• Chez Littleboboon, nous sommes depuis longtemps et encore aujourd'hui d'ardents défenseurs du guide rouge -- malgré quelques égarements et ratés sous certains de ses anciens directeurs.

    Bien conscients que nous nageons à contre courant des media qui sont, en majorité, très critique envers le fameux guide, certains allant même carrément jusqu'à appeler de leurs vœux sa disparition pure et simple.

    Nous soutenons le guide, plus encore depuis que Gwendal Poullennec en a pris la direction. Pour une fois qu'un jeune directeur fait son travail correctement et sans avoir froid aux yeux ! Le palmarès de l'édition 2020 démontre clairement que Gwendal et ses inspecteurs font un travail remarquable, malgré la pression de certains chefs et des media qui essayent d'influer le cours des choses.

    Revenons au palmarès 2020 du guide qui récompense trois chefs de trois étoiles. Nous sommes particulièrement ravis d'apprendre que Kei Kobayashi est parmi ceux-ci, il le mérite amplement. Kobayashi représente cette génération de chef japonais arrivés à Paris depuis quelques années et grâce auxquels la cuisine française est entrée de plein pied dans le 21ème siècle, avec une touche de créativité, d'audace, de précision et d'excellence. Nous avions découvert Kei pour la première fois en 2011, sans aucune étoile à l'époque mais avec, déjà, la conviction qu'il irait très loin.

    Autre chef nouvellement triplement étoilé, Christopher Coutanceau que nous avions découvert il y a vingt ans lors d'un week-end à la Rochelle dans son restaurant le Comptoir des Voyages. Il cuisinait alors avec son frère, Gregory. Leur cuisine nous avait impressionnés tant par sa maîtrise des saveurs exotiques et que par sa créativité. Décidément, dans la famille Coutanceau le talent se transmet de père en fils.

    Un grand bravo à quelques-uns des nouveaux étoilés que nous avons eu la chance de tester comme Fleur de Pavé de Sylvain Sendra, Solstice d'Eric Trochon, Faham de Kelly Rangama (première cheffe étoilée d'origine réunionnaise) ou encore le Château de la Gaude à Aix-en-Provence et le Mas Bottero à Saint-Cannat où nous avons déjeuné pour la première fois à l'été 2018. Tous ont grandement mérité leur première étoile.

    Pourvu que le guide rouge continue son chemin de cette façon sans plier sous la pression des chefs, des corporations intéressées et des influences douteuses des réseaux sociaux et autres bazars.

     


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  • Another surprising meal we ate was the Asian joint called Katsuya by Starck, it is a venture by the master sushi Katsuya Uechi with French design icon, Philippe Starck. They have around twelve restaurants between the USA and UAE.

    Usually, at Littleboboon we are allergics to any form of chain or franchise restaurants, but we were looking for a decent food to eat while shopping at Yas mall in Abu Dhabi, we spotted the restaurant Katsuya by Starck, the sleek and sober design drawn us in to check the menu, and once we looked at the menu, we made our mind to discover the food and to our great surprise the food was quite good and even some dishes were very good like their “Seared Tuna with Japanese Salsa” and “Edamame Hummus”.

    As in all the malls around UAE, venues like Katsuya by Starck does not have the right to serve alcoholic drinks so its compensated by great Elixirs (non alcoholic drinks). We had tasted a few of them like the “Peach and Passion Fruit Mojito” and the “Burning Mandarin” which made with hand crushed jalapeño were really delicious.

    The service was nice, welcoming and efficient.

    We like the food so much that we came back the next day for dinner.

     

    Katsuya by Starck

    1st Floor, Near Sfera, Yas Mall,

    Yas Island, Abu Dhabi

     Telephone : +971 2 492 6660

     

    Katsuya By Starck

    Katsuya By Starck

    Katsuya By Starck

    Katsuya By Starck

    Katsuya By Starck

    Katsuya By Starck

    Katsuya By Starck

    Katsuya By Starck

    Katsuya By Starck

    Katsuya By Starck

     


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  • It not surprising that the best food we had eaten in Abu Dhabi was Asian food, Abu Dhabi is home to around seven hundred thousands of Asians, South and East combined.

