With Matt’s parents over this week for the Formula 1 – we decided that we needed to have an early Christmas so that we were able to celebrate together. Luckily Thanksgiving falls around a month before Christmas, and so this was an ideal time to get all festive.
A traditional Thanksgiving dinner is very similar to a traditional Christmas Dinner, and so I spent the last couple of weeks searching for somewhere that would suit our celebrations. Enter Market Kitchen – a modern American Kitchen with Local Influence right here in Abu Dhabi.
“Market Kitchen is inspired by Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s concept of the “hotel as a home” and extends to the restaurant as a casual family kitchen. Inspired by the casual, simple elegance of the setting, the menu features Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s “greatest hits” with fresh, locally produced ingredients.”
I’ll be honest – this was one of the first Thanksgiving menus I’d found, and I was pretty much sold on it already before looking at any others, but I waited for the other hotels & restaurants to start filtering theirs through day by day before I made a solid decision.
I’d emailed ahead and mentioned that we were celebrating Christmas with Matt’s parents, and so when we arrived we were taken to the best table in the restaurant, with comfy sofas situated in an alcove of decoration.
We were welcomed with a beautiful cocktail, and while we waited for our wine, we had a look at our menu for the evening:
Everything apart from the desserts were served family style (on plates and in bowls) in the middle of the table, which we thought was the best way for this kind of meal – and they were all beautifully presented.
The squash veloute was in the cutest little tea cup, and the grilled shrimp were simply HUGE on a mountain of avocado & a tangy salsa. The breads were all perfectly fresh & the ricotta/cranberry mix was a great twist on a classic accompaniment.
We were all very clever and made sure we saved plenty of room, because we were served the.most.incredible dishes for main course. Yep- that does say sweet potato with cinnamon marshmallow – and it was AMAZING. Who knew those two combined would be so tasty?! I could have literally eaten it out of the bowl with a spoon, but with Matt’s parents there I thought I’d keep hold of some dignity. There was plenty of meat to go around, so much so that we took some turkey home for classic ‘day-after’ turkey sandwiches (how very British). The only tiny thing I would have liked would have been a bit more crispiness on the stuffing, but the flavour was totally there and I needed to find something to improve on 😉
As always, the dessert is a firm favourite of mine and something that I look forward to at every meal, and my lord it didn’t disappoint! A trio of desserts on our plates made it very difficult to decide where to start, so I just went for the ‘try a bit of everything’ approach.
With a play on Pumpkin Pie, we were served a delicious Pumpkin Cheesecake with Honey Ice Cream. I’ve never tried a pumpkin dessert before, and I was very pleasantly surprised! The Apple Crumble was warming and homely (a perfect nostalgic moment for a family ‘Christmas’ meal) but my favourite by far was the Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Icing. Served with what tasted like cinnamon ice cream along with candied walnuts (which were IN.Credible) I made sure I saved that one for the last few mouthfuls of this all-round amazing meal.
I’m always a stickler for service, and I was SO happy to say that I didn’t spend one minute looking to see what the servers were doing or whether they were ‘doing it right’. Normally I’m pulling places apart, but the relaxed atmosphere, attentive-but-not-assertive staff approach and the loveliness of Juliette, the Market Kitchen Manager made me completely forget about everything apart from making the most of every minute at our Thanksgiving/Christmas dinner.
So this year, my Thanks is going to Market Kitchen for making our evening very special, and to my lovely Matt and his family for being part of it.