“How’s the wine?” I ask…
“Obviously perfect” replies Matt
I had heard about the Venetian Village before, as some of our friends attending the opening/tasting weekend late last year, but we have never had the chance to visit until this time last week . Why has it taken us so long?!!!
The Venetian Village is Abu Dhabi’s newest waterfront leisure destination, located within the grounds of the Ritz-Carlton on the Grand Canal. An absolutely stunning backdrop hosting a mixture of dining outlets ranging from Emirati to Japanese to Meditteranean cuisine all the way from America.
Todd English’s Olives is a well known brand, with sister restaurants in The Bellagio Las Vegas, Mexico City and the Bahamas. We were particularly drawn to the Mediterranean base throughout the menu with an obvious American flair, and were excited to be invited to try out the restaurant in this up-and-coming destination.
We were treated to a tour of the restaurant first, which has many different nooks and crannies to sit and enjoy a meal or simply a drink. The bar/lounge was warm and welcoming, and the two private dining rooms looked perfect for a get together of close friends on a special occasion.
There were two main rooms for us to choose between for the evening. One more formal and one more relaxed, the latter with an open kitchen offering a front row seat to all of the cheffy action. We chose this one – opting for a table where we could see the whole room and enjoy the relaxed ambiance of Todd English’s Olives.
The menu itself isn’t huge, but you can see how much thought has gone into the dishes. There’s something for everybody on there, and we really struggled to whittle it down to just a few to try…
For our first course we sampled the Beef Carpaccio, Sweet Potato Bravas and Olives Mezze. In all seriousness, the Bravas dish was actually life changing. Like, seriously. We were told that the sweet potatoes had been baked before being doused in honey, and then topped with the feta and avocado aioli. Dreamy…..
I’ve never been a huge fan of polenta, but the rosti underneath the carpaccio was creamy an delicious. We did as we were told and made sure we had a good mix of the dressings on our fork – and this mix of scallions, garlic and balsamic teamed with everything else made it very hard to leave any on the plate!
The tapenades on the mezze platter were yummy too! I particularly liked the tomato and carrot dips, whilst Matt opted for the cucumber & yoghurt. Traditional chickpea hummus was of course part of the offerings.
We took our second course from the incredible list of pastas and flatbreads on the menu, opting for smaller portions so that we were able to give a few items a try. We were told that the Veal Agnolotti was one of chefs signature dishes, and so of course that was the first option on our list. Matt was adamant in choosing the Spaghetti Polpettini and we both went for a share of the Bronx Bomber flatbread.
All I had to do was take a look at Matt’s face whilst he tried these dishes to realise just how incredible it all was. Chef doesn’t believe in round pizzas, but despite that we had watched the roughly shaped flatbread be cooked to perfection in the open pizza oven.
I was very impressed with the Veal Agnolotti, and the fontina stuffed pasta made my mouth water on impact. Matt kept the rest of the spaghetti and meatballs to himself – that pretty much says it all doesn’t it?
Mains were just as amazing as the courses that preceded them. Though we had requested small dishes so that we could just try some of the offerings, chef obviously had other things on his mind and served up the full dishes from the menu. My Scallop Vol-Au-Vent was a really nice light dish, and Matt’s Rib Eye Steak was cooked to perfection (although there was simply too much and he had to bring the rest home for the next day – lucky bugger)
I don’t quite know how we did it, but we chose two desserts off of the small but perfectly formed menu to finish off the incredible dinner at Todd English’s Olives. Matt chose the Apple Pie and I went for the Hazelnut Semifredo. The apple pie was interestingly surprising, served within a brioche casing and cheesecake cream. Matt chose not to share more than a fork-full…typical! But in all honesty, I didn’t want to share mine either. The different textures of the mousse, the cream and the cocoa puff streussel made every mouth a delight! 🙂
Yes – we were invited to review Olives…but we have already made plans to take EVERYONE WHO EVER VISITS US down to the Venetian Village to experience this incredible restaurant in an incredible location.
We’re also looking forward to trying some of the other offerings of the Venetian Village, because we really think that it will come to life in the cooler months, and we couldn’t think of anything better than sitting outside with views of the Grand Canal coupled with an amazing dinner and a couple of glasses of grape.
You can contact Todd English’s Olives at (+971) 02 404 1941
Open for lunch and dinner, and also a Lazy Weekend Brunch (Fridays and Saturdays)
And all you girls will be VERY happy to hear that they have a ladies night on Tuesdays from 6-1030pm
Find Todd English’s Olives on Facebook here
Thank you so much to Kirsten at Todd English’s Olives for hosting us for the evening, her attention to detail and encyclopaedic knowledge of the brand was really something to be admired.