Restaurant Review: Frankie's Restaurant & Lounge, Fairmont Bab Al Bahr

26 Jun 2012

The capital’s take on the famed Italian eatery lives up to all expectations

Address: Fairmont Bab Al Bahr, Abu Dhabi
Tel: 02 654 3333

We’ve been long time fans of Frankie’s Italian Bar & Grill in Dubai and had high expectations for its sister version in Abu Dhabi. Thankfully, we weren’t disappointed. While the capital’s restaurant has many of the hallmarks that make Frankie’s Dubai great – consistently good Italian fare, the classy backdrop of a pianist playing a range of hits on a grand piano, and helpful, attentive service – it has a slightly more casual vibe on its relaxed outdoor terrace that offers an alternative to the cosy and more intimate indoor dining room.

In line with Fairmont hotel’s commitment to the environment, the restaurant has recently adopted a sustainable fish policy. Fish stocks in the UAE have reportedly declined by 80 per cent over the past 30 years, and by serving only sustainable options, Frankie’s helps to lower the demand for over fished species, helping to protect fish resources for the future.

Along with fresh fish, it wouldn’t be an Italian feast without great bread, and Frankie’s has a fantastic selection in its complementary bread basket. We recommend the olive, tomato and cheese foccacia, which could suffice as a satisfying appetiser on its own. The eatery’s menu features the usual mix of pastas, risottos, meats and fish, but most options are a twist on the traditional classics. Chef de Cuisine Andrea Biccini is proud of what he calls the “creativity” of his kitchen, and it shows. The homemade black taglioni pasta (black because it’s made with squid ink) with spider crab, ginger, green peas and crispy beef bacon combines unusual flavours to mouthwatering effect, and it’s this modern take on Italian cuisine that has made it one of the most popular dishes on the menu. More conventional dishes also fare well. Moist chicken breast stuffed with sun-dried tomatoes and accompanied by a creamy mushroom sauce is indulgent, and the roasted baby potatoes are nothing short of addictive.

The pièce de résistance of our meal came in the form of dessert, which we would say with little hesitation is one of the best we’ve ever eaten. Shunning the usual smattering of bite-sized profiteroles, Chef Andrea creates a giant one (on par with a baseball, size-wise), filled with creamy chocolate and served with mascarpone cream and caramel vanilla foam. But it’s the ‘sparkles’ that make this dish pop – quite literally. Little balls of CO2 covered in chocolate mixed through the dish crackle tantalisingly on your tongue with each bite, reminding us of a childhood sweet and completing the decadent end to our Italian feast – Frankie’s-style.

On The Menu…
Crab cake, citrus sour cream, baby vegetables and mixed salad Dhs80
Seared duck foie gras, caramelised pineapple, orange reduction and warm pan brioche Dhs95

Chicken breast stuffed with Sun-dried tomato, with creamy mushroom sauce and roasted baby potatoes Dhs130
Homemade black taglioni with spider crab, ginger, green peas and crispy beef bacon Dhs130

Profiterole with Mascarpone cream and caramel vanilla foam Dhs130
Warm liquid chocolate cake with vanilla ice cream Dhs45