Last Saturday, we were invited for a Zomato meetup at Sabella’s Organic Italian Restaurant at the Kempinski Hotel, Ajman. It isn’t often that we venture out to this northern emirate to dine, and I wasn’t quite sure what to expect.
When we got to Sabella’s, the setup had me blown away! A long table, set with starched white linen was set up in the open patio. The table was beautifully decorated with mason jars of preserved fruit (very apt for an ‘organic’ restaurant), but the real beauty of Sabella’s lies in its breathtaking views of the sea.
The patio takes full advantage of the vantage point of the sea. The scene is of a relaxed holiday on the beach, complete with palm trees, beach chairs and umbrellas.
If Italian cuisine prides itself on being clean, sophisticated and simple, the setting at Sabella’s is a perfect reflection of this. We settled down at our table, welcome champagne in hand.
A complimentary platter of fresh breads and pesto paste had us nibbling as we sipped. I really liked the plump, juicy green olives that were served on the side.
It is always a pleasure attending Zomato meetups, and meeting fellow foodies. This time round, we were a table of 30! The table was hosted by Kai Schukowski, General Manager of Kempinski Hotel Ajman.
Sauve, debonair and ever so friendly, German-born Kai happens to be the youngest hotel manager in the history of the entire Kempinski group, and was awarded the Hotel Manager/EAM of the Year award at the Hotelier Middle East Awards, 2015. He tells us Sabella’s is one of 12 restaurants to be located in Kempinski Hotel Ajman. The property’s most popular dining venue is Bukhara, an Indian restaurant chain imported from Delhi. Bukhara has an average Zomato rating of 4.9, and Kai tells us people drive down all the way from Abu Dhabi for their prized dishes. I will have to make a visit to Bukhara soon!
Sabella’s has been in operation for over 2 years, and prides itself for its organic stance on Italian cooking. We got introduced to the multi-talented Chef Andrea Giannini.
We started off our meal with a dainty little serving of fresh Italian Ricotta Cheese served with a home-made fruit mustard. A pairing of cheese with fruit can never go wrong, and this amuse-bouche is an example of how the simplest of dishes always work best.
For our starters round, Chef Andrea entertained us with a live flambe cooking demo. Here is Chef Andrea putting together a Quinoa Salad with Salmon & Zucchini.
The salad is flambeed with vodka, and topped with tomato concasse, rocket leaves and fine shreds of Parmesan cheese.
The quinoa was soft and moist, the salmon cooked till it was just the right shade of pink, and the Parmesan added a dimension of bold, rustic flavor to the dish.
I swapped my champagne for white wine, and after the first sip, I begged to see the bottle! This is a Soave wine, a dry white variation originating from the Veneto region of Italy. It is high on fruity notes, and went beautifully well with the salad.
How can we not have pizza at an Italian place? Chef Andrea treated us to Sabella’s organic home-made Margherita. Just look at how ‘cheesy’ it is 🙂 I could see foodies requesting extra slices all around the table!
If pizza is a must-have at an Italian joint, pasta cannot be missed either! Chef Andrea makes his pasta from scratch, just like his Mamma did! At Sabella’s, all the ingredients used is fresh and organic, and you can taste the simplicity of the fresh flavors with each forkful.
Apart from the scrumptious Italian fare he dishes out, Chef Andrea is a part-time organic gardener, and a very talented singer to boot! Chef Andrea gave us a tour of Sabella’s organic garden. He is very enthusiastic about his prized herbs!
Back at the table, Chef Andrea got busy dishing out our mains. Here’s Sabella’s Straccetti of Beef. Tossed with a generous helping of caramelized onions and radicchio leaves, the beef is plated on a garnish of red wine sauce, with an old Italian-style potato half on the side.
Just as we were about to dig into our mains, we got introduced to Sabella’s pepper man 🙂 It surely takes a special talent to maneuver a pepper-mill of that size. Pepper down my beef please!
While we dug into our scrumptious organic beef dish, Chef Andrea took to the mike with an Italian love song. This man is a complete entertainment package by himself!
We ended our meal at Sabella’s on a very sweet note. Below is the mixed platter of Italian desserts. It included a tiramisu, a panna cotta and a cheese cake.
My favorite has to be the light, fluffy, coffee-infused tiramisu. It was gone in no time! The panna cotta was smooth and silky, and the fruit gel it was garnished with helped balance out the sweetness with a hint of tangy fruitiness. The cheese cake was rich, dense and moreish. After devouring the first two, I couldn’t do it justice and am now wishing for another slice as I type!
Overall, Sabella’s is a feast for the soul. The unmatched scenic ambiance coupled with gourmet Italian dishes that use ‘good-for-you’ fresh, organic ingredients makes Sabella’s a unique concept tucked away in the enclave of Kempinski Hotel, Ajman.
It’s the perfect venue for a lazy, laid-back weekend brunch. If you are heading there, call 06 7145555 and reserve a table with a beach view. Sabella’s is located on the 1st Floor of Kempinski Hotel, Ajman. And do ask for Chef Andrea, tell him I sent you 🙂