Abu Dhabi’s Hidden Gem – Caramel!

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Abu Dhabi really is a great city and growing at rapid speed! Seems like everyday a new store, restaurant, nightclub or SOMETHING is opening up…you just have to find them. So let me tell you about a recent absolute GEM of a place I stumbled upon, thanks to the PR team at République Dubai: Caramel Restaurant and Lounge. This may have been one of the best restaurants I have eaten at by far here in Abu Dhabi! Was just amazing, amazing food and such a great atmosphere! Let me elaborate a bit….

Caramel is located at the center of The Collection within The St. Regis Saadiyat Island Resort. Saadiyat is a gem within itself, so now it just got better with Caramel locating there! The atmosphere is posh and chic using a contemporary ambiance of natural wood finishings and gorgeous stone. Just adjacent to the restaurant is the nightclub “People” by Crystal (but that review will be in a future post)! You have the option of indoor or outdoor seating at Caramel, and they offer both lunch and dinner service as well as have a full-service bar serving an array of wonderful drinks and cocktails.

Now, let’s get to most exciting part….which is the food!!! Did I mention already how AMAZING the food was??? Well the lovely staff at Carmel served us up a 11-course meal and not one dish disappointed! Let me recap all the delectable delights I indulged in that day:

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Before the starters arrived, we were served kiwi and strawberry mojito mocktails which were made with fresh fruit and so refreshing! Then course one began…

1) Baby “Gem’ Caesar Salad (Dhs 45). This delightful salad was ever so light, tasty and had just the perfect tang of caesar dressing and parmesan.

2) Tuna Pizza (Dhs 130). I won’t lie, initially I wasn’t too ecstatic to try this as for me, fish and pizza don’t mix. But boy was I SO wrong!!! It was delicious! I think I must have had at least four pieces! The tuna was so thin and light and in addition with the light veggies that accompanied it on top which was tossed on a very thin, light crust, it was just amazing! Can’t wait to have this again when I return!

3) Chicken Lettuce Bites (Dhs 75). These chicken lettuce wraps were cooked to perfection and had the perfect zing of Asian flavor! Wrapped in lettuce opposed to bread or a tortilla saves you some major caloric points! Everyone is a winner here!

4) TNT Shrimp (Dhs 120). Three words. To. Die. For. If there is to be only ONE item on this menu to order it is this one!!! Maybe I’m being bias as I love shrimp AND I love all things spicy, but I just can’t explain how much I loved these TNT Shrimp! I am embarrassed to admit it, but I ate a minimum of at least 10 of these succulent shrimp! In all honesty, I am just finding an excuse to make a trip back to Carmel to eat about 20 more of them! Please if you visit Carmel, DO NOT do yourself the disservice of not ordering these absolutely immaculate tasting shrimp! My recommendation: about three orders would be substantial!

5) Sizzling Hot Rock (Dhs 120). So I totally loved this! I have had something very similar like this back in Las Vegas when I was still living in the States, but it’s great to know that I can find the same thing here in Abu Dhabi! If you are not familiar with this innovative “Hot Rock” concept, basically you are given very thin slices of beef and then a scorching hot stone. You then cook your own meat right on the stone (only a few seconds on each side is needed for the meat to cook). Anyway, it was delicious and also a must-have when you visit Carmel.

6) Seared Chilean Sea Bass (Dhs 150). I’m usually a lover all seafood, so this was a delight! I loved the Chilean spice to this dish and it was so moist and practically melted in your mouth! The seas bass sat on a lovely portion of seafood risotto which was also amazing!

7) Kobe Beef Sliders (Dhs 120). OK, so sometimes you just feel like having an old-fashioned hamburger, right??? So if you’re at Carmel and you’re having a burger craving, then you will love the Kobe beef sliders! You get three sliders which each comes with a very thick patty of Kobe beef, smothered in cheese and topped with a tomato. You can then slather up as much ketchup and mayo as you like. These sliders were extra juicy and I definitely recommend them!

8) Pan Seared Lamb Loin (Dhs 125). If you are a lamb lover, then this is the dish you definitely want to go for! You are served a very large and generous portion of lamb which is sliced to perfection. It is so tender and it is lays on a bed of green lentils.

9) Spiced Apple Cobbler (Dhs 49). And then came dessert!!! Ok, so this apple cobbler was AMAZING! As an American, it reminded me of homemade hot apple pie that my mother would make for Thanksgiving! It was served with vanilla ice cream (the traditional way) and it just melted in your mouth! Another must-have when you go to Carmel!

10) Chocolate Chunk Brownie (Dhs 49). This was another delightful dessert! A large, soft, moist, hot brownie, topped with ice cream, chocolate and carmel sauce, whipped cream and almonds. If you’re a chocolate lover then this one’s for you!

11) Baked Alaska (Dhs 45). Now this one was really a great one! When they served it to us I thought it was a strawberry shortcake…but I was wrong (and glad that I was!). I had never had a baked Alaska before this day, but now that I know about it I am always going to keep my eye open for it! I was told this was an old-fashioned dessert which originated back in New York. So what it is, is an ice cream cake covered with a huge igloo of meringue. Then it’s topped with lots of fresh strawberries and strawberry sauce. Was an absolute delight!

And there you have it. That is the wrap-up of my wonderful experience at Carmel Restaurant and Lounge! Hungry yet? ; )

So if you live in Abu Dhabi and haven’t tried Caramel yet, or if you will be traveling to Abu Dhabi or if you have guests coming to visit and you want to take them to one of the best places in town, please go to Caramel! You will thank me for it later ; )

For more information, you can visit Caramel’s website at:  http://caramelgroup.com

Thanks for reading Fashsetters, and as always stay fashionable, stay fabulous! (And stay well-fed at Caramel)!

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