist the warm chocolate fondant for dessert. Served in a mini latte-style cup complete with what we had noticed as being Chef’s signature ornate presentation, this was the perfect end to a divine meal and an insightful culinary journey.

Winner of BBC Good Food Middle East’s Best Restaurant 2013, Abu Dhabi
What’s On Abu Dhabi’s Best Steakhouse 2013
Time Out Abu Dhabi’s Highly Recommended Steakhouse 2013
For more information, or to make a reservation, please visit: www.55and5thabudhabi.com ; call: Phone: (971)(2) 4988888; or Email: reservations.saadiyat@stregis.com