Dining at the Palace

Before we came to Abu Dhabi, I decided that I wanted to spend one night at the Emirates Palace Hotel. This is actually a lofty goal as even their smallest rooms start at about AED 3000 ($1,000 US) per night.

Boy was I surprised on Sunday afternoon when Beth’s new boss, Steve Shorb, suggested that we go with him and his wife to the Palace Hotel for lunch. They picked me up at the hotel and we drove down along the Corniche before turning onto the Palace grounds. There was a security guard outside, but Steve gave him “the white man’s wave” and we were ushered right through. Apparently being white and acting like you know where you’re going is enough authority to gain access to anything except classified military bases.

It was fairly hazy outside and we never stopped far enough away for me to get some nice pictures of the outside, but the inside of the hotel is a sight to behold. If a surface isn’t made of marble, it’s made of gold. According to Steve, the hotel cost more than $1 billion.

The hotel has several restaurants but we ate at Diwan L’Auberge, which features French-Lebanese cuisine. Steve suggested we order the fixed menu which included several types of cold and hot appetizers as well as a main course and dessert. It was a very good suggestion and even better food.

The cold appetizers included hummus (pureed chickpeas with garlic and oil), baba ganoush (like hummus only made from eggplant), tabbouleh (finely chopped parsley, bulgur, mint, tomato, spring onion, and other herbs with lemon juice, olive oil and various seasonings), and other vegetable dishes featuring spinach, onions, garlic (lots of garlic). I wish I could have stolen a menu, and I can’t find one online or I’d be more specific. The hot appetizers came next and included grill lamb liver, fried cheese rolls, falafel (fried chickpeas), and small beef samosa.

We decided to do lunch family style and so shared two orders of the mixed grill (lamb, chicken and kofta—minced beef and lamb with spiced), hammour—a fish dish, and lobster thermidor. As a non-seafood person, I stuck to the mixed grill which was excellent. I’ve already fallen completely in love with kofta and can’t wait to experiment with kofta burgers. It’s the ultimate ground beef.

Since Steve was driving he couldn’t have any alcohol, but Beth, Gale, and I shared a very nice Lebanese white wine.

Finally, for dessert, a huge platter of Arabic pastries was set before us along with another monstrous plate of fresh fruit. By the time we stopped eating we had failed to finish a single plate from all four courses. Every dish went back only half eaten due to the sheer quantity of food.

  • Emirates Palace Hotel Dome
  • Emirates Palace Hotel Interior
  • Beth and Gale Sitting in the Lobby
  • Decorative Golden Mosaic
  • Hallway ouside restaurant
  • Emirate's Palace Hotel

One Response to “Dining at the Palace”

  1. marlena says:

    WOW. thats my kind of place. Vic I am so glad you got to go there, you mentioned that goal to me at your goodbye party. Beth, looks like a lovely place to work. Thanks for making this website. I just saw it now on facebook. Best wishes over there!!!