    One of our best meals in Abu Dhabi was at the Vietnamese restaurant in the Shangri-La Qariat Al Beri. We were surprised to find such an authentic Vietnamese food in a beaufitul setting.

    Every dish we ate, from the duo of crab and beef rice paper rolls to the crispy coconut prawns and also the famous Phở Bò Việt Nam was remarkably cooked and flavorful. The ingredients were incredibly fresh, it made you feel like you were in Hoi An, Vietnam and not in Abu Dhabi.

    The service by our Vietnamese hostess was like in Vietnam, nice, warm and smiling.

    Hoi An restaurant at Shangri-La Qariat Al Beri was the only noteworthy hotel-restaurant we went to eat in Abu Dhabi.

     

    Restaurant Hoi An 

    Shangri-La Hotel, Qaryat al Beri

    Level 1,Shangri la Hotel,Khor

    Abu Dhabi - UEA

    Telephone : +971 2 509 8888

     

    Hoi An - Abu Dhabi

    Hoi An - Abu Dhabi

    Hoi An - Abu Dhabi

     

     


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  • Abu Dhabi - Hotels review

    Abu Dhabi - Hotels review

    Abu Dhabi - Hotels review

    Abu Dhabi - Hotels review

    Abu Dhabi - Hotels review

    As usual, for our trip to Abu Dhabi we reviewed three hotels chains: Shangri-La, Anantara and Park Hyatt. Eventhough there are a few differences among them, they all face the same challenges to satisfy their customers while considering social and ecological concerns. For example, all of them are still using plastic bottles and straws.  It is urgent that they implement a plausible and sustainable policy to reduce and manage food waste.


    In term of service, Shangri-La stood out compared to Anatara and Park Hyatt. Their food offering was much better in terms of quality, price, variety and diversty. As a matter of fact one of the best restaurants we went to in Abu Dhabi was Hoi An, the Vietnamese restaurant of the Shangri-La Qaryat Al Beri.


    The food offering at Anantara Qasr Al Sarab was disappointing from the breakfast buffet to the Ghadeer restaurant by the pool. We told the Executive Chef, Louis Badenhorst, and the General Manager, Adrian Stoppe, about their poor food offering. We were particularly surprised by the Al Falaj and its bedouin-style dinner.  Supposedly a highlight of an Anantara stay, it is in fact a very expensive tourist trap. They charged us 300€ (!) for three (two adults and one 9-year-old child) for a small buffet of vegetables, meat/jumbo shrimps barbecue and a few desserts plus wine/beverages.


    At the Park Hyatt on Sadiyaat island, if your stay over to the New Year, a gala dinner on December 31t is mandatory and will cost you a "mere" 375€ per person (children under 10 eat for free). We honestly could not understand and caution this dictatorial policy imposed upon their customers by the hotel. This needs to change.


    Fortunately, the gala dinner was worth the price with all you can drink champagne (Veuve Clicquot), caviar, lobster, foie gras, Wagyu beef and a dozen of food stations spread all over the hotel park and beach accompanied by a very good musical band through the night.

     

    Abu Dhabi - Hotels review

    Abu Dhabi - Hotels review

    Abu Dhabi - Hotels review


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  • "Why Abu Dhabi?" did most of our friends ask us when we told them we would be spending the holidays there.  People usually know Dubai, the more flamboyant and better known Emirates neighbor.

    Here are the reasons why we chose Abu Dhabi :

    "Father of the Gazelle" is the literal translation of Abu Dhabi.  The legend tells the story of a gazelle lost in the desert and found on an island of the Arabian Gulf. Abu Dhabi has been strongly identified with “oil” since the 1960s. Today, it is a mix of modernity and tradition: skyscrapers, new neighborhoods, a Formula 1 track on Yas Island with the Ferrari World Abu Dhabi area, the Yas waterworld and, recently, the Warner Bros attraction park, the monumental Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque in all its oriental splendor; A beautiful culture, with the Louvre by Jean Nouvel, and soon the Guggenheim.

    Fiercely guarded customs, a special sense of hospitality; An engaging coffee ceremony and mesmerizing falcon shows. Finally, a generous nature, the safari on Sir Bani Yas Island, the magnificent desert of Qasr Al Sarab, especially at dawn. If people have a fiesta in Dubai, they come to see its big sister Abu Dhabi for nature, culture and finally a certain calm.


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