This Well Known Hotel Served Up One Of The Best Meals I've Ever Eaten
Worth. Every. Penny
I foolishly visited Ossiano under a couple of assumptions: 1. The aquarium was the main reason to visit and therefore 2. It would be a total tourist trap.
But we all know what assumptions can do... Ossiano is a refined seafood restaurant located in the Atlantis, and while it is popularised by its location at the Atlantis on the Palm (and the huge feature aquarium), it’s the quality of food that will leave you in awe. Helmed by Chef Gregoire who recently won the Middle East and Africa award for San Pellegrino Young Chef in the region, this restaurant is one to watch next year when (if the rumours are true) the Michelin guide will shine some decidedly deserved stars down on Dubai's top restaurants.
If you want to celebrate a special moment, create a memory, or have one of the best seafood meals of your life, Ossiano is the place to do it. Here is everything you need to know:
The passion of the chef is undeniable
Through a sheer coincidence my guest knew a sous chef working in the kitchen, and so, once service had ended we were lucky enough to get a quick tour behind the scenes.
The entire kitchen was bustling, counters were being cleared and the large metal service tops were being scrubbed clean, which basically meant each surface was looking good enough to eat off. A quick peek into the Chef's office revealed a food mood-board, which was a amazing display of past and present dishes. This was the office where, pre-San Pell awards, Chef Gregoire spent most of his time perfecting the winning dish.
This clearly payed off. With the global young chef finals taking place in October, no doubt this young chef will be busy playing with his dish once again, hoping to prove to the judges a second time that he has perfected the five ‘Golden Rules' of cooking in pursuit of the ultimate dish: ingredients, skills, genius, beauty and message.
In a city full of aquariums...
While the location itself need not be the deciding factor for a visit, it's impossible not to admire such a fabulous dining destination. Truly, as long as you can stomach the fact you’re eating fish, while watching the fishys you'll have no problems. There’s a reason why this is the prime spot for marriage proposals at the hotel, it's romantic, refined, sophisticated, and intimate. It’s a spectacular setting.
The food is unquestionably the main event
We devoured eleven courses, each presented beautifully, and each more flavoursome than the last. The chef uses violets, other edible flowers and tiny slivers of gold leaf throughout the menu, to create visually stunning dishes each and every time.
It was hard to find fault, and my guest and I argued over a winning dish, but eventually came to some conclusions. The foie gras tart was exceptional; two razor sharp slices, super smooth to taste. The Brittany Langoustine with burned onions and buckwheat was a personal favourite, while my guest preferred the caramelised black cod with homemade linguine, almond foam and zucchini. Black cod is having its moment in the seafood world and this dish was melt-in-your-mouth perfection.
And desserts we nearly didn't eat...
After we overcame the initial upset caused by destroying the works-of-art presented as puddings, two self-professed chocoholics were happily converted once we had demolished the creamy (with not a drop of coco in sight) delights. One was pretty and pink with a hard circular meringue casing, the other a tall cylindrical light crispy shell with a praline cream within. No number of superlatives will do these desserts justice, they were quite simply perfection on a plate.
Is it expensive?
We hear one guy spent a whopping AED 50,000 at table for two here...but on the same evening he got down on one knee and proposed, so we reckon he keeps that type of spend for special occasions. So while you shouldn’t expect to shell (excuse the terrible pun) out that amount, dinner here certainly doesn’t come cheap with main courses starting at AED 270.
BUT you can enjoy the Ossiano experience for a little less: afternoon tea takes place every Saturday from, 2:00pm-4:00pm for AED 295 and AED 450 with free flowing Perrier Jouet Champagne or you can enjoy a tasting menu for AED 975 per person.