After some months of renovations, Essence finally re-opened its doors. Hubby and I were excited to finally be able to exercise our taste buds! Since we liked its predecessor (Rosebuds) so much, we couldn’t wait to see if Essence would deliver and maybe even join our fave weekend brunch venue list.
Without much ado, the answer was a clear “No”. Unlike in Shangri-la’s Sofra, Essence has very few offerings and lacked a standout. Almost everything we ate and sampled was just okay—from the salads to appetizers, from seafood to meats, from pastries to cakes—only a very few were worth mentioning. And I’m saying this while factoring in the price. For 199, you only get the buffet without any drinks. AED 249 comes with water and soft drinks. You have to pay a steep AED 275 if you want everything in, including juices, spirits, coffee, and tea.
But one of the great things about Friday brunch in Essence is that you get to enjoy Benihana and Brahaus at the same time. Granted, Benihana’s Japanese food selection was not that spectacular, it was still a nice plus. If you love sausages (actually, meats in general) and are an avid fan of cheese, you will love Brahaus. Alas, that day hubby and I were not in the mood for either.
So, the final verdict: would we go there again? Yes. Why not? But I would pick Sofra over Essence any day. At least, in Sofra, you get good value for your money and an amazing choice of gastronomic treats, from starters down to deserts.
Some noteworthy things to mention:
- Kebab was excellent
- Staff was very friendly and accommodating
- The newly refurbished place has a lot of space so you won’t have to eavesdrop on other people’s conversations, or see them stuff their mouths with too much food. Plus, there’s enough room to walk around when your tummy is about to explode
- Nice and simple décor that is inviting at the same time
- Layout of their offerings is very simple and straightforward so you see everything and quickly make a beeline for what catches your eye
- Eat at Benihana and Brahaus to your heart’s content
- You get to really enjoy your meal, because it doesn’t have the super busy and full-to-the-brim feel you get in Sofra
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Just 30 minutes away from the Abu Dhabi International Airport and 90 minutes from Dubai International Airport. Home to the prestigious Abu Dhabi Trade Centre complex, our Abu Dhabi Beach Hotel is directly linked by an exclusive passageway to the over one million square feet Abu Dhabi Mall - the capital's most renowned shopping mall, which houses international brands, a 6-screen Cineplex and entertainment venues. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Beach Rotana - Abu Dhabi Hotel Abu Dhabi
- Beach Rotana Hotel Abu Dhabi