One of the most recognisable buildings of Abu Dhabi, alongside the Ferrari World and maybe the Etihad Towers, Emirates palace is huge 5 star palace hotel of Kempinski. It spreads in 85 hectares of gardens with 1.3km or private beach. It comprises almost 400 rooms, with a quarter of them being suites.
The hotel itself designed by architect John Elliot, is a property of the government of Abu Dhabi opened in 2005, although operating under the Kempinski's Luxury hotel brand. The building cost, if you do wonder, was 3billion USD making it the most expensive building back then surpassed today by Marina Bay Sands in Singapore.
Inside the hotel you can find many bars and restaurants. Le Vendome offers all day international buffet, Mezzaluna has Italian food, Sayad is all about seafood, Mezlai offers local Emirate dining, Hakkasan for Chinese cuisine, Diwan L'Auberge for Lebanese. Then there is BBQ Al Qasr, Cascades by the pool and Les Brisas.
And if all those were not enough, you can have a drink, or a snack at Breeze Lounge, Etoiles, Caviar Bar, Havana Club or Le Cafe.
We chose Le Cafe to try their signature dish. It offers casual meals, pastries, beverages and High tea in the afternoon, while it is open until 1am. There is an interior space with many tables, live pianist for the guests and a balcony with some extra tables, few of which have armchairs and sofas to relax.
Their signature dish is the Camel burger, or what they describe an Arabic twist on a classic American favourite. The minced camel patty is infused with local spices and dusted with 24K gold flakes. It is paired with mozzarella cheese (or halloumi cheese), lettuce and tomato. To accompany the burger there are also some gold dusted chickpea fries, tabbouleh and mixed pickle.
The patty was of camel meat raised in Al Ain. I thought it will be hard and maybe dry but I was wrong. It was juicy, tender and flavorful. I found the camel meat to have a more meaty flavor and firmer texture than the beef. Everything inside the amazing bun was nicely paired to enhance the meat flavor and not overpower it. The tabbouleh was also very nice. Chickpea fries are made from chickpea flour, prepared to be crispy on the outside and moist inside. You can either fry them or despite the name bake them in the oven as it was here.
They also brought us a plate with ketchup, mayonnaise, two types of mustard and Tabasco.
How many times are you able to taste camel? If you also take into consideration the majestic decor of the Palace it is definitely worth a visit. On the other hand if you hesitate to try the camel meat there are other options in the menu, even burgers with Black Angus beef. In my visit there were some empty tables, but I was advised to make a reservation, easy via email, which they answer promptly.