Sergi Arola's Tapas (and Tattoos) at P&C

One of the best (and most romantic, wink wink) views in Abu Dhabi is from the Shangri La Hotel. Last night, at the relatively new restaurant and bar, P&C by Sergi Arola (the two Michelin star Catalonian chef), I realized that there are only few places that can really be better than the warm night air, as you sip a glass of cava with a stellar view of the illuminated Grand Mosque just across the water. And I guess I am not the only one that noticed.  While I was simply trying to order drinks for B and I at the bar, a thin Norwegian man with a mustache strait out of the 70's, decided that he wanted to chat me up.  While I was nicely trying for 10 minutes to end the conversation that he had started, by eagerly flipping the pages of the cocktail menu and simultaneously attempting to wave down the incredibly busy bar tender, B just sat at our table laughing and taking photos of the awkward interaction!  By the time we got our drinks he admitted he was actually jealous for a minute, until he saw the mustache.

Having ordered two of the inventive gin cocktails (there is an extensive focus on Gin), we sucked down our last sips of juniper, while the dance floor was already rockin'.  We slipped thorough the crowd and out of the bar to meet some friends and Sergi Arola himself for dinner.  (I know! Who gets to eat with the chef of the actual restaurant??  Well I swear it is something that everyone should do because it really makes you understand the inspiration behind the food.)  It was quickly easy to see Sergi's laid back style.  With his demin shirt sleeves rolled up to expose only half of his tattooed arms, he greeted us all with open arms and his glowing smile.  The purpose of our dinner was to try some of Sergi's favorite dishes from his very modern Spanish menu. "Tapas and Tattoos'!  He exclaims, laughing, referring to his tattooed arms and our eagerly awaited dinner. He then told us a story about how the two were actually very equally combined in a shop in Madrid. 

Sergi, may be a Michelin chef, but he manages to squeeze in more than just his seventeen restaurants. Being a rock guitar musician with two young daughters, we were lucky to snag him during one of  his rare times to relax.  We started the meal with the all time favorite Patatas Bravas,  but these were a little different than the pile of potatoes that you find in most every Spanish bar.  These were perfectly refined bite-sized cylinders of potato stuffed with the flavorful bravas sauce and topped with a dollop of mayonnaise (a familiar staple of Spanish cuisine).  Another favorite was the Bocata de Calamaras (little calamari sandwiches), crispy fried calamari on two thin toasts of squid ink.  And, as Sergi advised, perfect for avoiding a hangover after a night of too many dirty martinis (his favorite cocktail).

Each tapas was masterfully (i.e. madly) modern, such as his Asparagus from Ground to Table, in which you pick a small spear with your fingers from a bowl where it is "growing" from a fluffy cloud of asparagus puree with a covering of (what was standing in for the garden's soil) almond and black olive crumble. 
After a few more tapas and already a few glasses of an all too drinkable red sangria, we were ready for our main course, Seafood Paella.  With a base of golden saffron rice, this traditional dish was a nice balance to our modern start.  It was served in a hot cast iron pot that was meant to be shared. With plenty of seafood there were clams, langoustines, white fish, and even a few tentacles!

 While discussing the theory of having two stomachs, one for dinner and one for dessert (obviously our dessert stomachs were far too empty to make it home), we ordered his featured twist on the savory Patatas Bravas.  Only this time they were cold.... and pineapple, not potato.  And the bravas sauce was raspberry instead.  The whole bite was completely covered in a thin shield of white chocolate and topped with a dollop of coconut foam (standing in for the mayo). 
That's a Michelin chef for you! 
We skipped the Norwegian dance party on the rooftop bar at the end of the night, and instead finished off a few more glasses of that delicious sangria.  P&C is incredibly innovative and although it is all inspired by Spanish cuisine, it equally showcases Sergi's exciting and lively personality.   
P&C By Sergi Arola

(971 2) 509 8777
Shangri-La, entrance or Villas entrance
Operating Hours
Picas-Picas Brunch: 1pm - 4pm 
Dinner (Sat - Thurs) 
7pm - 11.30pm 
Dinner (Fri) 
8pm - 11.30pm

P&C by Sergi Arola - Shangri La Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato


  1. I am definitely eating there when I come!! Looks wonderful


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