For months before we left, I was answering friends' questions “Are you taking your electronics, will they work there?” I would get a knot in my stomach each time and shrug with complete confusion. And finally with some lots of trepidation, we gave away a few lamps and kept a few others.  We decided to lug those that we could not bear to get rid of, across the ocean in a warm shipping container, thinking that we could at least use them as decor. But the rumor was true.  We just needed to pop in a few local light bulbs (don’t try ones from your home country) and Voila!  Illumination.

On an even higher note, according to B, the much more important feat was that our television worked.  Having haphazardly decided to bring our television as well, we scoured the internet reading about how to calculate the watts to check compatibility of one’s television before shoving the plug into the wall.  Without proper calculation, I was warned, we could make our very own, very large, doorstop.  We did some quick math, and feeling oddly confident, plugged in.  Tada!  Ina Garten popped up on the screen with a bowl of ragu (and Arabic subtitles).  We have never been so happy to see her.

 To take a break from all of the things that were starting to go in the right direction for us, (our car was now running again, we had found a place to live, we seemed to be winning our battle with the cockroaches and ants that were trying to show us that our new home was really theirs, and we now had 2 English and 45 Arabic channels to watch on TV at any time)…it was time for dinner at KOI! 

KOI is a recently opened Japanese restaurant at the St. Regis on Saadiyat Island, which is just a 5 minute drive from our flat.  The setting is quiet and calm, with a nice outdoor seating area that is right on the hotel’s main courtyard.  The courtyard, although lined with a few other popular eateries, manages to stay quiet and cool in the night air.  KOI specializes in contemporary Japanese, and also has a large selection of very fresh sushi.  

You start with an amuse bouche from the chef (ours was a rock shrimp with a carrot and peas shoot in a lovely miso-type broth).  We then ordered two of the main fish dishes, both of which were excellently executed: The Miso Bronzed Black Cod, with a medley of vegetables (broccoli, asparagus and carrots), and the Black Sea Bass in a Honey Balsamic Glaze with Shiso-Pea Coulis.  It was easy to see that the chef had obviously cooked a few pieces of fish in his time, as the skin was crispy and the meat was tender, moist and flaky.  Brian ended up asking for a spoon to sip up the last drops of the coulis, and I actually prefer the flavor of sea bass vs. black cod, so I was a little biased as to which was my favorite.  We cleaned both plates.

 Koi is not cheap, but I suppose you pay for what you get. And after a stressful day of calculating wattage and crossing our fingers, KOI was well worth it. 

Koi Restaurant Saadiyat Island,
at The St. Regis Saadiyat Island Resort

Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates

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