Immerse yourself in the Catalan culture without leaving the UAE. The well-known Tapas restaurant, Bravo, located in the Sheraton on the Corniche, always has great food and lots of budget friendly Spanish wines on offer. However this week, I was lucky enough to experience their special set menu created by visiting chef, Jordi Gimeno, from Barcelona. The live Spanish guitar player brought a festive life to the restaurant as some diners paused their meal for a little dance amid the tables. Catalan flags hung from the walls and ceiling. As a proud Catalan, Chef Jordi is looking to share his love of his food and culture with all of Abu Dhabi.
He has created a well priced set menu which includes a variety of hot and cold tapas and of course the awaited paella. The menu is seafood heavy which is key for Catalonia, being located on the doorstep of the Baltic Sea. Some of my favorites were the Spinach Croquettes, with almonds and toasted pine nuts (and a bright romanesco sauce), and also the Piquillo Peppers stuffed with tuna. And, of course, it seems that you can not have a taste of Catalan cuisine without having a rich seafood paella- perfectly oven-seared to make the top crispy.
There is just a tasting for dessert, but it is more than enough and a fantastic experience of very traditional sweets. A few little Churros with a bittersweet chocolate sauce for dipping, Panellets (balls of sweetened toasted almonds and pine nuts), an a Catalan Creme with Carquinyolis (Spanish almond biscotti)- although for some reason, I didn't seem to get any of them.
The restaurant was filled with the usual mix of couples, friends and families and the service was very efficient. They are keen to serve each course only when you are ready for it. Chef Jordi's enthusiasm is contagious and if he had not been working so hard in the kitchen he would have been dining with his guests. This meal really brought back memories of my time in Barcelona and even after the filling meal and a few (rather large) glasses of Torres, I was still thinking about all of that fantastic Catalan food. If you have time, try to make it out while Chef Jordi is in town. (P.S. He is throwing a Spanish beach party on Friday, which means Seafood, Sangria, and Flamingo!)
Live Flamenco guitar music: Sunday - Friday
Dress code: Casual Sophistication
Hours of operation: 6:00 PM-12:30 AM
Located at Sheraton Abu Dhabi Hotel & Resort, Corniche Rd