(The restaurant revolves slowly, in a manner that will not make you dizzy. You enjoy the sumptuous meal while your eyes are fed at the same time through the panoramic and per minute changing view of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi. And yes, the Norah Jones-like charming lady sings Don’t Know Why, I’ll Be Watching You, Somewhere Over The Rainbow, and other renditions that will make your stay more worthwhile.)
Since the first year I have been miles away, I have learned to celebrate my birthday with people back home simultaneously (i.e. we munch on pancit or anything that symbolizes long life and other comfort food). On the other hand, my friends-colleagues and I in this part of the globe do a sort of thanksgiving for the added year that we have wisen up. I must say that we are intentionally mindful of each other’s birthday and other occasions because these are the perfect chance for us to get together, to withdraw from the inherent monotony (we all have that eh?). We have tried something very different from last year, plus that I had a joint celebration with a colleague.
We are most of the time loud when we go out as a group. Hence, when the Reservation Manager told me that the place is intentionally set as romantic such that unnecessary noise is discouraged (take note that kids are not allowed during dinner), I had to ask and warn her, at least twice, that we will be loud definitely. That night, a long table was arranged for us, in contrast to the couple table set-up. Also, ours was strategically located with ample distance to the others.
(Clockwise: Lobster and bisque scented with vanilla, grean peas and asparagus, angus sirloin steak topped with beef marrow fried shallot and panisse, roasted turbot with baby leeks, tomatoes, capers and lemon peel, veal rack steak, eggplant puree and green apple sauce.)
Our conversation triggers ranged from mundane to out of the world topics. A classic and tested formula that is hard to beat: random talks over good food and good company go on and on that you forget the time. From the minute we stepped in, until I appreciated foie gras (duck liver) and lobster (funnily coined by one of our colleagues as “love-ster”; seriously, all the dishes were worth the price) so much, to the point that my fellow celebrant and I blew our birthday cake, it actually took two hours for the restaurant to complete the 360 degrees turn.
(The birthday cake. Whoever did the inscription had mistaken me as a man, and referred to me as “Mr. Jo”. Ha ha ha. On the fourth frame is my fellow celebrant with his cheerful wife.)
There is a small funny story about the birthday cake. As one of the restaurant’s policies, cakes not sourced from them are discouraged. Otherwise, an indemnity form shall be signed by the guest to mitigate the risks that might emanate from the cake which is not “homegrown” (well, that is how I wanted to call it). “But I want to bake my own birthday cake and bring it to dinner!”, of course, I just had to throw a joke to the Reservation Manager. But she took it seriously and gave me a lengthy explanation (over the telephone) with her French-Italian accent. Anyway, the (white forest) birthday cake was beautifully and deliciously done. I currently do not have the capacity to do that (winks). The pianist played the birthday song as the staff approached our table to give the cake. The entry was too cute as there were three sparkling candles on it which made the slightly lit area more dramatic.. err, romantic. From that minute until the “express your wish” part, I felt the camera flash and continuous video recording. Thank you for the coverage, friends. Ha ha ha.
[Clockwise: The revolving restaurant on the most upper floor of Le Royal Meridien Hotel, a replica of an Emirati boy displayed infront of the hotel’s souvenir shop, artificial ice cubes in the lobby (probably to reverse psyche the summer’s heat?), and the area dedicated to us, standing is a friend who religiously took videos (thank you!)].
Celebrations do not have to be fancy. Whether we are munching anything over the grass, gracing a picnic, doing a bowling party, and the like, togetherness is what matters a lot. The fact that there is a restaurant which revolves, is just the icing on the cake. 🙂
Al Fanar Revolving Restaurant is in Le Royal Meridien Hotel, Khalifa Street, Abu Dhabi
Landline: +971 2 6950490 [Open Friday-Wednesday 12:30 PM to 3:00 PM, 7:00 PM to 11:00 PM; Thursday 7:00 PM to midnight]