There’s something enthralling about 18 Degrees, the Hyatt Capital Gate’s signature restaurant, perched on the 18th floor of the world’s furthest leaning tower. Offering unrivalled views of Abu Dhabi’s cityscape from an incline of 18 Degrees westwards, from the ocean mangroves to the glittering skyscrapers on the corniche, you really can see the entire city laid out before you.
Having dined at 18 Degrees frequently over the years. Strangely enough, we’d never indulged in the Friday Brunch offering until last week. The Mediterranean inspired brunch has been revamped for the new season and offers a good balance of buffet and table service that is likely to please the majority of brunch aficionados.
Things begin in ‘The Lounge’ with a glass of bubbly (Billecart-Salmon Brut Reserve) or a Bloody Mary, before moving into the restaurant space itself. We’ve said it before (and we’ll say it again), 18 Degrees is one of the few all-day-dining restaurants in the capital that doesn’t convey the soulless atmosphere of mass-produced buffers that are so often associated with the notion of all-day-dining (we’d also include Aqua at the Rosewood and The Foundry at the Southern Sun in that list). With the conceptual refresh, the restaurant has also undergone some minor renovations including a neutral colour scheme that’s very pleasing to the eye. It doesn’t feel like a new restaurant per se, but regular diners will notice that there is certainly something different.
Featuring an exquisite buffet of Mediterranean favourites, including summer salads (the beetroot one is a must) cured meats, seafood and freshly baked bread. The emphasis lies firmly on quality over quantity and aside from the ceviche (which we really didn’t care for), the remainder of the buffet was pleasing and the fruity foie gras cupcakes shouldn’t be missed. It’s nice to see a venue offering breakfast items as part of their brunch (the very word is a combination of breakfast and lunch) and the selection at 18 Degrees includes crepes and waffles.
While you relax and admire the view, there are a number of cocktails to choose from (Aperol, Mojitos) and an interactive oyster trolley weaves its way between the guests. Two varieties of oysters are offered and we’d recommend you go without the condiments to ensure you get the full “taste of the sea” without overpowering the unique flavour of the oysters.
The full flavours of the coastal Mediterranean waters come to the fore with the main courses, of which there are eight to choose from. Each prepared a la minute under the guidance of Executive Chef Abdallah Bin Hussein. Although we didn’t sample everything (they are main course portions after all) the selection includes Fregola soup, Florentine steak, seared scallops and mascarpone spaghetti. Our picks were the marinated jasmine tea salmon which represents a flavoursome surprise, the delightfully tender duck leg confit and the spicy prawns with stuffed red pepper, mango and a fig jus. The crab cake was also good, though we do believe the portion size needs to be significantly reduced and we’d highly recommend that the beef short rib (our favourite) from the a la carte menu be added into the mix.
Mediterranean flavours may take prominence on the savoury side, but diners can also delight in veritible feast of desserts, with the restrained dessert buffet offering a chocolate fondue, mountains of profiteroles, a red velvet cake constructed from sliced Swiss rolls, gelato, and a whole host of sweet treats. Ensure you seek out the secret cheese room, highlighting an extensive selection of European cheeses. Here’s a clue – you’ll smell it before you see it!
Flooded with natural light from the external glass facade, dining at 18 Degrees feels like a sophisticated occasion, looking to elevate the brunch experience via a combination of good food, outstanding service and an effortless atmosphere, set against a soundtrack of soothing jazz music. From the moment guests arrive, they’re treated to the intuitive personalised service for which the Hyatt Capital Gate has become synonymous and are made to feel instantly comfortable and as the afternoon begins to wind down, why not escape onto the wrap-around terrace and enjoy a sunset unlike any other.
Location: Hyatt Capital Gate, Embassies District, Abu Dhabi
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Hours: 6:30am – 10:30am / 12pm – 3pm / 7pm – 11:30pm
Phone: 02 596 1440
We were invited to dine at 18 Degrees. All views are our own and all photographs are © Out & About UAE,