An Andalusian Tapas Bonanza
The word Andalusia first had me thinking, what/where is that and how do I pronounce it? After some research (thanks to Google) I found out it’s in the Southern region of Spain, a country I haven’t had the pleasure of yet exploring.
I’d been invited by the PR to come down to the newly launched Andalusia Lounge and after a little confusion about my reservation at the front reception we are finally allowed to wander upstairs and choose a table.
Located off Sheikh Zayed Road just near Jones the Grocer you’ll find Bertin Bistro. Take a flight of stairs up and you’ll arrive at Andalusia Lounge. The decor in Andalusia gives off Moroccan vibes from it’s patterned seating to it’s Arabic lanterns and shisha which can be smoked both indoors and out on the balcony. Although I’m brought back to reality when I notice the TV screen airing a football match which doesn’t entirely kill the buzz.
Inside it’s a little dark and I like to see what I’m eating so we choose one side of the balcony which is empty but preferrable as no one is there smoking shisha. It’s a little cold outside but the staff offer to light the heat lamps in the corner. I stare off into the distance and you can see the rat race below and the beautiful Burj Khalifa dazzling in the distance.
Our knowledgeable waiter gives us a run down of how the new menu works as we glaze our eyes over the extensive drinks list. We finally settled on the Aloe Vera spa which falls under the detox heading. A sweet mix of aloe vera juice, green apple and cucumber.
Not long after our drinks arrived, so did the food. A spread of 16 tapas ranging from a dips to smoked feta and padron peppers to some deep fried tapas and seafood. There was so much variety and flavor in every dish but I definitely favored some over others. The roast beet puree labneh was so simple but bursting with flavor. The eggplant fateh was another favorite for it’s texture combination and the empanadas and spicy potatoes were also a favorite in terms of the flavor.
Once we were done picking, our waiter announced they’ll be bringing out our mains soon. Umm come again? We’d just gone through 16 tapas plates between two how will we ever fit in mains? Let alone dessert. I was left baffled.
Luckily for us the main portion sizes aren’t overly big. We were served a chicken and a lamb tagine with cous cous as well as a seafood paella. You can’t fault the cooking method of using a tagine. It creates that tender, soft, melt-in-your-mouth meat that everyone loves. However we weren’t very fond of the flavors in the mains. The paella was over-seasoned with white pepper and both of the tagines had a peculiar taste which was a shame as the tenderness of the meat was fantastic. I brought this to our waiter’s attention and also the manager on duty and they assured me the feedback would be passed onto the kitchen.
So we weren’t left with a lingering after taste from the mains we opt to share a dessert and the waiter recommends Bertin’s famous Pain Perdue. Created by one of the sisters this recipe took a while to perfect. However I can assure you they’ve got that down pat because this dessert was out of this world. Described to us as a french toast in a bowl, it is much more than that. The warm and soft breaded centre reminds me more of a bread and butter pudding however the texture and cooking style is almost that of a souffle with a generous serving of thick gooey caramel sauce and rock sea salt served on the side. The idea is to make an incision with a spoon and then add as much or as little caramel inside along with a sprinkling of the sea salt. *I’m currently drooling as I write this blog post*
It’s such a bargain as well. For two persons it’s 189dhs for the Tapas Bonanza and there is more than enough food for two. Although I wouldn’t miss out on adding a dessert, as Bertin’s Pain Perdue is one not to be missed!