We often ask ourselves what elements make up a great night out? Is it good company… Free flowing beverages… A relaxed atmosphere… Bar bites… Live music? For us, it’s an amalgamation of all the above and we’re happy to have found them in abundance at Jazz Bar and Dining, at the Radisson Blu Hotel & Resort Abu Dhabi Corniche. FACT’s David Tapley dines…

An Abu Dhabi institution with a winning formula, Jazz Bar sits firmly on the radar of long term Abu Dhabi residents as a unique nightlife spot in the capital. With the hotel having undergone a recent rebrand, Jazz Bar and Dining remains the same, but with a new year comes a new menu and new band.

Entering via a narrow passageway, first impressions indicate that little has changed in the look and feel. The venue remains small and intimate while retaining a sultry atmosphere, decked out in a color scheme of a black and white that fits well into the venue’s charming jazz piano facade. Instruments play a significant role, not only in the live entertainment but also in the decor, with saxophones
on the walls and a tiled floor resembling the keys of a keyboard. Illuminations in hues of electric purple highlight a semi-circular bar area, behind which lies the stage and the focal point of the restaurant space.

Seating is divided into two distinct areas. Around the stage is a bar/lounge area and upon a raised podium lies the restaurant which is a non-smoking zone. The musical theme presides over diners with black and white portraits of some of the world’s most famous jazz musicians and napkins come embroidered with the treble clef note.

Monday’s and Wednesday’s coincide with a popular Ladies Night offering a selection of complimentary beverages for ladies and the promotion appears to do a good job of pulling in a lively crowd. As the lights dip and the music starts we find ourselves immediately enraptured, caught up in the melody of a lone saxophonist. Despite the name, the music has always been more than just Jazz, as the energetic band move between old school R&B infused with neo-soul. Things begin wonderfully with a saxophonist meandering through the crowd to dutifully set the tone, before segueing from instrumental Jazz to original versions of tracks such as Alicia Keys’ ‘If I Ain’t Got You’ and Bob Marley’s ‘No Woman, No Cry.’

Despite a meat and seafood heavy menu, Jazz Bar and Dining offers a good selection of food which similar Vasco’s (another of the Radisson Blu’s popular outlets) surpassed our expectations. Portions throughout are large and offer good value for money, especially the appetisers. The chef’s recommendation of Seabass Ceviche (a dish that’s seemingly all the rage at the moment) offers a zesty lime, mango and chili flavour, topped with edible flowers. While the salmon and apple and the delightful seared scallop with sweet potato are likely to please both seafood lovers and the most discerning of diners.

Sticking with the chefs recommendation for the main courses. Jazz Bar’s Surf and turf offers up a tender Black Angus tenderloin and delicate Canadian lobster, it’s the perfect match of the meat and seafood with the two focal ingredients working in unison, accompanied by charred asparagus spears and piped mashed potato.

The dessert course offers up an audacious golden chocolate sphere. Melted with a warm chocolate sauce, the interior reveals an exciting mix pistachio cream, chocolate ganache, almond crumble, raspberry crisps and cheese kunafa. The result is an overwhelming mix of textures and flavours. It’s easy to see why Jazz Bar & Dining is so popular in the capital. Having won numerous awards and accolades over the years it may be an older venue but it oozes charm and offers up a fun night out on Abu Dhabi’s corniche. Things may kick off a little later in the evening but the crowd is always fun and the location often busy. ✤

Valentine’s Day Dinner
Amp up your V-Day celebrations with an amazing evening at Jazz Bar and Dining! The soothing Jazz vibes will create a unique romantic ambience that will surprise and delight your loved one. Treat yourself to a decadent four-course meal as you take in the mesmerising music. Dinner is served from 7pm to 11.30pm February 14 to 16 for AED241 per person.

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