We’ve said it before but the newly launched Four Seasons on Abu Dhabi’s Al Maryah Island is a force to be reckoned with. Having visited on a number of occasions since the hotels opening, we continue to be impressed by the levels of service and quality of the experience that is synonymous with the Four Seasons and honestly believe that it’s fast becoming the best hotel in the capital. So when an email dropped into our inbox this week inviting us to an sample an exclusive ‘cocktail tasting menu.’ We were more than a little intrigued!
When people discuss what constitutes quality service and high levels of customer care, we really think that all eyes should be on the Four Seasons. Stepping out of our taxi, we were greeted at the door by name, before being escorted across the striking lobby and into the intimate confines of Zsa Zsa cocktail bar and it was here that we were handed over to the bar manager, who provided us with a tour of the small but inviting 54 seater venue.
In keeping with classic Four Seasons styling, Zsa Zsa is an upmarket and sophisticated venue. One of checkered black and white floors, chaise lounge style seating and an impressive private room, complete with cigar humidor. Named after Zsa Zsa Gabor, the Hungarian star of the silver screen in films such as Moulin Rouge (1952) and A Touch Of Evil (1958). The actress was often described as “glamour personified” and it’s this era gone by that Zsa Zsa’s at the Four Seasons is paying remarkable homage to.
Accompanied by a soundtrack of smooth jazz, we find it difficult to decide between the partially enclosed outside terrace with its waterfront views out to the twinkling lights of downtown. Or the sophisticated interiors which hark back to the bygone days of the Hollywood-era. Inside has more personality and we settle there amongst the mixologists treasure trove of implements – stirrers, smoke guns and bell jars.
With little information provided, other than the fact that we would be experiencing a four course cocktail tasting menu “inspired by nature and the four seasons.” To say we were intrigued is a vast understatement and as visions of edible cocktails and molecular gastronomy filled our imaginations, the first ‘course’ soon arrived.
Now before you get started, the team at Zsa Zsa will ask for your preference in regards to spirits and although the concept of the cocktail remains the same, flavour profiles and subtle enhancements will differ based upon the chosen base spirit. With our table opting for rum and gin, we were soon enamoured with the arrival of winter (no Game Of Thrones puns please). The coldest of seasons, brings to mind images of snow, warming your hands by the hearth and a distinctly festive feeling. With the team at Zsa Zsa successfully managing to encapsulate all of these elements into our first drink know simply as ‘winter.’
A bucket of ice contains ice cubs shaped like icicles (harking back to the bar managers own nostalgic memories of winter). The bucket sits upon a snowscape made of stark leafless trees, with branches looking like skeletons, as trees often do in winter. A scattering of fresh powdered snow completes the scene but look deeper into the details and you’ll notice that this wintry vista is edible. With the snow being made of cheese and the base of the trees made up of chicken, the cocktail becomes interactive and playful in nature. Yet this is not gimmickry, the snacks (or should we call them bar bites) are surprisingly tasty but don’t overshadow the star of the show – the beverage itself. Crafted to taste like a fresh breathe of crisp winter air, this cocktail succeeds in it’s blend of rum mint and cloves. Or the addition Galliano if drinking the gin enhanced version.
Now we’ve promised the team at the Four Seasons to keep the remainder of the menu as a surprise, so you won’t find any Instagram images or detailed descriptions of spring (herbal), summer (tropical) or autumn (richness) from us. All we will say, is to expect the unexpected across four distinctly different drinks. Perfectly capturing the seasonal thematics that make up the hotels name and likely to evoke feelings of intense nostalgia.
With artful presentation and meticulous attention to detail. The cocktail tasting menu at Zsa Zsa helps to cement mixology as an art form and presents a concept that is completely new and bold for Abu Dhabi. One word of advice, make sure you stick around for ‘coffee’ at the end…
The cocktail tasting menu at Zsa Zsa is available daily for 175 AED ++. With taxes that works out to just 5o AED a drink, which is very reasonable for an establishment such as the Four Seasons. Many may associate the hotel with lavish expense and feel as though they are outpriced at a venue like this but with current promotions running through the month of December, classic cocktails are available from 35 AED each and bottles of Champagne from 35o AED. If you’ve been meaning to visit the Four Seasons on Al Maryah Island, now just might be the time.
Location: Lobby Level, Four Seasons Hotel, Al Maryah Island, Abu Dhabi
Social: Instagram / Twitter / Facebook
Hours: 3pm – 2am (3am on weekends)
Phone: 02 333 2222
We were invited to Zsa Zsa. All views are our own and all photographs are © Out & About UAE. Cover image used courtesy of Four Seasons Abu Dhabi.