We preview the capital's already notorious new eating and drinking venue
Yas Island’s latest nightspot is bringing its own unique flavour to the Abu Dhabi culinary scene. Caitlyn Davey went for a sneak peek to find out more.
Sinking into an enormous velour armchair, you’ll realise very quickly that Burlesque is different. With plush red and pink hues, Burlesque is ‘Unlike anything Abu Dhabi’s ever seen before.’ Those are the words of the restaurant and nightlife venue’s food and beverage manager, and business development manager, Georgio Cingolani – we have only been speaking for a couple of minutes but already his passion for Yas Island’s latest hot spot is clear.
The swanky club and restaurant is decked out with oversized neoclassical armchairs, velvet and sweeping curtains. It’s almost like walking into someone’s boudoir. The band plays sultry jazz, while easygoing diners and socialites enjoy the stunning views of Yas Marina. The lighting is low to set a mood – but there are still chandeliers and candlesticks dotted around to catch the eye. The female staff walk the floor wearing 1950s style wrap-dresses in scarlet, with polka dots and red lipstick to enhance the vintage feel the venue is aiming for.
Burlesque is located in the belly of Yas Viceroy – but there are attendants stationed at the entrance of the hotel to escort patrons through the hotel, and over the Formula 1 track to the venue. Walking into the club, you almost feel as though you’re entering a secret paradise – concealed from the exterior unless you’re looking in from Yas Marina.
The venue’s official grand opening will be on September 18 and will see the new house band, from the United States, take the reins, as well as an entertainment company from Lebanon providing Burlesque-style entertainment. Giorgio says the main feature that makes Burlesque so unique is the entertainment, ‘No-one else is providing this kind of weekly show – the acts will happen regularly, and run between 20-40 minutes nightly.’ While the entertainment will be vivacious and somewhat true to genre – Giorgio says it will be slightly adapted to suit the Abu Dhabi audience. He says ‘It will be true to the burlesque style but we want our Abu Dhabi audiences to feel comfortable so there will be slight variations.’
The restaurant at Burlesque is reminiscent of a swanky gentlemen’s club – white tablecloths, and large armchairs. The cuisine is Mediterranean, and mainly a fusion of Italian, French, Spanish and British dishes, including a range of caviar, seafood, meat dishes including beef Wellington, and pastas. There is also a lounge menu of more casual bites such as tapas and a selection of cheeses. Crustacean platters are available for sharing (Dhs500 for the platter) as well as charcuterie boards.
Burlesque is an Italian company and the Abu Dhabi outlet is the first of its kind in the Middle East. The club, bar and restaurant will aim to be a multi-faceted experience, Georgio explains. ‘We want people to come to Burlesque to enjoy a meal, then relax and have some drinks and enjoy the house band, then hopefully they’ll be enjoying themselves and stay to see the burlesque shows, and maybe even stay for the DJ. We want our guests to enjoy their night from beginning to end here with us.’ Giorgio says they have planned the night for patrons – ‘It’s important throughout every aspect that a night here flows seamlessly. We want our clients to enjoy the food and smoothly transition from dinner to a night out, meaning an evening with us is certainly a different experience.’
The bar and restaurant is currently open for business, with a five-piece band from Italy playing nightly, but after the September 18 grand opening, there will be a seven-piece band playing regularly.
Iris Enjoy light sounds of the resident DJ while under the iconic fairy-light tree in the Iris outdoor terrace, overlooking the water. Open Mon-Thu 6pm-3am, Fri noon-3pm 6pm-3am, Sat 6pm-3am, Yas Marina (055 160 5636).
Devour some Spanish style cuisine including tapas on the rooftop terrace while enjoying Spanish beverages. Open daily 6pm-12.30am, Yas Marina (02 565 1175).
Sample Japanese-Italian fusion and then have a few post-dinner drinks at this swanky bar. Open daily 7pm-2am (02 657 5400).