Maté has opened its doors at Park Hyatt Abu Dhabi Hotel and Villas.
Few beverages are as storied as maté, which has been consumed in South America since before the arrival of Europeans. Rich in caffeine and culturally significant in terms of national identity as well as social terms, the drink is served in a container typically made from a calabash gourd and passed around as conversation flows, evoking a sense of warmth. Today, it serves as the inspiration for Maté, a newly opened eatery at Park Hyatt Abu Dhabi Hotel and Villas. Combining elements of both Argentina and Lebanon, the contemporary venue promises a distinctive culinary experience that goes beyond food and drink.
Here, the eclectic interior design delivers an unpretentious environment that is comfortable yet sophisticated, energetic yet relaxed. Stylish portraits of Argentinian and Lebanese legends Diego Maradona, Fairuz, Evita, and Che Guevara adorn the restaurant and bar walls. The artworks were painted by the talented British-Moroccan artist DAZ, while an artistic central chandelier adds a theatrical scale to the space. Elsewhere, multifaceted lighting is creatively integrated into the floor, ceiling and walls.
Incidentally, the Lebanese (who moved to South America during the late 19th and early 20th century) not only embraced maté, but also brought it back home with them upon their return. As a result, the menu at Maté is constructed around classic Argentinian meals with a contemporary Lebanese twist. Smoky and woody flavours reign supreme as most of the dishes are cooked on the open-fire brick grill, with some made directly on charcoal embers. A variety of meats, fish, seafood and vegetarian options are on offer, incorporating marinade, spices, pastes and vegetables from Lebanon.
The show kitchen allows guests to view chefs using the traditional Argentinian El Asador to grill the meat to perfection. Wagyu aside, all the fine premium-quality cuts are sourced from Argentina, while the fresh produce is sourced from Lebanon. Menu highlights include Yerba Maté Smoked Beef Tartare, Wood-Fire Tomato Salad with Hummus, Ember-Cooked Scallops with Burnt Avocado, Brocheta Lebanesa (Beef Kofta), Charcoal-Grilled Sweet Potato with Brown Butter, and Cognac-Flamed Wagyu Tomahawk (which is flamed and sliced tableside to enhance the culinary experience). Chef Mauro, who is of Argentinian heritage, is at the head of Maté’s culinary team and brings the authentic Asado cooking style with him, inviting diners to experience a modern-rustic presentation of Argentinian cuisine. “This culinary concept pays tribute to traditional Argentinian food,” he says. “The open-fire grill takes me back to our customary Sunday gatherings at home.”
Because the beverage concept is centred on creating a connection between symbolic elements from Argentina and Lebanon, the mixology team has combined traditional icons from both countries and employs the use of maté as an interconnection to the history of the modern world. Most of the alcoholic and non-alcoholic cocktails include a light touch of maté to enhance the conceptualisation of the venue. Bartender’s Choice, meanwhile, presents a play on classic cocktails that have been enriched with more pronounced textures and flavours. The wine list comprises signature wines from both Lebanon and Argentina. Maté has been designed to evolve from a dining to a late-night venue, courtesy of a resident DJ, so expect a soundtrack based on electro tango, Mediterranean chill-out, and deep house beats.
GO: Call 02 407 1234 for reservations and more information.