Safina, Saadiyat Beach Club – Abu Dhabi

Like the adage, people will travel anywhere for good food – this couldn’t be any more true, as I found myself driving all the way to Abu Dhabi. But before you say long drive, I can assure you it was worth every minute driving down the Dubai-Abu Dhabi highway – for before me stood an oasis of tranquility, the stunning Saadiyat Beach Club.

We were ushered into the lobby by a friendly gentleman, and met by Justine who flashed us a big smile – she went about diligently explaining the facilities of the club (we booked the day pass, to enjoy our time post lunch). We were then led to a uniquely and tastefully decorated restaurant, Safina – and immediately the decor grabs  your attention.

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The myriad of frames adorning the walls, the light fixtures hanging from the ceiling, the hues of brown and beige lending an earthy understated yet elegant tone – just seduced my eyes.

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We decided to sit indoors, and as you can imagine the drive to Abu Dhabi put us into a voracious appetite. So I started with an aptly named appetizer, Summer Breeze (watermelon marinated with mint, feta cheese and caramelized pecan) – was pleasantly surprised to see that the portions were huge, and refreshing to boot.

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This was followed by a delectable thyme marinated chicken in a creamy vegetable broth – the texture of the soup was just perfect, and the accompanying bread the right foil. My partner opted for the Asparagus and Truffle Risotto, and he couldn’t stop singing praises about how simple yet fantastic the dish tasted. The risotto was creamy and decadent, and the decadent asparagus was paired extraordinarily well with the earthiness lent by the shaved truffles.

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By now we were pretty excited at how well our lunch experience was moving along – for main course I went with the Norwegian Salmon (charcoal grilled and served with parsnip puree, asparagus and lemon caper sauce). The salmon was cooked to perfection, incredibly moist and tender and it just melted right in my mouth. The lemon caper sauce and parsnip puree added another layer of flavour without sacrificing the dish’s elegant simplicity.

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My partner settled for the time-honoured rendition of steak frites (Rib-eye steak, accompanied by truffle french fries). The rich béarnaise sauce enhanced the already flavourful well-marbled meat, and each bite brought a smile to his face – that he could just kiss the chef. Simply yum!

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Seeing that I was born with a sweet tooth, let’s move on to the most important part of the meal for me, personally speaking. I ordered the chocolate fondant (melting chocolate cake, with star anise puree and vanilla gelato) and couldn’t stop myself from having another one, as it was so darn good. This was an absolute show-stopper and I marvelled every time I dipped my spoon in for luscious mouthfuls of molten chocolate goodness.

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Not to be outdone, my partner ordered the classic strawberry cheesecake – luscious and extremely divine! Perfect end to a great lunch experience.

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All in all, Safina seems to be a hidden gem – good service, great food and a stunning location. Definitely coming back for more!

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