Lee Murdoch is chef de cuisine at 55&5th, The Grill restaurant at the St Regis Saadiyat Island Resort, Abu Dhabi.
WHERE'S THE BEST TABLE IN ABU DHABI?
Sontaya on Saadiyat offers excellent service paired with tantalising south-east Asian cuisine. It sits on floating pavilions overlooking the ocean, the perfect location for a romantic meal. See sontayaabudhabi.com.
THE LOCAL FOOD FIND OF THE PAST YEAR?
The spice markets at the Central Souk. With thousands of different herbs and spices, it is like a candy shop for chefs. The aroma is amazing and there is everything from dried fruits from Morocco to dates from Saudi Arabia. See centralmarket.ae.
WHAT IS ABU DHABI'S BEST-KEPT FOOD SECRET?
Away from the five-star resorts there are the traditional cafes that serve Emirati cuisine. Their interiors and service are very simple but you get a real taste of the region. Hatam al Tae is a mall restaurant that's good for Persian food. Address: Al Markaziyah, Abu Dhabi.
WHERE DO YOU GO FOR A BIG NIGHT OUT?
I love Villa Toscana at the St Regis for authentic Italian and warm hospitality. For old school, Michelin-style classic French, Bord Eau at the Shangri-La is pretty over the top. See stregissaadiyatisland.com; shangri-la.com/abudhabi.
FAVOURITE INDULGENCE IN ABU DHABI?
Taste of Korea because it uses handpicked ingredients infused with a selection of spices imported from South Korea. See eclipsesuites.com/taste-of-korea.
WHAT SHOULD VISITORS AVOID, FOOD-WISE, IN ABU DHABI?
BEST TIME TO VISIT AND WHY?
October to April for weather and events. See stregissaadiyatisland.com.
- FFX Aus