Finz at the Beach Rotana is a venue that offers so much to admire. An exquisite waterfront location, attentive staff and decor so brilliantly white, that you have to applaud. Situated on a crescent of palm-fringed sand and overlooking the rapid modernisation of Al Maryah Island, it’s one of the most picturesque dining destinations in the city. With a chic beach house vibe and an appealing wrap around terrace, Finz is a venue that’s bound to impress but our last visit left us with mixed feelings.
With fine-dining restaurants specialising in seafood particularly difficult to come by in the capital (with the exception of Catch and The Fish Market), the charms of Finz are hard to dismiss and with the launch of a new concept dubbed the ‘SaturLaze’ lunch, we were interested to see if things had progressed since our dinner review back in February…
A lazy Saturday afternoon of seafood and drinks sounds like a concept that we could get on board with and Finz successfully manages to redeem themselves. Our meal begins on the terrace, suspended above the glittering coastal waters of the Arabian Gulf. It’s a pleasant spot to soak up the sun, in what is bound to be one of the last weekends to dine alfresco before the oppressive summer heat hits. Unfortunately we have the same issues with the bread as our previous experience (the stark black squid ink bread just doesn’t work) and wished that they were served warm.
This appears to be the only real mis-step in an otherwise pleasing menu. The appetiser which were the weakest link the last time around, are replaced with a striking seafood tower of oysters, tiger prawns, poached shrimp, mussels, tuna tartare, lobster cocktail and nori chips. Appearing like a miniature fish market and presented on a tall stand encased in ice, there’s something appealing about eating fresh seafood while overlooking the ocean.
The seafood tower is the only constant in a menu that’s refreshed every week and while we believe pasta was the second course during the previous SaturLaze, on this occasion we’re treated to a rustic Seafood Stew Bourride. A traditionally Mediterranean dish spooned over slices of toasted bread. It’s not at all heavy and the flavours are of tomato and the mildest hints of the sea. The bourride is a well placed dish in the structure of the SaturLaze lunch, though the temperature was slightly too tepid for us.
The only decision diners need to make at SaturLaze is regarding their main course. The catch of the day offers three distinct choices – stone bass, cod or salmon. We sampled the first two on the list and both were extremely well cooked, allowing the delicate flavours of the fish to prevail. The cod was our preferred choice, though the general flakiness of the stone bass combined with a crisp skin isn’t likely to disappoint. Keeping things strictly fine-dining, the sides are well selected to keep a healthy balance to the meal, tabbouleh, cous cous, oriental brown rice, salsa verde and a stunning tahini based sauce, all work to complement rather than overpower the fish.
With the desserts last time leaving us more than a little underwhelmed, things on this occasion are somewhat better. A bite sized portion of vanilla ice cream in a miniature cone, a selection of chocolate and raspberry macaroons and large eclair, adorned with popcorn and gold leaf that is stuffed with sweet caramel.
While the Rotana brand may be renowned for offering excellent value for money, their restaurants are not always of the same standards (with the exception of Teatro at the Park Rotana), So did the SaurLaze lunch restored our faith in Finz? We would say so, as this meal was far more consistent in terms of quality.
With an abundance of Saturday brunches taking over Abu Dhabi’s dining landscape, it’s pleasing to see the Beach Rotana offering something a little different. It’s lunch but with an all you can drink twist bolted on for good measure. In our opinion it’s a real shame that SaturLaze wasn’t launched a few months earlier to truly capitalise on the winter climate but with so many concepts appearing (and then dissapearing just as quickly) we truly hope that the SaturLaze lunch is here to stay.
Location: Beach Rotana, Tourist Club Area (Al Zahiyah), Abu Dhabi
Social: Instagram / Facebook / Twitter
Hours: 12:30pm – 3:30pm / 7pm – 11pm
Phone: 02 697 9011
We were invited to dine at Finz. All views are our own and all photographs are © Out & About UAE.