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New food, new band, newfound respect

Somehow, since opening in 1973, the Corniche’s much-loved veteran hotel, The Hilton Abu Dhabi has managed to just about keep its trendy new neighbours at bay, but is rightly going through the final phase of a reinvention this Fall which includes the relaunch of their renowned establishments. This includes dimly-lit good old reliable, Jazz Bar & Dining – the spot for some smoky live music.

Although the smoke has cleared somewhat in the revamp, Jazz Bar still admittedly looks much the same – a centre stage mood-lit in blue with a colourful bar skirting it, and ample seating options, both high and low, smoking and non-smoking, for whatever you fancy with a large or small party.

They’ve even retained most of the original staff. Ask for Bonny (who was there for Jazz Bar’s beginnings) if you both have no idea how to come to a decision regarding the globe-trotting food and countless exotic cocktails, and want seven-star waiting service.

What has changed, however, is the quality of what’s on offer, from menu to music.

Surf, Turf and a whole lot more

They have introduced a topnotch steak and seafood menu, for one. While the Ceviche Seabass comes fresh and highly recommended, we’re afraid the Irish Salmon Steak, YASA Caviar and Whole Canadian Lobster have to wait another day as we had mostly carnivorous leanings on this visit.

We opted for the Argentina Beef ‘Espetada’, the tender meat of which boldly hangs above your plate churrascaria-style and is accompanied by a cracking chimichurri sauce. People will point and it is a Jazz Specialty for a reason.

Some of the items are ambitious, like the weird and wonderful foie gras crème brulee we had as a starter, alongside others of delicate ponzu-dressed salmon sashimi and a colourfully layered quinoa salad garnished with walnuts, pomegranate and flowers. Meanwhile others just take you to a sigh-inducing safe place – we toasted our Malbec to the classic, but not too cheesy, mac’n’cheese that accompanied a perfect Black Angus rib eye.

Finally, the Apple Tarte Tatin with “bonkers-good” banana ice cream is a two-person effort worth the 20 minutes cooking time.

Come for the food, stay for the entertainment

And anyway, sprawling out your evenings here a little is not a bad idea, especially as they’ve extended opening hours to 3am, and now have DNA – the new, sharply dressed, slickly talented resident five-piece band and DJ. They are the best entertainment the venue has seen in some time, putting on a true uniquely experimental, non-stop show featuring the classier, cooler side of funk, jazz, blues and rock.

And did we mention they do not one, but two Ladies Nights (Mondays and Wednesdays)?  Yep, Jazz Bar is back on our radar.

JAZZ BAR & DINING | The Hilton Abu Dhabi | Corniche Rd W | +9712 692 4247

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