Caramel – American restaurant and lounge
Where in Abu Dhabi:
at The St. Regis Saadiyat Island Resort
We really like to go to The Collection, next to the St Regis Hotel on Saadiyat Island, as there are so many lovely restaurants and cafes there, and the whole place has this kind of ‘piazza’ feeling, almost like being in a vibrant Italian square.
Our latest discovery there is Caramel, which is both a restaurant and a lounge. They serve American food, so yes, think burgers and Mac N’ Cheese – BUT all revisited with a fine dining approach, which makes for a really unique foodie experience – different from anything we had tried before in Abu Dhabi.
We actually went there twice, first on an evening out and then again for lunch, and both times we just loved the place.
In the evening the lounge area has a very elegant and stylish vibe, and during the day the restaurant feels very relaxed, thanks to the mellow light filtering through the curtains. They also have an outdoor terrace, but we decided to eat inside.
As a starter, I ordered Mac and Cheese, whilst W ordered the ‘Signature Chicken Lollipops’ with blue cheese sauce.
I thought I knew what Mac and Cheese looks like, so when four stylish breaded sticks arrived at our table, I had to make a fool of myself and double-check with the server that my order was right.
Well, it was right! They were Mac and Cheese, just a thousand times more elegant – and delicious, as every crunchy bite opened up a heart of mouth-watering gooey-ness.
From now on, I know I will be sorely disappointed whenever ordering Mac and Cheese elsewhere.
(I also realise I should probably have taken a photo of the melted centre, but they were just too nice and vanished before I could think of it!)
W also loved his chicken, especially dipped in the blue cheese sauce, even though I have to sadly report that I ate all of his carrots.
The portions are really generous at this restaurant, but we realised it too late.
We had decided to order a side to share, specifically the Tater Tots with brie cheese, but our really friendly server convinced us that we had to try the Roasted Mini Bakers, so we ended up ordering both.
The Tater Tots were once again a triumph of yummy gooey-tude, but the real surprise was in the Roasted Mini Bakers.
They were basically mini Jacket Potatoes (how they call them in the UK), served with not one, but four fillings: creme fraiche, chopped spring onion, aged cheddar cheese and veal bacon.
I don’t think I need to say again how delicious they were! We almost regretted ordering mains, after that, as they were really yummy and filling.
As a main, I ordered Truffled Penne Pasta, and W ordered Kobe Beef Sliders. Once again, everything was just perfect: the pasta was ‘al dente’ and the sauce creamy and mouth-watering, and W said that the mini-burgers were perfectly cooked and covered in yummy cheddar.
We were absolutely stuffed after all this, but we decided to skip dinner and share a dessert: we were suggested the Brownie, which they say is among their best-sellers. And we quickly learned why!
Served warm, and covered in lovely ice cream, we quickly scooped it up without regrets.
Aside from the really delicious (and surprising!) food, we must point out how the super-friendly staff, everyone – from the servers to the manager, went the extra mile to make us feel welcome and well looked after, which is always something we really appreciate.
After these two visits, Caramel has quickly become top on our favourites list. From the lovely relaxed atmosphere during the day to the funky and vibrant one in the evenings, we can see ourselves spending a lot of great times there, and we can’t wait to go back with our friends to show off this ‘gem’ we have found!