PEARL LOUNGE A new lobby lounge with bold ambitions, but is it a success?
At the back of the new Grand Hyatt hotel’s lobby, hidden behind a wall, lies Pearl Lounge, a chic looking location with an alfresco area for the milder months, classy décor including gigantic pearl chandeliers, and a varied menu.
Pearl Lounge is a café that serves salads, sandwiches and mains, but it’s also worth a visit if you have a sweet tooth. The outlet has several glass counters selling plenty of desserts. There’s a daily patisserie section with cheesecakes and profiteroles, an Arabic section selling local treats, plus you can try Turkish delight. There’s a crepe counter as well, and you can buy artisan jams and honeys, and teas made by the hotel. What’s more, you can sip a glasses of champers or a cocktail.
It’s also a live music venue – visit until September 9 to hear Japanese singer-pianist Rié Furuse daily from 5pm to 9pm performing jazz and pop fusion hits.
The a la carte menu is split into sections, one called Classics, which features sandwiches, bagels and spring rolls, plus a Savoury section with bigger dishes. And there are a lot of Asian influences in the latter. What’s On started with a portion of crispy glass noodles and shrimp spring rolls which, while adequate, were ordinary and stingy on the seafood. The bigger dishes fared better, especially a portion of grilled lamb loin with avocado, tomatoes, shallot and green chili and lime dressing. It’s a Thai-inspired plate with incredibly delicate thin strips of lamb, which worked a treat with the avocado. Meanwhile, some cumin dusted chicken satay skewers didn’t set the world alight on their own, because the chicken had a rubbery texture that distracted from the excellent taste. But the accompanying green papaya salad with cashews instantly made us forget our texture woes. It was a highlight. For dessert, make sure you try some of the huge chunks of milk and dark chocolate (made again in-house) although skip the white chocolate cheesecake. It had a bitter taste that confused what was expected to be a smooth, creamy pud. A fruit tartlet with lemon mousse worked well, though, thanks to a sweet glaze.
Pearl Lounge is the sort of place you’d take mum for a coffee and some cake in the afternoon. While the food was decent, it didn’t pull up any trees, but for a posh brew in a regal setting, it works well enough.
Grand Hyatt Abu Dhabi, Ras Al Akhdar, Abu Dhabi, daily 10.30am to midnight. Tel: (02) 3048196. Taxi: Grand Hyatt. abudhabi.grand.hyatt.com