As a platter of crispy charcoal-grilled lobster, scallops and large tiger prawns are set down in front of us, I hold my napkin tight to keep from tearing off a bite before our server even leaves our table.
Just moments from the honking traffic, the waterfront eatery, Finz, hides behind Beach Rotana on a quiet corner of the hotel’s shore. The view across the water is pristine as it overlooks the sparkling Cleveland Clinic and the tree lined promenade of Maryah Island. A long time staple of the city’s seafood scene, Finz had become somewhat overlooked in the midst of the city’s growth. However, having just reopened after a complete revamp, it now better reflects its personality as a peaceful overwater bungalow, entrenched in big-city luxury and elegance.
The white wood and natural colours make it feel authentic, while the upbeat lounge music is young and energized. It is an obvious venue for the romantic seafood lovers’ date night, but it cannot be forgotten as an ideal spot for a bright and airy business or leisure lunch. The service is attentive and happy to cater to the needs of any guest, whether wanting to eat and run, or sit and relax enjoying the view for hours.
The serene blue and grey card stock menu is a perfect reflection of Finz’s recent changes and I was thrilled not to have to handle another stuffy, large, fabric book menu. However, the descriptions do not do the food enough justice, as the dishes are interesting and complex, combining textures to create food that is more than just tasty. It keeps your attention.
One of the new appetizers that cannot be missed is the cured salmon with charred avocado. The cured salmon is thinly sliced, sprinkled with a few slivers of fresh onion, chili pepper and charred avocado, sitting on a generous swipe of a bright and zesty Amarillo sauce. The dish is simple enough to taste the perfectly fresh fish, while also enjoying the excitement of heat and tang with every bite. As a main dish, the pan seared toothfish is one of their specialties. It is displayed on a perfectly salty, spicy bed of diced meat and whole smoked chickpeas, with a small dune of fluffy chickpea puree (to add another satisfying taste and texture to the dish). The large chunk of moist flaky fish resting on its earthly base is an excellent balance in savouriness and structure.
The new menu was created by the passionate Head Chef Christian Rosse, a tailored, friendly blond who hails from Southern Germany. His devotion to fresh ingredients, simple preparation and focusing on the details is seen throughout the menu.
While other seafood restaurants seem to forget the importance of a side dish, at Finz everything from the grilled broccoli rabe to the golden brown, hot and crispy fries were truthfully some of the best I have had in Abu Dhabi. Chef Christian also incorporates his love for his home by recreating the food from his upbringing in Europe, such as the roasted sea bass on lentils with braised onions and crispy duck confit, topped with a tuft of fresh fennel and arugula. Braising is one of his favourite ways to showcase flavour and by using this method at Finz, it is an ideal counterpart to grilled fish. Everyone has heard of delicious surf and turf (seafood and meat), but Finz really proves the point in a light, fresh and modern way.
With a fairly significant menu, it is really difficult to choose only a few dishes, so my recommendation is to go with friends. Sit on the terrace, lounging, sharing food and drinks and ordering more as the sun sets into the sea. What a fabulous way to spend a weekend afternoon!
As a final note, seafood restaurants are hardly, if ever, known for their desserts, but Finz impresses again. The seven dessert options are all worth at least a taste (luckily there is even a dessert tasting option) and all can be paired with the perfect after dinner beverage. The Valencia orange and almond cake topped with anise poached peach and crème fraiche and the fig and 70% Dark chocolate tart, with Turkish coffee ice cream were both my favourite.
You can go to Finz just for dessert. It’s that good.
02 697 9000