There is no shortage of steakhouses in Abu Dhabi, so what is it about Dusit Thani’s The Capital Grill that makes it unique?
Passing through the world’s third highest hotel atrium (clocking in at 125m) we’re impressed by the diversity of the dining options in this Thai inspired property. From the international buffet spread of Urban Kitchen, to the wonderful Thai delights in Benjaroung. Dusit Thani is a hotel offering consistency on all fronts. Our first visit to The Capital Grill is no different, discreetly located at the rear of the property is a restaurant offering more than just a steakhouse.
The first thing we notice is the signage, topped with the same arched design used on Abu Dhabi’s Sheikh Zayed Bridge. A structure that marks the entranceway to The Capital and is as much a symbol of Abu Dhabi, as the Emirates Palace. Whereby most steakhouses opt for a masculine feel of dark wood and an abundance of leather, The Capital Grill is more vibrant and feels less regimented. Swirling abstract designs upon deep red walls catch our eye, as we’re led past an intimate bar area separated from the main dining room by lavish curtains. At times it feels more like an upmarket lounge with the large open kitchen providing the only indicator to the venue’s true nature.
Thai hospitality is a major factor to the success of the Dusit Thani brand and this rings true in The Capital Grill. The staff’s knowledge is comprehensive when it comes to explaining the dishes and are extrmeley well versed in the menu and ingredients, making for a refreshing change in a city where service levels are inconsistent at best.
We begin with warm breads of sour dough and onion and though we enjoy them immensely, we yearn for the butter trolley from rival steakhouse The Foundry. An establishment offering six unique butter combinations to slather on your bread.
When it comes to the menu, we’re suitably impressed by the reasonable prices but it’s a menu that offers few surprises, except for the pages, which have a distinct sheen as if made from mother of pearl. Appetisers include a classic prawn cocktail, beef tartare, foie gras terrine and oysters, all steakhouse favourites. Aside from a burrata salad, there’s little that veers away from the usual steakhouse fare and we eventually settle on Homemade Crispy Calamari and Seared Scallops.
The scallops are a delight due to their intricate textures and accomplished balance of flavours. With the perfectly cooked scallop flesh served on a warm apple puree and topped with chorizo crumb and olive dust. It’s a dish to be proud of, though a hint of extra seasoning would’ve been welcomed. The calamari is less ambitious, but unlikely to disappoint. Offering lightly fried spicy calamari rings with a caper aioli and simple mixed salad. The batter is not overly crisp and makes for an appealing texture to complement the tender calamari.
For the main course The Capital Grill offers 11 cuts of meat, ranging from a very reasonable Australian sirloin (AED 145) to the master Kobe tenderloin (AED 595). It’s a selection that offers wide appeal and following the guidance of the restuarant manager we select the Irish John Stone tenderloin and the Australian Wagyu.
Our choices reflect two different cuts from farms on opposite sides of the world but two thoroughly impressive steaks. The John Stone in particular is hung for 18 days to remove extra moisture and enhance the flavour profile. While our medium-rare Wagyu is as tender as they come. We appreciate the smaller touches like the presentation of steak knives and the separate choices of ‘add-ons’ to your meal, which include a grilled half lobster, foie gras butter and tiger prawns. Customization is the key and with eight sauces to choose from you can’t go wrong (we recommend the green peppercorn). While we may have been hasty regarding the lack of flavoured butters earlier in the review, wait for the main courses and you can indulge in a selection of mustards instead. A really nice touch.
The sides should also be commended and feature a truffle mac and cheese that’s so heavy on the truffle, you can smell it long before it arrives at the table. The house cut fries are also exceptional, reminding us of UK chip shop chips, an item notoriously difficult to find here in the UAE. Aside from steak, the menu offers fish, short rib, lamb and a Wagyu burger but there is little of interest for vegetarians.
The dessert selection is small but includes a Chocolate Fondant that comes with just the right amount of ooze, again we can’t help but draw comparisons with The Foundry, as their plating of the same dessert (on a slate with blobs of fruit puree) is near identical. The Flowerpot is an alternative take on a tiramisu, constructed from a coffee disc, mascarpone cheese and a chocolate soil, resembling a garden. We had hoped for a little more in terms of presentation (an actual edible flower pot perhaps) but the taste is very good.
The Capital Grill has recently undergone a refurbishment, resulting in a menu of which 90% of the dishes are new. Offering excellent value for money (oysters start at AED 15 each) and good levels of service, The Capital Grill is easily the most aesthetically pleasing restaurant in the Dusit Thani Abu Dhabi. It’s dark, classy and exudes a distinct lounge vibe. Better still, it’s smoke free, so why not give serious consideration to The Capital Grill next time you’re in need of a steak fix?
Location: Dusit Thani, Al Muroor Road, Al Nahyan, Abu Dhabi
Social: Instagram / Facebook / Twitter
Hours: 12:30pm – 3:30pm / 7pm – 11pm (closed Saturdays)
Phone: 02 698 8137
We were invited to dine at The Capital Grill. All views are our own and all photographs are © Out & About UAE. One image used courtesy of Dusit Thani.